Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Oh the irony

Facebook is buying print ads to apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal

<insert punchline here>

Monday, March 5, 2018

Digital Transformation needs a mindset change

I believe that digital technologies are changing every industry. Or to put it another way, I've yet to meet one that remains unaffected. And therefore companies have quite rightly identified the need to reinvent their business models, products and approaches to just survive in an environment that is changing faster and faster each day.

Therefore just meeting the digital challenge (let alone trying to innovate ahead of it) means creating new ways to solve industry-wide problems in new ways... often with software rather than physical objects.

In other words.... organisations  now need to change their way of thinking as well as completely amend their investment in new technology, business models, and processes.

In my view this is the way they can truly create the most value for their customers (and employees) and therefore compete better in an ever-changing digital economy.

But just changing the skills needed for digital transformation isn't enough.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Forget advanced SEO fix the basics first

I had a prospective client approach me the other day about conducting what they called "advanced SEO tactics" for their site.
They had obviously read some SEO blogs and thought they needed to apply some clever technical (and in some regards... slightly dodgy / grey hat) practices in the belief that this would instantly give them a boost in their organic rankings.

Now its kinda hard to tell a client "no" who is keen on learning all about digital marketing, especially when their heart is in the right place. But in this instance the client hadn't implemented some pretty basic 'white hat' SEO techniques already, such as:
  1. Creating an XML sitemap (sitemap.xml) that updates regularly (e.g. daily) 
  2. Optimising all page titles
  3. Optimising all page meta descriptions*
*yes, I know that meta descriptions are not a direct SEO ranking signal for the main search engines and I hope by now you have deleted your meta keywords!

However I firmly believe that fixing and optimising these on-page factors.. allied with a decent approach to content creation, will have more of a long-term & quality improvement upon a site's rankings than the latest technical SEO ideas.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Do you live in the 'Bot-infested Badlands' ?

News Corp announced last week revenues of $2.18bn for the last 3 months of 2017. But aside from the 3% year-on-year improvement, the biggest headline grabbing phrase was reserved for CEO Robert Thomson describing the dysfunctional digital environment as "The bot-infested badlands".

This is clearly him positioning his brands as the quality online publishers and the opposite of the digital locations that are "hardly a safe space for advertisers, whose brands are being tainted by association with the extreme, the violent and the repulsive".


Monday, February 5, 2018

Define your Content Strategy

You hear the term banded about a lot these days, from PR companies through to senior managers in businesses... they all want to have and own your organisation's Content Strategy.

But what's your definition of the term Content Strategy?

Here's mine:

"A Content Strategy should aim for the creation of engaging and appropriate content that delivers improvements in the agreed Key Performance Indicators (KPI's)"

Those KPI's most often being:
- Increase online visitors & sessions
- Increase online engagement (most likely reported as a reduction in page bounce rates)
- Convert lookers to bookers (or into whatever your main commercial goal is)

What's yours?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Four Technical Pillars of Digital Transformation

There's no doubting that the path to successful Digital Transformation involves changes to: people (e.g.skills), processes, products (e.g. the creation or improvement of customer facing software) and proposition. The temptation is therefore to assume the technology will just "sort itself out" without an investment in thought, effort and finances. 

So what technology is now supporting the transformation to digital?

Here's my top 4:

The move to cloud
The use of online cloud-based services such as Amazon (AWS) and Microsoft (Azure) means that issues such as the hosting and the scaling of digital platforms becomes an on-demand Operational Expenditure (Opex) rather than a Capital Expenditure (CapEx) cost. With this high cost barrier now radically changed (as we create a shift from one column to the other on the Finance Department's spreadsheet), this means that demand and growth of online services are easier to deal with.

The digitisation of services
The conversion of the physical into software has been happening for some while. We've had digital media players and MP3 collections for many years now and you only have to look at how many of our daily tools are on our mobile devices, including: cameras, credit cards, health meters, maps, messengers and travel tickets. Now, with increased processing capability everywhere, what else can now move from being tangible to tap-able?

The creation and use of APIs
Organisations increasingly want simpler user interfaces that present and collate functionality and content from multiple systems behind the scenes. Your users don't care if your systems are having to pull together multiple source of data to present their online information in the way they want it, if you don't they will get frustrated (and consequently look to go elsewhere). Building Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for each software system  enables this flexibility by providing the means for others to remotely invoke your applications functionality in a system-to-system way.

The adoption of DevOps
As the speed and complexity of digital delivery increases, companies realise they must integrate software development and IT operations. DevOps is the newer approach to this, where continual deployment becomes the norm and the ability of your tech team evolves form just being able to create stable code, to also deploying this code to a stable managed (typically cloud) environment.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Stop thinking Digital Transformation is just a bolt-on


The next person I hear who states that "we are using online as just another retail / communications channel" or something similar is:
1. either getting a piece of my mind
2. a clip around the ear

You don't "just do digital" by bolting it onto your tired and outdated business processes that your company probably inherited from the 1950s. 

Yes digital is set of technology driven  business changes that you either implement or you more than likely fall behind. But just hiring a decent technology team to add something to your current ways of working just isn't going to cut it!