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Don’t Keep Digging: How Digital and Knowledge Frees You

Take a look at the holes in these two photos.

One is wide and shallow. The other is so deep that you cant see the bottom.


How many shovelfuls of material would it take to fill either hole?

And how do you decide what material is best to fill them?

These aren’t questions you can answer by relying on gut feeling. You won’t come up with the right solution without knowing the size and measurements of each hole, the purpose of filling it, and how the hole got there in the first place.

The same process of perception, thought, and analysis applies to your organization’s toughest digital, communication and data challenges.

If you’ve dug yourself a hole or someone has dug it for you, the first reaction is to haul out the heavy equipment and start shoveling. What did Bob or Mary do? Oh ok, lets do that too, it worked for them.

396812_91af759eIt’s very tempting to shift into reaction mode.

But you can’t solve a problem or confront a challenge unless you know what you’re trying to achieve. You aren’t Bob or Mary, are you?

And you won’t find that out with a small shovelful of subjective information or feedback that only represents a small segment of the available data.

At first glance, you might come up with a quick fix—an e-blast, a discount coupon, or some other tactic—to deal with a shift in member or customer opinion or a slight dip in sales. But weeks later, you’ll be surprised and frustrated if you find that you’re in a deeper hole…and you’re still digging.


What Went Wrong?

Smart, lasting solutions begin by collecting information, reviewing data, understanding the story, and formulating the right actions.

Your organization probably has access to insightful, important data from a wide variety of sources. The digital realm can supplement your in-house knowledge with deep wells of insight on your customers, your competitors, and your brand.

The best way to make use of this wealth of data is to take a deep breath, define the questions that will help you understand your audience and its needs, and avoid the Hype Trap that can so easily distract you from the action-oriented insights you need.

The Hype Trap

  • We need a new website! Our sales aren’t meeting target, so the website must be the cause.
  • We need a new app! We want to increase engagement, and that’s how everyone else doing it.
  • We need a new mobile site! We hear that everyone is buying through their smart phone, and we can’t be left behind.
  • We need to publish all our content via an app! Someone told us that no one is using websites anymore.

You’ve probably heard one or more of those storylines…probably in the last week or two. The antidote to endless hype is the specific, targeted data that tell you how to apply wider trends to your audience and product. Until you understand the unique problems facing your organization, the Hype Trap leaves you shoveling more dirt into the bottomless hole.

Getting from Here to There

Here are two quick steps you can take to make sense of the hype and extricate yourself from the Hype Trap.

  1. Find data sources you can trust and know what you have. Just in the last couple of weeks, the number of apps in the App Store has hit 1.2 million, PC sales have actually increased, smart phone access has emerged as a continuing concern, and mobile sales appeared to level out at about 30% of online commerce.
  • You have data available via your internal systems, your sales tools, your customer profiles, and digital analytics to name a few.
  • You have external digital data available from search engine relevance, content aggregation, community driven brand reviews and much more across the social media space.

How do you separate news from noise, and the day’s headlines from broader trends, and figure out what it means for you?

  1. Get an Assessment. An assessment is the essential first step down the road to a digital strategy. It’s the right process to evaluate your organization’s performance, understand your audience’s feelings, wants, needs, and product experience, discover what your competitors are doing, gauge your brand’s reach and profile, understand your technical limitations, map your digital plan back to broader organizational strategy, and find meaningful analytics to guide your future efforts.

Customizing Your Strategy

Your digital strategy should be as unique as the organization, audience, and objectives it serves.train-393828_150

You aren’t your competitors, your organization is nothing like the one next door, and you are different from your peers. Your customers come to you because you are special in their mind: you offer them something they need, and that’s why they want a business relationship with you.

The right strategy will help you build those relationships and maximize their value—for you, and for everyone in your target audience. But the first step is to ask yourself whether you’re filling the right hole, and whether a shovel is really the tool you need to solve the problem that is right in front of you.

Are you ready to stop shoveling? Are you ready to transform your organization and move into the digital age? Drop 2040 Digital an email via our contact form or email me directly at We have seen the holes, we understand their sizes, depths and types, we know how to fill them (if they indeed need filled) and have assisted many organizations with making the right decisions.

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