7 Digital Strategies of Top-Performing Companies
Growing a multimillion-dollar corporation during a recession is no small feat and it’s no accident. Companies that are swimming against the economic tide are doing things differently than those that are treading the water, or worse, drowning. These are numbers from a PwC: Accelerate report.
So, what exactly separates the best from the rest? In a world of tech-empowered consumers and employees, companies that are bucking the economic trend exhibit key behaviors that allow them to exploit technology and weave it into their businesses - the company’s Digital IQ.
PwC surveyed 489 companies across industries with annual revenues of more than $500 million to find out what successful companies are doing that the others aren’t. Following is how the ‘top performers’—companies that grew by 5% or more last year—are making the grade.
1) Integrate Technology into Strategic Planning: Naturally, creating a strategic plan is the first step in implementing any sort of large-scale corporate effort. However, the effectiveness of this strategy is what counts. 89% of top performers feel confident about their strategy versus 63% of the pack.
Top performing companies are also more likely to integrate IT into their strategic planning process. Of the companies that are excelling, 86% said that their CEO is an ‘active champion’ in the use of information technology to achieve corporate strategy. That number drops to 56% for the remaining respondents.
Moreover, the crème of the crop is more likely to have a CIO who not only reports directly to the CEO, but has strong relationships with other C-suite executives. In growing/winning companies, the CIO is seen as a ‘business champion’.
2) Set and Share a Single, Multi-year Roadmap for the Overall Business Strategy: In the mobilization stage, executives create a blueprint for breathing life into the strategy. Too many companies bypass this critical step. Not the best companies.
77% of top performers have a single, multi-year roadmap. That number sinks to 54% among average performers. Furthermore, sharing that strategy throughout the company is also critical to success. 76% of top performers say that their strategy is well communicated throughout the company. Only 44% of the rest make that claim.
Additionally, 78% of top performing companies say that their business and IT leaders share an understanding of the strategy. Only 49% of the other survey respondents feel that everyone is on the same page.
3) Look Beyond Delivering IT Projects on Time and on Budget Setting: a strategy leads to IT projects that are delivered on time and on budget so it’s no surprise that superior corporations are meeting their goals more often than the others.
67% of top performers say that their initiatives were delivered on time. In stark contrast, only 38% of the rest of respondents hit the mark. Coming in at or below budget proves to be more difficult for both groups, but nonetheless, 54% of top performers did so compared to 35% of the larger group.
However, many organizations downplay the trade-offs in cutting scope and therefore potential business value in favor of bringing a project in under cost and time targets. Almost 100% of top performers say that they frequently or always deliver their planned scope versus only 35% for all surveyed.
4) Invest in Mobile Workforces: Top performers spend more on empowering their workforces with mobile devices than the rest. 44% of the high performers will invest between $250,000 and $1 million and 33% will invest more than $1 million. For the remainder of respondents, those numbers are 37% and 27%, respectively.
5) Interact with Customers Using Mobile Technology: Only 44% of the pack interacts with customers via mobile devices “quite or very significantly.” That number jumps to 66% among the top performers. And, top performers are putting their money with their mouths are: 50% of them plan to invest more than $1million in mobile solutions for customers in 2012. That number plummets to 29% for the rest of the group.
6) Reap the Rewards of Social Media: Both the best and the rest are investing in social media at almost the same rates, but the top performers claim to see more of a benefit from their efforts than their lower-performing counterparts. 41% of top performers say they are benefiting from their investments in social media compared to 24% of the others. To gain a greater edge, 40% of the top performers expect to increase their use of social media. Only 26% of the rest of respondents plan to spend more in this area. In fact, 36% of the top of the heap plan to invest $1 million in social media for internal communications in 2012.
7) Invest in Cloud Computing: Top performers are investing more aggressively in cloud computing than the pack. 52% of top performers will spend more than $1 million on public cloud applications. Only 34% of the remaining survey respondents plan to spend that much. For private cloud investments, the gap is even wider: 58% of top performers will invest more than $1 million, compared with 39% for the rest.
Overall, top-performers link strategy to specific programs and actions while mobilizing the organization around that strategy. Everyone knows what role they should be playing and what success looks like. Top performers also don’t shy away from opportunities to innovate. The role that the CIO plays is to drive superior execution and innovation.
Does Social Media Marketing Success Demand Talent Over Technology?
Guys, I’m tired. I’ve been writing social media news releases day and night, and getting social media channels ready for ‘official releases,’ and it’s just been really tiring. The worst part is, people keep asking “Can’t you just let some new website or application do this for you?”
No. No I can’t. Nor can any [good] social media marketer.
Although these websites and applications may make my job much simpler, they simply don’t take away the work: writing/collecting compelling content and personalized channels. The SM marketer does that work. A blog, for example, is just a platform and structure. 90% of a social marketer’s time should be spent writing amazing content. Content is king.
So that brings me back to the original question: does social media marketing success demand talent, or does it demand technology?
I’m pretty sure humanity trumps technology.
Too many people in this space get stuck behind the technology barrier (been there. HTML for Dummies would have kept me stuck there, too, if I had bothered to open that book).
They spend all their budgets on building the perfect web application, the best Facebook App, and on graphic design and architecture, leaving very little if anything on the best writers and the best marketers. Don’t get stuck in that trap.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to downplay the importance of technology, but companies are neglecting to hire and train people based on their ability to write and their ability to connect and engage people; focusing on if they can create a twitter tab for the Facebook page is not that important. Hiring people who care more about personal and human relationships, rather than the technical coding and ‘whatchymacallits’ won’t guarantee a successful campaign. And on that note, having a twitter channel doesn’t make you an influencer, nor does being able to set up a blog put you in Technorati’s Top 100. I have 200 followers on twitter, but at least I know they are listening, and if just one person reads this blog post and learns from it, I’m happy.
At the end of the day, all these web applications are top-notch, but they just make it easier — almost effortless — to do your job as a social marketer, to be honest I wouldn’t mind marrying a programmer right now. But they do not do your job for you and they often make many people in the industry lazier, more careless, and less concise. They tend to be enablers, enabling bad grammar, poor spelling, and just good enough editing. People should always write as though going to press and being printed on paper instead of just assuming you can always edit it later. Yes, I Mean U GuYs who tYpe LyK Dis in a stealth-marketing attempt to sway the young into buying something they absolutely do not need (it’s ok to show a little sassiness in my own blog, isn’t it?)
Your social media presence, digital PR strategy, and social media marketing campaigns are only as good as your writers, marketers, PR professionals, community managers, designers, and creatives (the artisans) and not on the technologies (which are the tools). When I was being taught Mass Media and Communication atAUB, I was reminded every day that all the things I was learning in class, even though it would possibly become out-dated and old school the next day in this technologically fast-paced world, are still relevant because human nature is human nature and people are people (I majored in Sociology, by the way) and technological platforms are ephemeral and fleeting.
Learn the tools, try to figure out how to work through them, or marry an expert in that field if you want to constantly be obsessed (hint, hint), but it’s definitely more efficient to leave the obsession behind and leave the spotlight on what matters the most - people.
The picture, by the way, was an infographic that the Ideaz Factory designer and I made, but I had to hide a lot of the text. It’s still relevant though,so I hope it helps you understand what I’m trying to say (you can see a higher-resolution version here)
STARTUPS ARE HARD. SO WORK MORE, CRY LESS, AND QUIT ALL THE WHINING [And realize you’re part of history]
LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!! “But if deep down you know that you’re part of history, that the things you are building will be written about and thought about forever, then maybe after that good cry after a short sleep under your desk you’ll pull yourself together and remember. That you are a person in the Arena. A Pirate. That you are here to make a dent in the universe.”