What Is Your Digital Mental Model?

It’s very difficult to answer the apparently simple question: ‘how do you define Digital?’ (the word ‘you’ stressed) and yet see twinkle of satisfaction in the eyes of the enquirer.

This is partly because ‘digital’, like any art form, means different things to different people. Depending on where they stand on the digital maturity curve, their capability levels, appetite for change and their current business challenges, the meanings and corresponding initiatives vary dramatically.

A necessary boon or flights of fancy?
I know of a head of marketing of a large bank, who questions the very idea and potential of digital, brushing it aside as a passing fad. He smacks the idea of SMAC! For him, technology overkill has made life of the branch staff more complex, without any equitable returns, to the point that these are seen as “fancy tools” pushed down by HO sitting on ivory tower. His prime objective is to simplify the complexity. This un-willing digital warrior’s organization is nonetheless moving aggressively on the digital autobahn. 

He heads the newly chiseled- out digital “center of excellence” from existing marketing team with a few members thrown in from IT team, who have embarked upon the journey in search of Digital Holy Grail. It wants both the online & offline journeys of a customer to do a tango with traditional media playing the music. At the same time it wants to sweat the digital assets (read mobile tabs) given to agents with “intelligent” suggestions spewed by analytics genie inside.

Sprinkle the icing and enjoy the cake!
A Chief Marketing Officer rolled into Chief Digital Officer of a large Asset Management Co. is happy dabbling with quick-win initiatives like developing a mobile app or having large digital touch-screens or kiosks in their branches; expecting these to drastically improve customer experience and yield more business.

Customer bliss is digital salvation
For the CEO of a mid-sized NBFC, digital is a sales & service channel which, albeit small now, holds vast potential in bringing down his cost of customer acquisition and servicing. For him, having a device-agnostic responsive website where the customers can engage with them online - buy products or get their complaints resolved, whenever, wherever and however they want, is the digital nirvana.

Personalized customer service redefined by digital 
The CMO of a life insurer intends to “move the needles” by creating different landing pages of their website suiting each “persona” and also wants to make sense of voluminous social media chatter to derive business benefits out of it. His organization has also given “service to sales” target to their customer service staff.

Thus the interpretation of the term ‘Digital’ changes as you move on the maturity and time continuum for each industry. It can only be understood and defined in a specific context.

So, what’s your definition of Digital?

This post is a special contribution from Gaurav Tandon, AVP, KAM segment of CRMNEXT. He is responsible for managing key client relationships and furthering the business interests of both CRMNEXT and its myriad clients.