DIGIVIZER’s new formal alliance with business consulting and accounting firm Deloitte serves to emphasize an important assertion: that it’s now good business strategy to put social at the centre of everything.
That the social web and social media continue to be considered and deployed in the context of sales, marketing or customer service in many organizations serves to emphasize the missed context of the social web as an essential contributor to business strategy, not just marketing or communications strategy.
This is because no other mechanism provides so great a level of market insight and feedback, on such a scale, so close to real individuals. Hard data are difficult to refute or ignore. Organizations need to move away from using social tools to measure sentiment or allegiance, towards using social to analyse and understand their markets.
This is as strategic as it gets.
Markets are complex. They consist of customers, prospects, competitors, influencers, opportunities, challenges, regulators and a broader backdrop of public sentiment. The social web provides hundreds of thousands of real-time radar signals on the state of any given market across all of these contributing inputs, all mapped to individuals.
So it makes sense – or should – to place social at the centre of business strategy, strategy development, market development, business process reengineering and business reorganization.
And this makes most sense when social data are mapped systematically at the strategy development phase (early data and insight inputs into thinking, planning, testing, development) and at the strategy implementation phase (testing, feedback analysis, market testing, programme management). This introduces a new strategic focus to the social web that transcends its historic position as a new way to connect people.
By analysing these inputs and the resulting social media outputs from the hundreds of thousands of individuals using the social web every day, organizations can consider and decide upon the actions they need to take.
That’s tremendously powerful, for a number of reasons: a gap in the inputs to strategy development is closed; the organization is drawn closer to its markets, and more importantly to what resonates with those markets; when developing markets and products, insights into opportunity size and market preparedness are grounded in real-time data – assumptions can be tested and discarded in favour of real insights; risks can be assessed and then continuously monitored with a new set of data inputs coming from a new perspective; and employee sentiments can be assessed when considering company reorganizations.
This also makes organizations accountable to shareholders and other stakeholders.
In short, it’s time for social to be contributing to every aspect of business strategy development, in understanding and knowing which services, products, sales development initiatives, customer service initiatives, and employment initiatives should be considered.
In short, it’s now time to remove the ‘lite’ from ‘strategy lite.’