Preparing growth in a digital ecosystem
With digital communications engrained and Smart Cities on the horizon - businesses need to look closer at their engagement models.
Businesses that succeed in growth, expansion and diversification are those with a clear stakeholder engagement strategy that covers all areas of their business. While customers are important, so too are prospective buyers, partners, the industry and employees. How a business engages these stakeholders will have a direct impact on customers' experience that will lead to driving better performance in retention, acquisition and product development.
One size does not fit all and requires the business to look at its goals, its challenges, the marketplace and threats; for many social media has been heralded as the answer but for a lot of companies this is as good as pouring water into a bottomless bucket. Email has been used to push product leading to falling open rates and diminishing web-hits. Events have been dropped in favour for supposedly cheaper Internet communication channels, while the industry and partners are seen as a threat to business.
The rise of marketing, social media and PR agencies and the dramatic warnings that marketing channel neglect will lead to great loss is a myth. In the new age of marketing communications a hybrid of options that engages the buyer, empowers the employee, reaches out to partners and understands the needs of the user will lead to greater reward.
Often buyers are considered the users, but this is rarely the case. Users need to be educated and taught how to use a product or service, while buyers need to see the value and business opportunity. A large multimillion-revenue firm will have different goals to a small family-run business and therefore different needs and expectations. Dialogue needs to be relevant and meaningful.
Targeting your marketing to high-value buyers with content that is insightful and informative will be a better use of time than sending links to products on social or product update emails. Why use the LinkedIn company page when staff can be employee ambassadors - faith was placed in staff behind a shop counter, so too can faith be placed online.
A businesses most powerful marketing channel is their stakeholders, and by empowering each of them and utilising their communication network and experience, the business can gain access to a wider network and focused audience group for better and sales.
With Smart Cities on the horizon the digital communication infrastructure both in terms of hardware, systems and people needs to be addressed for all businesses across manufacturing, engineering, tech and beyond to remain competitive and at the forefront of buyer needs. If digital is not engrained in the business with clear strategy of delivery and engagement - there's risk of being out-dated and irrelevant thus easy-pickings for a new business that is brighter younger and more dynamic.