Digital Directions: 8 Tips for Driving Digital Change in Your Company
6. Create audience-centric digital offerings.
Reading digital versions of physical books on proprietary e-book readers is not a very compelling vision of the digital future. There is a tremendous range of new options available in determining how content can be delivered: how it is chunked, how it is formatted, how users interact with content online … even the device on which it is viewed. How do you decide which way to go? Listen to your customers. Your audience should drive the direction of digital delivery. Ask questions (and listen to answers!). Watch how people interact with content, how they use it. This is the way to creating breakthrough digital products that respond to the marketplace.
Focus groups and surveys are a few of the more conventional ways of collecting this customer insight. Other ways include analysis of activity on your Web site or partner sites, such as Amazon.com. Some of the most interesting cues into product strategy may well come from outside the traditional sphere of books, such as from the world of social media.
7. Deepen your digital talent pool.
Digital publishing requires new skills and capabilities. This goes beyond the obvious IT talent needed—and calls for new skill sets in editorial, design and marketing. How do you do that when you’re in a hiring freeze? First, invest in training for your most talented staff. Second, build a roster of contract talent to bring in when needed. It’s not necessary to have every skill set on staff, but organizations that make digital-talent development a priority will have a clear competitive edge.
8. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
In the current climate, fiscal prudence is an absolute necessity. However, paralysis by analysis or over-caution may well be a fatal organizational disorder at a time when fundamental change is taking place. Developing successful digital production and digital content-delivery programs often requires exploring alternatives and refining them over multiple iterations. Begin initiatives on a limited basis, discover what solutions work best, and ramp up the best approaches.
A wait-and-see attitude may seem appropriately parsimonious, but organizations that are waiting on the sidelines will likely lose advantage in 2010 to competitors that are further along the learning curve.
Andrew Brenneman is founder and president of Finitiv, a provider of digital content solutions. He has been leading digital media initiatives at major media and technology organizations for more than 20 years. Contact him at Andrew@Finitiv.com.