The Digital Marketplace - It's Changing Business. What To Do + Not Do (especially if Millennials matter).
What NOT TO DO: Dabble in digital.
With Millennials in particular, dabbling hurts reputations. Millennials can tell if you are a sophisticated organization or not. The most obvious way? By looking at your website or social pages to see whether it is reflective of the end user or the organization.
Most are still treating both as another communication channel where current marketing efforts repurposed online. The content falls flat, user functionality missing, and relationships building absent altogether. Storytelling about people's lives who are benefitting holds little value when its a tactic and not integral part of a brand's social mission or online strategy.
Unfortunately, the digital marketplace is not a highway to/from your website that becomes full of traffic with the right "look at me" ads (or content) strategically posted online. (If anyone in your organization says, "Just marketed online"... it's a clue more education is needed about how today's Internet environment works.)
The digital marketplace has actually become more sophisticated where information is power, brand currency is in people and their opinions, and the flow (and type) of information created determines growth or failure.
At the heart of it all?
Knowing consumers and what drives them, their needs and preferences. From there, it's a matter of determining how best to align your organization's greatest assets to meet those needs and preferences.
Digital, mobile, Apps... whatever you're thinking about integrating or calling it... going online is entering a new reality. A new era for your organization. There are many advantages and opportunities! Now the fun part is determining how to do so while serving your existing constituents (in particular Boomers and GenX who aren't going anywhere and definitely not using their devices to the extent of younger generations).
What TO DO: Invest in seeing the opportunity and let go of long-held systems in place of doing what works.
Digital IS a new business model that can benefit your organization ... that is IF you are willing to make the investment to do what works. That will be different for everyone so avoid out-of-the-box solutions. And please don't believe anyone that it's just about creating a new website or video content. Those are important tactics, but they become costly to fix if implemented sans the big picture or strategy guiding every decision.
Know that websites as digital brochures were okay when the Internet was new. But now they are phasing out. Consumers don't read or dig. So, it's all about creating a user journey online where your constituents get to what they need by one click or a swipe. (Easier said than done and requires knowing individual types of consumers, aka personas, who make up your constituent base.)
Based on your personas, you may actually need several smaller websites -- maybe a landing page or two OR a condensed site, called a microsite.
The point here is being open to think differently about how your present your organization and information is essential. What was is no more. Not everyone is not interested in the same thing about your organization or products, nor are they in the same place in life and everyone uses different tools to get their facts. So, the burden is on organizations to customize. Considering information structures (how we present information, data, make an argument for/against something) have changed, there's work to be done for most to align to people more effectively.
Awareness of this is shift is important so that investments made to update online infrastructure, content, social media tools, apps, team hires and special projects being defined for the organization avoid being experienced as inauthentic ploys by end users.
Let's not forget, thanks to digital technology and all the data it can offer about users and their preferences, and the automation it can provide and create greater efficiencies for team members in serving customers, marketing is now directly linked to ROI.. but only beneficial if the right investments, teams, and strategy are all in place.
To build on this last point and ensure your digital footprint not only brings people to you but also builds meaningful relationships where users want to come back, "going digital" is more than a marketing initiative. An organization and its leadership must be willing to take a step back and assess its "business" -- how best to align its internal team structures, technology, products, services, R&D efforts, assets, and even its culture -- if its goal is to be successful and create trust with Millennials and GenZ, who we know block advertisements and seek authentic brands who are transparent, customer-focused and invest in social good.
Whether you use Braintree Vault or not, that isn't the point. The point is:
(Insights in this post are in response to an Inc. article reposted on LinkedIn. All photo credits go to Inc.com.)
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