One of the biggest myths about executing on digital marketing and e-commerce is that it’s all about digital. In practice, nothing could be further from the truth. So much of what makes digital work is really about your organization’s culture and leadership rather than anything to do with paid search prowess or social marketing mastery.
When you hear people around you talk about companies with “digital in their DNA,” what they mean is that the company doesn’t depend on any specific channel or tactic to achieve their goals. Instead, those companies value 4 things above all else:
- Customers. Companies that “get” digital get their customers. They realize that customers no longer go online, they are online, using whatever tools they have at hand to find, research, and buy the products and services that matter in their lives. And, they get that these customers will switch to whatever product or service best meets their needs whenever they want. In this environment, the only way to lead is to listen, to pay attention to your customers’ actual needs. And, of course, to focus all your energies on meeting those needs.
- Data. Listening to your customer depends on data. Not “Big Data;” your data. Data that helps you understand what your customers actually need. Data that guides you towards the right answer to solve customer challenges. And data that provides a barrier against competitors large and small. By definition, no one else can—or at least shouldn’t be able to—understand your customer’s interactions with your products and services as well as you can. Data represents the lifeblood of your organization’s success. Digital leaders understand that you ignore its value at your peril.
- Testing. Of course, data alone doesn’t tell you a complete story. Loads of opportunities exist to misinterpret what data means within your organization. Instead of relying on intuition or guesswork, digital leaders test their assumptions consistently and apply the lessons from those tests to improve the experience their customers enjoy. And that’s why digital leaders customers tend to actually enjoy those experiences.
- Accountability. Finally, digital leaders take accountability for delivering results and for creating environments in which their teams can produce those results. Accountability isn’t just about being willing to accept blame when things go wrong. It’s about making a commitment to your customer’s success and finding the intersection where customer success leads to business success. Google and Facebook, for example, famously didn’t know how they were going to make money during their early years. But their commitment to helping customers accomplish their goals eventually led them to seriously successful destinations all the same.
Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft (the AGFAM folks), all started small, but got big by delivering key benefits to their customers, using data to learn what worked for their customers, tested their assumptions in the marketplace, and held their leaders accountable for both the customer experience and their business results. Lots of new players are disrupting industries large and small by executing against this same playbook. It’s time you do the same.
If you’re looking to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.
You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:
(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).
And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:
- 10 Key Posts about Millennials and Mobile: E-commerce Link Digest
- The Secrets Behind “It’s All E-commerce” for 2014
- The Zen of Digital Marketing Strategy
- 7 Steps to E-Commerce Heaven
- Today and Tomorrow: Mobile and The Changing Customer Journey
- Mobile Makes E-commerce Even More “Frictionless”
- Your 2014 Internet Marketing New Year’s Resolutions – Thinks Out Loud Episode 56