7 takeaways from #DigitalSF

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the #DigitalSF Conference. It was a gathering of all sorts of brands and organizations trying to move their way forward using digital strategies.

Here are my high-level takeaways.

1. Having a clear brand and values is essential. If my cause is going to have a global influence, we must strengthen our message, simplify our offerings and deliver on our brand promise. Having a clear global brand will be essential to the strength/impact of the global organization in the next 20 years.

2. In order to lead transformational change, there must be an intentional allocation/investment of resources in digital. In my context this means challenging top talent into this area of the organization.

3. Understanding the customer and their journey/interaction with you is essential to understanding purchasing and long-term engagement. In my context, there is much to be learned by developing processes around common language understandings of someone’s faith journey, how a volunteer deepens their engagement with us and how donors are acquired and developed.

4. Organizations must develop roadmaps to internally get themselves organized in digital and be clear about what they intended to do in the next 6-18 months to drive business value in the bigger picture of what an organization is doing. In my context, there is a need to have a direction setting digital roadmap that will drive the organization forward in a number of field-oriented and operationally-oriented digital opportunities.

5. “Without data, all you have is an opinion.” Defining and rigorously measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) and every piece of data available is increasingly essential to tweaking strategies in real-time. A/B testing, CTRs and analytics are par for the course. In my context, this means getting serious about our stewardship of resources, especially in allocating resources to digital projects that are actually doing well in our KPIs and contributing to our mission in a measurable way.

6. Digital change is not about the technology. This was reiterated over and over again. It’s about having good strategies and getting people, processes and technology aligned together. This is primarily about leadership, not technology.

7. There’s hope. I watched major brands humbly admit they don’t have things figured out. The consensus was that digital technology has fundamentally changed today’s current reality and we just need to keep trying things to make progress.


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