Planning for a Digital 2017
by Donald Lim
 
With an optimistic outlook for most of the businesses I have personally encountered, a lot of companies are really gearing up for a blazing start come 2017. Most organizations are now midway on their business planning, and I have never seen this much demand and expectation on how to use digital for their business (beyond marketing) efforts. I guess in 2017, we can say that Philippine businesses and brands have really embraced the digital revolution that is upon us.
 
Four weeks ago, we had a Digital Conference at the PICC, attended by more than 1,700 digital practitioners, with 160+ speakers in tow coming from around the world. It feels good to see how big the digital industry has grown, and how much organizations are now investing in digital. We have gone beyond just placing an advertisement on a website, or just getting likes or followers, but are now asking the more important questions: how can digital really help in creating stronger affinity with our customers, thereby increasing market share? How can we infuse digital into our organizational culture laden with tradition and legacies? How can we measure if we are doing digital right? Definitely three days of intellectual discourse and learning, not only from the so called digital experts, but learning from the attendees and audience also.
 
I gave the final presentation of the conference, capping off my ten years in the world of digital with ten fundamental learnings. I would like to share three here, given space constraints:
 
Digital is all about making life simpler, not more complex.Digital should make gut feel sense to you that it will help your organization, and you should be able to clearly see how. You don’t have to understand the technical part, but it should make simple business sense. Digital simplifies and makes it easier for you to reach your customers, to do your daily operations, to help your business. It should not make you more confused and scared. If someone comes to you with digital jargons and cannot explain it well and link it to your business goals, do not get wowed and worried that you should be doing something. You are probably better off not doing anything, or finding another professional in digital who can really help you.
 
There is no ROI in digital.Finance people will kill me for saying this, but please, let us stop trying to measure the return for every effort we put into digital. You can of course measure Return on Investment on digital efforts if you can isolate efforts and manage the attributions. Ecommerce sites have been very successful in doing that, when they measure clicks that go into their website, and then how many eventually buy. My point is that an organization cannot move forward on digital if they force an ROI measurement. Do we measure the ROI of every company vehicle or the laptop we give the intern? Digital like everything else, is just a tool. You know that in today’s world, your organization just cannot live without it.
 
Digital succeeds when the word digital is not used.So many organizations come to me and say if they should hire a digital manager for their company. I would always just ask them: “For what”? It is like you asking me if you need the most high tech laptop. If you have no clear purpose on what to do with it, why get one? Before you hire a digital manager, infuse digital thinking first in the organization. Embrace the digital revolution. Hiring a digital person only makes him or her a scapegoat if something happens, and most especially if your website goes down or your social media page does not get enough followers. Analyze how the new digital economy is disrupting your industry, and how you should react and plan ahead. That should also aid you in getting the digital person you need.
 
In the realm of marketing, digital has actually become more mature and now permeating into the different industries. The travel industry, gadgets and telcos, retail, are all being shaped by the new rules of digital: from social, to performance marketing, media placements, and customer loyalty. It is only a matter of time before every organization makes their digital leap. Digital is just a matter of “when”. Let’s all start planning for our digital future.
 
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Donald Lim is the Chief e-Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the only advocacy-based training and consultancy firm focused on marketing, sales, strategy and innovation. For feedback, write to 
mentors@mansmith.netor log on to www.mansmith.net, for more information.