The gap between strategic small business development and the ICT strategy could be filled with focused development activities. The main elements in achieving success are:
- Common understanding
- Knowledge sharing
- Online reputation management
- Social Media strategy and implementation
- Digital media planning and buying
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- Email marketing strategy
- Analytics and insight
- Lead generation and nurturing
- Pay per click search engine marketing
Both business developers and ICT developers should understand each other's areas of expertise. The common understanding should be at many levels within organizations, not only at management and executive levels but also in at development and realization levels. The strategy process requires knowledge and participation from many levels of organizations and also from different business units. Co-operation between business and ICT departments of organizations is the one key to success. But cooperation may be hard to realize, if there are no common processes.
Organizations should make connections between business and ICT planning processes and from there to operation levels. Another element in achieving success is implementation. ICT should be successfully implemented, but organizations should also implement the right solutions, the ones that best fit their own businesses. ICT and business operations have great potential for each other, if successfully implemented. Follow-up and evaluation of implementation is the answer to estimating the success of implementations. Any evaluation must also take further development needs into account.
Business development at the strategic level is not an easy task for companies, especially for SMEs. Business strategies change and companies should change their competencies in value chains. A strategy should clarify the methods and activities required of a changing business. The utilization of different ICT solutions requires understanding of the business environment and business requirements, and also of market opportunities. The other aspect is the understanding of ICT solution providers. There are many solutions on the market that sound great, but after implementing these solutions difficulties could arise. Or there may be a need for expensive modifications to fit solutions to their intended use. Success could be achieved through focused development activities, starting with an analysis and continuing through development to implementation and evaluation.
Marketing as a segment of BDS: Customer Experience Engineering
Customers always get more than they bargain for, because a product or service always comes with an experience. By "experience," we mean the "takeaway" impression formed by people's encounters with products, services, and businesses—a perception produced when humans consolidate sensory information.
In orchestrating Experience several paths can lead to customer preference: the product's performance, the service's performance, and the experience that context clues create. Experience management is primarily concerned with the systematic design and implementation of the context clues that are emitted by the product and/or service and the environment; it is, therefore, distinct from (though it should be related to) product and service design. Sometimes a product or service design explicitly incorporates context clues-such as engineering the distinct sound of a door closing on a Mercedes Benz. In fact, products such as fashion clothing and services such as entertainment typically incorporate more context than performance clues in their design. The design of a total experience orchestrates the context created by products and services, as well as the environment in which customers acquire, use, and maintain them. People are naturally inclined to prefer pleasant, uplifting "special" experiences, and examples abound that demonstrate the important and lasting effect an experience can have on an individual.
When you deeply integrate analytics into this process, you not only make every step better, you actually re-shape the process. Measurement and analysis re-creates experience design as experience engineering - an iterative process driven by ever deeper cycles of customer research, testing design, and learning. Here, in a nutshell, is how I think analytics impacts each of these steps and how, ultimately, the process ends up looking
Assessing the Current Experience Customer
Journey mapping is the traditional starting point of customer experience projects. But this ought to be a data-driven exercise. One of the virtues of techniques like our Use-Case Analysis is that it discovers the real behaviours of customers – including journeys that the design teams never imagined. Use-Case analysis combines sophisticated multi-channel VoC (voice of customer) and behavioural data to identify the
unique cases that drive usage of key touchpoints and then analyse their actual success. It provides a deep, data-driven look at what customers are trying to accomplish and how successful they are. It’s the right way to begin re-engineering customer experience. But customer journey’s aren’t all there is to assessing the current experience. The type of customer I’ve been writing about and the use of VoC to delve deep into customer decision-making go beyond journey identification and success to help illuminate real drivers of customer choice and behaviour. It’s just not possible to accurately assess the current state unless you know what customers are happy/unhappy about AND why they feel that way.
Predicting the Future
In a time of rapid transformation, every customer experience project has elements of predicting the future. After all, you need to plan for the future state, not just what customers are doing right now. How do you do that? It’s not easy and the right answer isn’t to pay “futurists” or “visionaries” for their fanciful, anecdotal versions of what’s to come. I don’t think that’s business, it’s fantasy. Using data, there is a far more sensible approach to predicting the future. It’s called segmentation. By isolating early adopter populations, you can understand how your broad customer-base is going to look 1 to 3 years into the future. It’s analytics not anecdote - and it works. Obviously, this type of approach isn’t always going to be right. It’s going to miss potentially radical changes in technology – and we all know those do happen. But for realistic planning timeframes, using segmentation as your prediction tool will likely work better than any other method you can find.
Envisioning the Ideal State
This is the step that remains more art than science. But with proper analytics, your art will be a lot more grounded in reality. It will be segmented by audience and use-case. It will be informed by deep knowledge of customer decision-making and attitudes. It will integrate a viable prediction of the likely future state for technology adoption. So while I doubt that analytics can actually describe a true ideal state, I do believe that it is a necessary precursor to getting this function right. In particular, analytics is a cure for one of the great blunders you can make in designing a customer experience – ignoring the importance of the individual. Digital has created massive individuation – everyone wants and demands a highly personalized experience. The analytics methods I’ve described will keep experience engineers from imagining that there’s one “right” experience. There never is. Finding the ideal state is about finding the right places to deliver that level of personalization.
Architecting the Experience
I think the fundamental truth of digital transformation is individuation. The closer you can come to treating each person uniquely, the closer you are to achieving an optimum customer experience. What does it take to achieve optimum customer experience at scale? Data and analytics. That’s why it’s essential to build measurement deeply into a customer experience. This is also the realm of the nudge. Because it’s not enough to understand what customer’s want. You have to be able to understand how constraints on their knowledge and time may impact their ability to navigate your offerings and your content. Choice architecture is a fundamentally customer driven and the integration of segmentation into choice architecture makes for robust, customer-centric view of how to architect an experience that truly works for the customer.
Mobilize and Launch
The days of boiling the ocean are over. Highly individuated experiences are never created whole hog. They need to grow organically from a process that builds increasingly levels of personalization into an experience. So it’s best to focus on creating an experience factory. What’s an experience factory? It’s a process driven view of customer engineering whose navigation system is your CIS (Customer Intelligence System) and whose engine is the type of experiment design and testing process Kelly described. By combining these elements, it creates a process that can drive continuous incremental improvement in the customer experience; a process that can deliver rapid returns via incremental change, and process that, over time, can fundamentally transform the entire customer experience. So it’s no surprise that when you build measurement and analytics deeply into every step of customer experience design, you end up with a process that looks more like a spiral than a sequence.