The one question you need to ask to keep your business ahead in a digital world.

February 12th, 2019

There’s no denying it, the digital revolution isn’t on its way. It’s here and its happening now.

Whether we like it or not, our increasing reliance and the impact of new technology affects everything, including our work and how we do business.
Of course, in the marketing industry, ‘digital’ is something I’m reading about all the time, however one particular article caught my eye recently and made me think, how do we fully embrace the digital revolution and how should our businesses be transforming?

The topic was ‘digital transformation versus digitisation’. What’s the difference you ask, as I did too.

Well, digitisation is what many businesses are doing – so they are digitising some or all of their processes, for example, by moving paper-based processes online, automating some manual processes, retraining staff to use new technology and using digital advertising in their marketing.

Digital transformation on the other hand involves shaping the entire business strategy around customers and the way they use digital technologies today.  Digital transformation looks at changing consumer behaviours and may require a complete restructuring of the business, or may involve a series of digitisation projects, to ensure you’re connecting with your audiences in the way they need you to in order for them to become your customers.

One of the sectors to be most visibly and fundamentally impacted by the digital revolution is retail, where the rapid shift to online purchasing has left many well-established brands way behind. Some retailers are paying lip service to the digital revolution by tinkering with their business models – for example by introducing iPads into their stores or by having a website where they can sell online. However, as we have seen from the changes on the high street, this is mere digitisation and most are failing to transform their business and capitalise on the increasingly digital marketplace.

However, retail is not the only industry to be impacted by the digital revolution. All businesses, in all sectors face challenges from the way consumers use online channels and technology.  Adapting to digital changes can no longer be seen as simply a bolt on to existing services or ways of working.

Embracing digital transformation often means taking a step back and re-evaluating how you can connect directly with your key consumers or target groups. Is what you’re doing still effective? Is it giving you the results you need? Are there new channels you need to be exploring?

That’s why I think the one question we should be asking now, is, ‘What would your business look like today if you were starting from scratch?’ How would it operate, what services would you provide, how would you deliver them, and how would you promote and market your brand and products with the tools and channels available today?

With the impact of the digital revolution on marketing and the way we do business undeniable, throughout 2019 we will be exploring these ideas further with a series of blogs centred around the theme, ‘Is this the end of Marketing as we know it?’

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