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Digital maturity - are you there yet?

Over the past few years, countless discussions, seminars and blogposts appeared in online and offline communities on how corporations have to engage with their online visitors. But what about digital maturity?

Digital maturity

These inspirational discussions, seminars and blogposts introduce or highlight several new (digital) concepts:

  • Authenticity
  • Content Strategy
  • Digital Transformation
  • Digital Maturity
  • Disruptiveness

 Before we dive into more detail and identify tell-tale signs to help measure your digital maturity, let’s first stress one immensely important fact:

The digital revolution is well on its way

Even though it is easy to make this claim, it is just as true as stating the obvious fact that we are in a constant flow of change. The digital revolution that is hitting us right now has the power to topple market leading businesses and uproot existing business models. This is not something that will come our way in the next few years: it is happening right now and some markets have already been severely disrupted.

This digital revolution is forcing businesses and their (often too small) army of marketers to re-evaluate their current position in the digital landscape. It is important to take sufficient time to prepare for the changes ahead and not simply resign to the current situation under the false pretense that “one should never change a winning team”.. If the game is changing, then surely the players should too.

Larger organizations tend to value the processes needed to plan ahead, compare and consider different options and evaluate alternatives. However, they are now forced to pick up the pace and compare themselves with direct competitors as well as fringe competitors that potentially could consume part of their market segments.

Companies that decide to stay the course and not even re-evaluate their current situation risk a head-on collision with other disruptive business models that may cross over into their own market. Think about the impact that Uber, Airbnb and Nasty Gal have had on their markets and how this could impact your business.

The importance of the digital platform

We see that companies tend to attach much importance to their own authenticity and their own brand uniqueness in preparing for the digital shift. In doing so, they start to think about different ways to market their newly found and clearly defined unique sales proposition and competitive advantage across all available marketing channels.

Where the digital platform used to be a simple channel to offer simple brand visibility or deliver insights into inner workings, structure and drive, it has become much more. The digital customer expects a conversation that answers or supersedes his needs. The digital platform should serve as an extension of the offline interactions and combine all possible consumer history and information to assist the visitor in their online customer journey.

Trivial facts concerning the company’s inner workings should be hidden in plain sight on your digital platform. This is achieved through a well thought out information architecture combined with a solid content strategy that helps to keep content relevant and up to date.

The shift in perception of how the online channel is regarded inside an organization is part of the digital transformation process that should be taking place in every company at this very moment.

Smartphone concepts

Digital maturity

Maturity is described by Merriam-Webster online dictionary as:

The quality or state of being mature; especially: fully development

An otherwise fully matured organization can still show a very poor level of digital maturity. In order to evaluate the level of digital maturity, answering the following important questions can provide relevant insights and provide food for thought:

  • Is the digital channel perceived of as a strategically valuable channel?
  • How good is your online representation of your brand and its unique offering?
  • Is your content written from the customer perspective?
  • Are the offline, online and backend solutions interwoven?
  • Do you leverage geographical information with regards to competitors and cultures?
  • Is content creation an ongoing process or a one-off?
  • Are customers guided and followed up before and after purchase?

Because every brand, service or product should be dealt with differently, there is no matrix that can be derived from the above in order to indicate unequivocally where you are at this moment on the digital maturity track. It should be clear that the more you integrate all aspects of your business and the more information and feedback you can get from your customers, the more you are likely the find the digital bliss you are looking for.

In short, your level of digital maturity can be measured by evaluating your brand's current situation and by identifying how digital channels can help pave the path into future markets. Don’t shy away from stealing with your eyes to assess your competitors' online offerings. It might very well help you find that specific offering or story that the customer is longing for.

A story and customer journey that only your digital brand can offer.

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