These are the 3 areas to invest in for post-COVID digital success

by Garth Stirling
October 22, 2020

COVID-19 has sparked global digital disruption—are you ready for a new future?

The clearest outplay from COVID-19 is the seismic shift in digital. Customers have flocked online, and they’re staying here.

Because these changes are permanent, organisations must move from reaction to a proactive state, guided by a strong digital strategy and relevant propositions.

More consumers are reading news and buying online, and organisations have been quick to respond

There are three ways customers have changed in the advent of the global pandemic: in their media habits, where and how they buy and what they expect and seek from organisations.

Australians consumed 52% more online media between March 2019 and March 2020. We’re streaming more online content than ever before and increasingly using online platforms like Facebook to get our information.

The way we buy is changing, too. Older audiences are driving the growth in online product research and 900,000+ new Aussie households shopped online from March to August 2020.

Organisations are responding to this with a swing in media budget. ntegrity’s own research found that 60% of not-for-profits in June 2020 had increased their investment in digital and a report from Gartner found that, on average, two-thirds of marketing budgets have been allocated to digital media.

Organisations are not just spending on media, many have built digital-first products and systems to adapt to the trends, like Coles’ axing of print catalogues in favour of investment in digital.

If you’re not sprinting into digital now, you risk being left behind

Those who thrived during COVID-19 cited having an adaptable digital strategy and strong leadership as the key to success. They were able to move quickly, and transform their offline proposition to a digital offering.

To fully thrive in a post-COVID world, you need a robust digital strategy with systems and people to support it. Here are the next steps to take:

1. Develop a robust digital strategy

The key to a successful digital strategy is to begin with a vision — a documented statement of where you want to go and the role digital will play in getting you there. Having the vision documented will bring your organisation on the same page, and ensure that everyone works towards the same end goal.

You must then understand the mindset and behaviour of your consumer (particularly now with the seismic changes in media consumption and buying habits). This is where audience tools—such as empathy mapping or user journey mapping—will come in handy.

Having understood your customers and their path to purchase, it’s time to build your unique digital proposition to align with your digital vision. Few organisations will succeed in just transferring their existing products online and hoping for the best. Consider how products need to be adapted—you can adapt the product itself, allow for trial options, improve the support system, speed up the delivery, or alter the pricing strategy.

When building your online experience, consider the fundamentals of the digital environment. User experience should be personalised, delivery that is ultra-fast, website experiences that are ridiculously easy. These are the ‘must-haves’ for successful digital transformation in 2020 and beyond. (And they’re not just for younger generations—the increase in older audiences online calls for an even easier purchase experience.)

2. Invest in the right systems, technology and data

Successful implementation of your strategy requires a bedrock of data, technology and systems.

The world’s most valuable resource is customer data (even more so than oil)—and with good reason. Customers’ demand for personalised experiences requires companies knowing enough about them. So, before implementing on digital, ensure you have appropriate data tracking foundations in place—like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel and customer lists (with emails and phone numbers) to build your data-driven strategy.

If data is the new oil, then your marketing technology (martech) stack is the engine. Invest in systems that can manage and classify your data, like a CRM, and always ensure your investment decisions link back to your strategy. Choose the technologies that meet your unique requirements and help deliver your strategy, ultimately helping you achieve your vision.

3. Build a winning team

The final step to enabling the delivery of your winning digital strategy is to have a winning team behind it. That’s a team that will close the skill gaps in your organisation required to deliver the digital strategy.

Train your team to retain them—upskill them in core areas that align with your strategy like data analysis and marketing automation, so that they can take charge of new systems and data-lead strategies. Ensure they are clear on your digital vision and are trained to implement in new areas.

While the ‘survival mode’ for COVID might be over, the long-term game is still to sprint to digital. If you would like to learn more about how your organisation can thrive on digital for the long-term, attend our free webinar on October 29.