The Digital Balancing Act
Digital Strategy is a practice of balancing the pros and cons of new technology with user’s expectations and ever intersecting touch points. Last year (2010) was touted as the “year of mobile,” and I would have to agree. Many companies and brands began to see the value of interacting with their customers and users on the most personal device they own… their phone. What fell short was the strategy necessary to integrate this very powerful touch point with the expectations of their users throughout the many points of interaction available to them. Companies plowed ahead with their grand ideas of an iPhone app (or whatever other shiny object that caught their attention) without pausing for just one second to see how that fits within the overall experience of engaging with their company. The balance was not only off, it was in many cases never even considered.
What companies have begun to realize in mass this year, after failing attempts with things like SMS, QR codes, web apps, and websites that are not cross-device compatible, is that they must move their focus higher than individual initiatives, and they need to start building a strategy for how they interact with people in the digital world. Just think of how many companies created a QR code campaign and linked it off to their desktop website (a fail simply because I’ve never known anyone to scan a QR code with their desktop). Similarly, think about the last several marketing emails you’ve received. When you tried to open them on your phone (which 50% of you do), did you just delete it immediately because it was a bunch of big images that you weren’t willing to load? Or what about the fact that it is expected 15% of commerce on the Internet will be done with a smartphone?
It’s time companies stop plowing, and start planting and cultivating. We all know the lines between the desktop, to tablet, to smartphones are becoming less pronounced. Companies need to develop strategies that allow their customers’ experience to transcend the confines of individual devices, and create pathways for their them to move between devices without losing connection to the brand. Quit assuming your customers only want to engage with you on their desktop, and don’t guess at what their expectations are when they want to interact with your brand. Research, plan, balance and respond; build a digital strategy that is founded on your company’s goals, and your customer’s expectations.comment, or see other articles by Jon Pederson