START SMALL AND SCALE: WHY PROOF OF CONCEPTS ARE SO IMPORTANT

By Curtis Schmidt, President & Chief Growth Office, RAPP MENA. 

Managing the concept of change

Frequently, executive management focus on conceptual best-in-class customer experiences – both online and offline. It is necessary to have a vision articulated and socialized within the organization as to where the company needs to go, but the reality is most businesses do not function, and/or are not constructed in a way that can deliver advanced digital experiences that lead to measurable return on investment. The reason why measurable return on investment is part of the critical path to success is because it triggers executive buy in for long-term change, i.e. budget allocation. When entering discussions about large-scale marketing / service design programs that delivers personalization, I often encourage the need to discuss organizational challenges openly and honestly, and off the back of that discussion, action plans for transformation.

The importance of testing

Ultimately, if a business is facing organizational transformation, and the executive team needs to be won over, the path of least resistance is through a pilot project (or proof of concept) that can be tested in isolation, that reflects the larger change needed to get the organization past the ‘tipping point’ of change. The success of these pilots needs to be confirmed by measurable performance indicators, best assigned by the decision makers skeptical of such endeavors. The team leading the charge for change need to do some upfront homework and organizational reflection on what ‘guiding principal questions’ need to be honestly asked and answered to help identify what matters now for the business, to better build for tomorrow. Three broad fundamental topics should be addressed when devising a strategy that looks to create value with every individual’s experience with your business/brand:

Data driven content: What is the quality of your data (declared, inferred), and how can this data be used to drive personalized engagement? Can your user and/or customer data help identify segmentations within your database that help brief the content and creativity you require?

Tech investment: Does your organization invest in technology and how does this span the organization – i.e. what departments are involved/contribute, and how is budget allocated? Are the right conversations being held for healthy sustainable tech investment growth, and is it actually happening?

Operations: If you have the right data and technology in place, does your organization have the processes and capabilities in place to deploy scalable growth for personalized experiences?

Data and content, tech investment, and operations need to work in harmony to deliver digital experiences that meaningfully contribute to bottom line growth and ROI.  When forming your strategic digital narrative that explains your ambitions for your business/brand moving forward (the what, the why, the who, the when, the how), I recommend including a part of the business, or segment within your consumer group, that can test the new service design, or experience. This would take the form of a pilot, that ultimately would look to prove that any investment made is the right one, and how this can then be scaled into the wider business for greater return.

Start small, then scale. Crawl, walk, run…..

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