Digital Transformation is Now Vital for Business Survival but is it Misunderstood?

What is digital transformation and is it taken too literally?

Digital transformation is a term has been floating around the digital marketing scene for some time now and it’s perhaps this which has led to it being misinterpreted. Digital transformation is the process of change required for any businesses to fully embrace a digital first philosophy and ensure they are set up to deliver against the expectations of modern-day online consumers. It seems that for many, the ‘transformation’ portion is being taken literally.

The chances are you wouldn’t be running a successful business today if you had ignored digital almost entirely. You’d be hard pressed to find a business without a website or a social media account. Even if you are a small, local coffee shop, the chances are – given the way of the world and our digital consumption habits – you’ll have done the basics such as claiming your Google My Business profile so your location is easily found online.

So, when business owners hear about digital transformation, they assume that it means having a complete business overhaul. If they’re engaging with digital already, then they don’t need a full transformation, right? But that’s not the point.

Digital transformation might simply be the wrong terminology. I actually prefer ‘digital evolution’ or better yet ‘digital advancement’. Regardless of what you call it, the aim of the process isn’t to take a business from being entirely non-digital to full digital and it’s not necessarily about completely changing the DNA of a brand or business either.

It’s about ensuring that any business, regardless of where it is currently, is progressed to a point in which the business puts digital first. This is in terms of strategy, marketing communications and functionality. Taking every element of the business and applying a digital thought process and putting best practise in place across the board.

Times are changing rapidly and so are consumers’ digital expectations

Any business who is not ahead of the game or at the very least meeting the expected standards of modern day, heavily digital consumers, is going to struggle and fail as the year of dread 2020 comes to an end and 2021 shows us the full extent of how we and our society have changed.

We live in a time of accelerated digital dependence which has been given an unprecedented boost by the phenomenal events of 2020 so far. Coronavirus and the consequent lockdown procedures have changed us and the world we live in forever. Without getting too far into the psychology of the situation, one thing we can all see for ourselves is that coronavirus has all but killed off the high street as we knew it. Big retailers we never thought would topple including John Lewis and even Starbucks are closing numerous stores. Victoria’s Secret has finally succumbed to its gradual decline and declared bankruptcy. Redundancies across retail are growing steeply as we head toward the end of the year.

It’s no surprise that with mask requirements, staff and consumer safety concerns as well as a general sense of apprehension globally, we’re seeing even less footfall in bricks and mortar stores and locations. The amount of money Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is making during this time, as we’re constantly reminded of by the news, is proof enough that online and digital is where we’re shifting. Now, this isn’t new news, I think most of us were well aware that we have been heading towards greater digital integration for some time. The difference now though is the events of 2020 have suddenly boosted that evolution and businesses who have been taking their time adjusting will now need to get their act together and take genuine digital prioritisation a lot more seriously.

Stop fearing digital transformation and instead embrace it for what it really means, taking a serious and all-encompassing digital first approach to your business, how it operates, how it markets itself and how it functions.

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