The fierce urgency of now! Embracing Digital

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The concept of fierce urgency of now was coined by the late Dr Martin Luther King in one of his famous speech and I quote “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late.” This statement resonates with a lot of businesses and companies in the age as it relates to their digital transformation efforts. I have been writing about Digital Marketing since 2014 and what amazes me is that my assertions and preaching remain the same, adopt, adapt, adopt! I have made several submissions on why we have to embrace digital to providing prescriptive content on how to leverage digital technologies.

In this piece, I have been primarily motivated by the need to provide insight into the key imperatives and fundamentals needed as one embarks on this journey. I do not attempt to make generalized submissions but rather pragmatic and actionable steps for one to consider;

  1. Social Media is not Digital

First things first, social media is not digital and neither is setting up a functional website. It is important at this juncture to bring clarity that setting up social profiles and a website does not equate to adopting digital marketing or digital transformation. While it is imperative to have social and web presence, the conversation about digital transcends these two channels.

  1. Digital transformation is not a destination but a process

Digital transformation is not a destination which an organization “arrives at”, rather is it a continuous journey of optimizing customer experiences through effective use of digital tools and technologies. Digital is the continuous adaptation to the vagaries of consumer tastes, preferences and expectations. The quest is to continuously delight the customer while simultaneously enhancing operational efficiencies.

 The digital transformation journey

The Covid-19 pandemic has awakened many businesses to the reality of going digital. One company in the UK, clothing giant Primark went from making £650m in sales a month to nothing  due to the lockdown in 2020. Since the advent of the covid-19 pandemic, we have seen numerous businesses setup online stores as consumers were generally stuck at home for the greater part of the year and up until now. My challenge with this approach is it appears at best reactionary and such plans seldom work. As alluded to prior, DT is never a journey and sadly, some of these companies have comfortably ticked the box as far as DT is concerned. I want to correct this fallacy by highlighting 3 fundamental elements which need exigent attention prior to embarking on this journey.

Digital is an approach, a way of thinking

Setting up an online store is commendable but the conversation about DT is broader than a mere channel. The questions that we should seize ourselves with are;

  • What are our digital strategic imperatives?
  • What are our internal alignment capabilities to deliver digital transformation?
    • Do we have the right structure and personnel in place?
    • What model are we going to pursue?
  • What investments do we need to deliver a superior customer experience?
    • What are the key processes which need to be optimized?
    • Do we have the right technologies in place?
    • Do we have the right processes in place?

An in-depth analysis on organizational readiness and capability is paramount as it provides a framework for developing the strategy. What is evident is that a lot is involved in building a robust, digital transformed entity. They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and there are baby steps you can take towards the realization of your goals.

Start with the necessary, possible and feasible

Start with low hanging fruit, begin with the end in mind. What are the necessary, straightforward steps you can take in your journey? for some, it could be setting up online presence across social media, website, launch an app etc. However, this should be within the context of the broader vision and plan, more of a phased approach. What digital transformation intends to achieve for your business is improved customer experiences in efficiency and speed to market.

My submissions are by no means conclusive, but they should jolt us into embracing the fierce urgency of now.

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