The digital dilemma isn't a dilemma at all

Do me a favor: the next time someone in your organization brings up "going digital," please avoid flashing a somber face, ripping your glasses off your face in dramatic fashion and exclaiming, "My god." (adjust example as needed for those with 20/20 vision)

The word "digital" is thrown around constantly, and for most people it's a nebulous thought with no structure to back it.

I'm here to tell you that "going digital" does not involve converting all organic-based lifeforms in your organization to soulless robot humanoids. It doesn't mean implanting GPS tracking chips in your employees' forearms (they come standard with all robot conversions). You don't need to interface your brain with your line-of-business applications to upload information to a data center.

Simply, "going digital" means moving existing business practices into a digital space. This is done through the use of content management software, customer- and lead-tracking systems, social media,better back-end web applications - just to name a few. These things can simplify document storage and retrieval, increase departmental efficiency, streamline business processes, revolutionize your brand and change the way you approach customer interactions and relationships.

Industrial marketing gurus Globalspec released released their annual Industry Trends in Marketing report and identified several critical trends, including the shift into the digital marketing space, the increase in content creation (i.e. videos, webinars, etc.) and the use of social media to both solidify branding and deliver content to customers.

Despite these shifts in digital trends, the numbers indicate that businesses aren't satisfied with where their current efforts landed them. According to the Globalspec survey, only 35% of the 382 survey respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with their online marketing efforts. This is despite 51% of respondents committing to a 58% increase in video content creation and a 49% increase in webinar frequency.

If you don't like the direction your digital approach is headed (or you're not sure where to begin), ask yourself the following questions:

1. Am I creating the right kind of content for my audience?

Most likely, construction workers won't respond positively to a hipster, Apple-esque marketing campaign. Conversely, a gritty commercial featuring a sweaty, overtired foreman ordering lunch with a Chipotle app probably won't convince a tight-pantsed hipster to buy an iPhone. Rule no. 1: know your audience.

2. Is my content delivery system effective?

The greatest YouTube video in the world means zilch if it caps out at 30 views. You need multiple distribution channels simultaneously delivering content to your intended audience. Plug your videos on Facebook, Tweet regularly and engage your customer base.

3. Am I willing to abandon my strategy if the need arises?

Plans don't always pan out the way we want them to. Maybe the execution was poor or the intended message wasn't clear enough. Maybe your project fell victim to scope creep or your entire campaign wasn't fleshed out or fully vetted. Whatever the reason, sometimes you have to be willing to abandon your current approach and draw up a new plan.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must replace my human brain with cold, efficient circuitry.

by Matt DeFaveri

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