The buy-in and execution of digital projects at #FigDigDHC

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The latest Figaro Digital event saw a number of compelling presentations brought to the fore the challenges of getting a digital project off the drawing board and in to a fully-fledged program that is part of the business and crucially…serving the business. The connective tissue of being prepared and taking a considered and strategic approach was plain to see from the Figaro Digital Healthcheck event in London today. The results from those that had also endured the battles, the late nights and the back-to-the-drawing-board-moments were also in evidence too.

Jonathon Whiteside of Building Blocks presented the agency-side view of hand-holding the client but beyond that, also enabling the client to become self-sufficient as means of getting the results their digital strategies truly deserve. In his presentation ‘Building a business case for digital projects’, he outlined 6 key areas to consider for those people thinking about building a business case but not sure where to start…knowing full well that digital can be a source of great revenue or a differentiator for businesses and that goes beyond the retail vertical too:

Cost-savings are “always good to demonstrate – especially operational savings – in the face of seeking initial investments and financial outlays at the start of a project.” Their client example came from Guinness World Records who wanted to consolidate digital assets and records management, a project that saw the reduction or even eradication of 5 business systems from software licenses through to server hardware and IT maintenance costs – all things that delivered a reduction in operational costs and the upshot? Improved data consistency and the aforementioned financial savings to invest in the things that truly matter to the business.

Real numbers in context – Demonstrate where small changes or small investments can lead to incremental changes that soon stack up. Presenting figures in a logical and even visual manner can unlock support faster.

Real life feedback – Making the emotional case to a board can be more effective than the numerical. Dealing in intangibles or hard to measures? Think about Customer experience for example, of course you can deliver granular measures and indicators but put staff in front of the board explaining their process, their problems and the opportunities swiftly present themselves.

Digital disruptors analysis – Eschew the traditional competitor research but seek out disruptors in the relevant niche. Blockbuster Video never saw Netflix and the like coming but could have countered the challenge head on had they been more astute in monitoring industry shifts, trends and threats. “Disruptors are usually more digital savvy.”

Self-sufficiency – Building up internal capabilities long-term aids the partner relationship and helps with staff engagement and retention as self-sufficiency breeds confidence.

Roadmap and Detailed Plans – “Just because it is written down doesn’t mean it will happen” Just like nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition, the one question from the CEO that you didn’t anticipate could de-rail the plan in an instant. Be prepared with the What, When and Who and certainly the “How much?”

The Wine Society – a membership model gone digital

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The Wine Society case study shared by Liz Brown showed the other side of the process, the light at the end of the tunnel, as a brand that realized the need to go digital from their traditional mail-order membership model to an ever-connected and savvy online membership.

Knowing that consumer attention spans are down to 8 seconds and understanding the need to arrest attention and make every engagement count The Wine Society went through the RFP process and identified the solution that would best fit their digital project plan needs.

The setup is interesting and nuanced because of the membership and community model, with 130k members who do not see advertising because this membership model is built upon other methods…such as word of mouth or content marketing via their Society Grapevine blog. The £90million turnover is testament to a product that has a good relationship with the community but the technological shifts the community were going through meant The Wine Society had to adapt.

“The Society’s foundations are based in being an experienced ‘mail-order’ business. Now we see ourselves as more of a ‘digital business’” said Liz Brown, CRM Manager.

At any one time there are approx 1,500 different products available for purchase by the membership and member satisfaction is paramount; maximising profits is not.

“This is why a single member view is so important. We want to use our data to offer a seamless and high-quality experience and service across all of the channels to our members, however they choose to interact with us.  The aim is to increase the relevance of our messages thus increasing member’s engagement.”

The digital transformation is coming together with a view to moving to a real-time operation when the time is right. But consider this, ‘the new member journey’ used to begin with a manual email deployment but is now triggered as part of an automated process and this email data can be connected via cookie and on-site data that shows if a member likes to browse Chilean wines and therefore their email communications present a more personalized view with more Chilean wines and less of the rest because the viewing habit informs this and the transactional data too.

A word of warning to the non-digital thinking of kicking off that digital project? Liz says “It’s all very well linking up your data but if it is out of date then it damages your member relationship” and so we come full circle to that considered approach to digital project implementation and the long-term view of running that great new customer experience powered by digital means but also empowered people.

What challenges did you have to overcome to deliver a digital project and what results has your digital project win had when improving the customer experience? 

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