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Make Your Digital Channels Work for You

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Would you hire an employee without a job for them to do? Of course not. You’d have a job description and set of responsibilities defined for that person to ensure they contribute strategically to your company. Sounds obvious, right?

Yet many companies don’t take the same careful approach with their digital channels. As new channels are adopted by consumers, brands race to meet their customers’ on each of these new channels. Often without pausing to assess what the company hopes to achieve out of that engagement. What business goals does it help to achieve? And how is that new endeavor going to provide value to your customers?

At Red Privet, we look at it this way: your digital channels have a job to do. We believe you should know exactly what role each of your digital channels plays in your digital strategy, and have a sense of what you hope to achieve with those channels. You wouldn’t hire a new employee without that job description and set of responsibilities. Why would you stand up a new social media account without the same?

When we look back at the initial adoption of smartphones, suddenly every business had to have a mobile application. Apps were developed, released and promoted at breakneck speed. But were those apps actually building meaningful engagement with customers? Were customer needs being met with the shiny new apps? Were the right customers even using apps for their tasks? Careful examination may have shown some brands that an app wasn’t going to create value for their customers, but another option such as a mobile-friendly website would.

Write the Job Description
How do you go about deciding what the appropriate role for each of your digital channels is, or if you should be using a channel at all? At Red Privet, we take an approach similar to our process for developing meaningful designs. We look for the sweet spot at the intersection of our clients’ business goals with their users’ needs.

Look internally to your strategic plan, to your business objectives. Look externally to your users. Talk to them, study them. Find out what channels your users are active in. One company’s users may be large adopters of mobile applications yet never read email newsletters. Your customers may spend hours on Pinterest, but have never tweeted a single tweet.

Make the Hire
Armed with knowledge about your business and user goals, go big and go wide in an analysis of opportunities where digital touchpoints could bring those goals together. Ask the pie-in-the-sky “What if?” questions. Then look to traditional assessments of effort versus impact to help you prioritize those opportunities and hone in on which channels you should be using and the primary roles for each channel.

Conduct a Performance Review
Having defined roles for your digital channels and expectations for your digital touchpoints allows you to make decisions about how you manage and staff those channels, and also gives you an idea for metrics to measure the success of your efforts. You measure your employees’ job performance against the expectations set out for them – you can do the same for your digital touchpoints.

When your company is on Facebook because “everyone is on Facebook,” and your only goal is the nebulous “name recognition,” how is that measured? By the number of likes? Likes don’t translate to value for your customer, or to your bottom line. But if the role of your Facebook page is to convert potential customers to your website, that can be measured by looking at referrals from your Facebook page to your website.

Ensure a Good Working Relationship
Knowing what you are trying to achieve with an investment in a new digital channel lets you approach that investment with confidence. Your choices about your digital strategy are based on knowledge, not guesses. You’ll be able to monitor the success of your endeavor, continually optimize performance and make sound decisions about future strategies. And in the end you’ll deliver a service that provides value to your customer as well as to your business.

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