Digital should drive the whole business, not live in a ghetto

The latest bit of cartoon genius from Tom Fishburne brings to life nicely a key theme from our latest research project: 'Rebooting brand strategy for a digital age'. We recommend the need for digital to drive the business as a whole. We, like Tom, use the quote from Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes: the challenge is "Not about digital marketing, but rather marketing in a digital world".

Below are few key points from Tom's post.


1. Follow the money

As Tom's cartoon shows, too much work on digital and social media is today is still about following fads and fashion, not on driving profitable growth as the data from our research below shows. We need to remember that the sole purpose of all marketing is to SMS (sell more stuff).

Fig 1
2. Avoid 'digital ghettos'

I'm with Tom when he says that creating senior-management roles focused on digital "treats it as a silo, distinct from the rest of the business. It can be heavy on hype and light on substance." The risk is that the digital team work are separated from the day-to-day business, and that everyone else thinks its not their job to innovate and renovate using digital. 

3. Use digital to grow the core

The real priority should rather be "for everyone in an organisation to figure out how to do what they do better with digital technology," as Tom says. He illustrates this point with a story from a healthcare company The recently-appointed 'Chief Digital Officer' visited Google and ended up cruising around in a smart car; fun but not following the money. In contrast, "his clinician colleagues were meeting with a software vendor about streaming patients' vital signs to their smart devices," in order to improve the customer and patient experience.

In conclusion, we should avoid treating digital transformation as a task separate from the core business, as this "can blind us from seeing the opportunities directly in front of us". Rather, digital technology is an opportunity to reboot each part of our businesses.