As conversations and marketing campaigns move into the digital world, companies that aren't embracing the new way of communicating may be left out of important discussions. Should your company hire a chief digital officer or “digital whisperer” to maintain relevance with your customers, prospects, vendors and partners? You may want to hire a chief digital officer to help...
1. Make sense of our customer-centric, digital world.
I recently saw a photo of a newspaper ad online. The ad was from 1991, and it included discounts on everything from computers, camcorders, landline telephones, cassette recorders, scanners and more. The person who posted the picture noted that every item on the page can now be found in an average smartphone, which is exactly how most customers and prospects would like to communicate with your business today.
In 1991, your company would have advertised in local newspapers, radio, TV and the Yellow Pages. Today, customers want to visit your website or engage with you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. They may visit your store, but may want to check Amazon and other e-retailers to see how much less they can buy it for online. (A practice called “showrooming.”)
Customers have seized control of the discussion and brought it online. Today, customers and prospects review products, call out poor customer service, praise companies who listen to them and share important information on products and services with everyone they know and don't know! If having a point person in the company to coordinate and execute a digital strategy appeals to you, you may want to hire a chief digital officer. This hire can help coordinate your company's crossover into the digital world.
2. Harness big data.
Companies today have access to massive amounts of data. Big data can be seen either as a competitive advantage or simply overwhelming. But if you hire a chief digital officer, they can use customer relationship management (CRM) systems along with social media platforms to create actionable insights on different customer segments. The net result can help a company run more efficiently and effectively.
Externally, one of the objectives of harnessing big data is to create a better customer experience. By gathering data, analyzing it and then acting on it, smart companies can strengthen the relationship they have with their customers.
Internally, forward-thinking companies are learning more about cognitive computing and systems. IBM defines cognitive systems as "a category of technologies that uses natural language processing and machine learning to enable people and machines to interact more naturally to extend and magnify human expertise and cognition." Companies who are exploring cognitive computing may also realize the importance of having someone who can play the role of digital orchestra leader. They may want to hire a chief digital officer who can connect all of the departments together with cognitive computing.
3. Have a competitive advantage—for now.
There is a quote I often use in my workshops and presentations: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”
This can be true of the digital landscape in business today. Whereas some companies are way out in front and have mastered the art of doing business in a digital economy, many businesses, large and small, are still blind to the opportunities. That's the good news. The bad news is that they won't be blind forever. Hiring a chief digital officer may help place your business on the right side of the digital divide.
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