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Digitally mature companies outperform their competitors. To survive in the digital-first era, you need to first assess your digital maturity before growing your digital capabilities. In this post, we unpack the five stages of digital maturity and explain how you can progress from being a Digital Resistor to becoming a Digital Disruptor.

A lesson from the Luddites

Those who stay behind get left behind. Take the Luddites, for example. The Luddites were a 19th-century movement of weavers and textile workers known for sabotaging newly introduced factory machinery. This machinery worked faster and more cheaply than anything before and the Luddites simply couldn’t compete.

And yet despite their resistance all those years before, I’m writing this post while wearing a machine-stitched jumper. There’s a clear lesson to be learned here.

Why digital maturity is the key to competing

Digitally mature companies are three times more likely to enjoy increased profits and business growth compared to their less mature competitors, as this Deloitte study shows. While digital maturity is critical to growth, BCG research reveals that embracing digital solutions greatly improves your ability to adapt to market changes. Clearly, your digital maturity is the key to competing.

But what is digital maturity?

As we discuss in our beginner’s guide to digital maturity, digital maturity refers to how capable an organisation is at implementing digital processes and strategies.

Often companies waste their money investing in digital tools that go unused or aren’t fit-for-purpose. That’s because digital maturity isn’t just about building the shiniest tech stack — it’s also a measure of how digitally capable your teams are.

By influencing company culture and overseeing digital maturity initiatives in their departments, your stakeholders have a powerful impact on expanding your digital capabilities. Without their support, your digital transformation projects will likely fail. Learn how you can use your stakeholders to drive digital maturity.

Another aspect of becoming more digital mature is understanding where your customers fit into the picture.

Digital maturity affects your customers

Consumers are increasingly using digital channels, ranging from social media to video content, to find products and engage with organisations. This leads business leaders to ask themselves — “What digital solutions have we adopted to meet customer expectations? And what digital steps do customers take to buy our brand?”

To help you answer these questions, we’ve created a guide on the five different digital maturity stages.

In this guide, we unpack an array of digital solutions to improve each step of your customer journey. Imagine that an organisation with low digital maturity is developing an SEO strategy for the awareness phase of their customer journey. Their solution involves a once-off project that focuses on five keywords. In our guide, we provide a roadmap that this organisation can use to improve their awareness stage SEO. After reading our guide, this organisation sets new SEO goals; they’re going to identify a wider set of awareness-stage keywords that they’ll target through blog posts.

As you become more digitally capable, you unlock more digital solutions. So each step taken in your digital journey better positions you to meet customer expectations.

What’s your digital maturity level?

Assessing your digital maturity level is the first step to identifying where you are on your digital transformation journey. Here we share an overview of each digital maturity stage, starting with stage one; the digital resistor.

1. Digital Resistor

Digital Resistors only use digital tools out of necessity. Their teams aren’t positioned to make the most out of their tools and they’re certainly not empowered to push for greater digital transformation. At this stage, many departments struggle to collaborate and data is generally mistrusted.

From a customer’s perspective, Digital Resistors haven’t developed any strategies to cater for most phases of the customer journey. This includes a distinct lack of problem-focused content, no keyword strategy to attract interested parties and a website that provides no conversion points for those not ready to buy. As well as failing on the content, website and SEO fronts, Digital Resistors have no automated processes, such as integrated invoicing or email nurturing, remarketing, so their response times lag behind their competitors.

Moving out of the Digital Resistor stage is crucial to business sustainability. To help organisations on their journey, we’ve written five steps to improve your company’s digital maturity.

2. Digital Explorer

Despite making a profound step toward becoming Digital Disruptors, Digital Explorers suffer from inconsistent and poorly integrated digital solutions. These organisations find it difficult to justify software spending, so software is adopted on an ad hoc basis.

That said, data collection and analysis is ramped up at this stage and processes are becoming standardised and then optimised. Digital Explorers also begin building product awareness and attracting customers through blogging and external platforms like YouTube. To upsell customers, these companies might build unique chatbots for each product.

3. Digital Player

Digital Players are digitally consistent but not truly innovative. These organisations are always planning their next digital steps and they benefit from integrated software platforms that track their performance.

Digital Players have made a big leap in many areas. Their customer service teams, for example, use CRM tools to gain a clear understanding of the needs of individual customers. Also, tools like automated email campaigns have been introduced to win back lost prospects, and custom chatbots are tailored for each buyer persona.

4. Digital Transformer

This is it — the first step above the competition. Digital Transformers provide world-class digital experiences that are directed by A/B testing, content strategy, SEO, data-informed sprints and a high degree of personalisation.

These organisations have an innovative solution that caters to nearly every detail of the customer journey. A key step, Digital Transformers can unambiguously attribute the successes of their marketing efforts and they’ve bolstered their software with applications that are actively used. Furthermore, customers can easily solve their problems through self-service (through knowledge bases and chatbots, for instance) or they can buy your products through your e-commerce partner websites.

5. Digital Disruptor

The butterfly stage of your digital transformation. Digital Disruptors have moved from weekly monitoring to daily monitoring, helping them leverage their data streams for impactful real-time optimisation and decision-making. They also invest in innovation and integrate machine learning and AI into their automation.

One of the biggest factors separating Transformers from Disruptors is evolving beyond A/B testing to use multivariate testing — this adds additional variables and complexity to each test. Multivariate testing applies to a range of use cases including testing targeted and personalised emails to nurture leads.

Progressing through the digital maturity stages

We’ve learned from the Luddites that keeping up with technology is key to staying competitive.

For businesses today, that means developing your digital maturity. We’ve written about the steps you can take to improve your company’s digital maturity

Whether you operate a start-up, small business or large organisation, understanding what it means to be digitally mature, and implementing the appropriate solutions to achieve it, will instantly put you ahead of your competition and — most importantly — allow you to engage with the customers of tomorrow.

We’ve also built out a model for assessing your digital maturity and what you can do to expand your capabilities within each digital maturity stage. Download our guide to kickstart your digital transformation journey.

How digitally mature is your company? Find out today, Download our Digital Maturity guide.

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