We started the digital transformation (DT) discussion at a strategic level, where we talk about how DT must transform more than just the technology, but also the people process and culture of the entire company. Then we shifted to a more operational level and talk about why business must adopt Geoffrey Moore’s 4 gears model in order to survive the digital revolution. From this perspective, DT is simply the roadmap of the journey that transforms the business from a traditional 2-gears model to the new 4-gears model.
Over the last 2 posts, we derived some practical tips from behavior economics that help practitioners overcome their company’s resistance to change.
Since this baby-steps approach is driven by success, it’s harder for enterprises to abandon the DT initiative during this multi-year journey, because they would be forgoing success. Although this provides an operation guideline for spinning the 4 gears, the specific of how you transform your marketing and what precisely you do to engage and enlist is dependent on your vision of DT. Moreover, the marketing technology landscape is huge and complex. And there are many ways you can transform your digital marketing operation.
Today we will go back to the strategic level at the beginning, where we identified 3 ingredients that successful DT must have from the start. We have discussed many concepts and models around DT. The following picture is a good visual summary of what we’ve discussed so far.
The Challenge of Connecting the Dots
Recall from the very first vlog of this mini-series, we found 3 initial ingredients that are crucial to the long-term success of your DT project.
Although one can easily argue the importance of any one over the other two, they are all equally important. We must have all 3 of them, or we should wait until we have them all before we embark on the DT journey. In reality, the 3 success ingredients all influence each other. Creating a customer-centric DT strategy is always an iterative process, as is forging a vision and choosing the right technology.
The challenge is that we now know the end state, and we have a way to get there with minimum corporate resistance (i.e. baby steps). This will further constrain the vision and the customer-centric strategy we can explore. Not all vision and strategy will bring us to the 4-gears end state. Of those that will get us there, not all will work with the baby steps approach we outlined.
For example, your vision may be to transform your email marketing by using big data to better segment and target your audience. This can even be done in a customer-centric fashion to give customers a better customer experience (CX) by serving them hyper-relevant email that they want rather than spamming them. And you have chosen the best technology in the market that is simple to use. Although this vision encompasses all 3 success ingredients, the success of this DT initiative will not lead your company to spin the engagement gear. Because successful email marketing improves click through rate, which drives more traffic to your e-commerce sites and ultimately increases monetization. Evidently, we are back to the 2-gears model again. Albeit profitable in short-term, this won’t sustain and won’t save your business from being outcompeted by those who’ve learned to spin the 4 gears.
Similarly, revamping your web analytics, SEO, webinar, or listening platform, probably won’t help your company spin the 4 gears either. Forging a vision or a customer-centric strategy under the constraints imposed by the 4-gears model and the baby steps principle is very hard, because we must connect all the dots in prospect. But without them, we risk either miss the boat at the end or suffer corporate resistant along the way, none of which we want.
What is a Total Community?
In our experience, it’s often best for you to come up with a vision that’s compatible with your brand’s mission, because that should be unique to your company. But there is a customer-centric strategy that is consistent with the 4-gears model and connects all the dots along the way. It’s known as the total community strategy, and it involves engaging the true community of your brand on digital channels. The only disclaimer I like to point out is that this is not the only strategy that connects all the dots. However, it is one that I know is repeatable, because it’s been tested over many years of Lithium’s business operation.
To understand total community, we have to understand the distinction between social networks and communities. Most social media practitioners probably do know the difference between these 2 social structures and treat them equivalently—they are all just social media. While this isn’t wrong, it misses some important properties that have limited many practitioners from realizing the full potential of their social media initiatives. In short,
For a more detail exposition on this topic, please review my cyber-anthropology mini-series. If you really want to dive deep and understand the communication, structural, and mathematical distinction between communities and social network, I recommend following this academic discussion.
Given this basic understanding of community, what is the true community of your brand? Most people probably think it’s your brand’s online community. This is not quite correct. Although the online community is certainly part of the true community of your brand, it is only a very small part of it.
To answer this question more accurate, we have to use our definition of a community and ask, “Who are all the people who have a common interest around your brand?” The group of all people who have a common interest in your brand is the true community of your brand, regardless of where they may be. Your brand’s true community is defined by the shared interest about your brand, not the geographical or digital boundaries. This group certainly includes customers and prospects, but it also includes employees, partners, and influencers etc. To avoid confusion with the usual connotation of the word “community,” and to emphasize the breadth and completeness of your brand’s true community, we define to this group as the “total community”
So, by definition, your brand’s total community is the true community of your brand.
Total Community as a Customer Centric Strategy
The concept of total community can be quite confusing, because it can mean several different things depending on your vantage point. There are at least 3 perspectives that I am aware of.
Now we have 3 different vantage point to help us understand DT.
We came a long way. In fact, we have traversed the DT journey from start to finish, and then back to the beginning again. Below are all the prior entries of this mini-series. Next time let’s try to wrap up this DT mini-series.
*Image Credit: ar130405.
Michael Wu, Ph.D. is Lithium's Chief Scientist. His research includes: deriving insights from big data, understanding the behavioral economics of gamification, engaging + finding true social media influencers, developing predictive + actionable social analytics algorithms, social CRM, and using cyber anthropology + social network analysis to unravel the collective dynamics of communities + social networks.
Michael was voted a 2010 Influential Leader by CRM Magazine for his work on predictive social analytics + its application to Social CRM. He's a blogger on Lithosphere, and you can follow him @mich8elwu or Google+.
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