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The three core tenets or principles that underlie the DMI 3i methodology are initiate, iterate, and integrate. Simple words, perhaps, but what exactly do they mean in the context of digital?
The first thing is to initiate. When thinking about an initiation process it's all about going back to basics. What do your customers want from a digital journey? How do you deliver in a more compelling way to your customers through digital? And then how do we think about some of the first key steps that we have to put in place to be able to initiate and start up our digital strategy as a whole?
We can then take those foundations and then think about what are the key pillars or tenets that we need to start building out to be able to make something concrete that's going to add value for the organization, but importantly for the customer as well. When thinking about the initiation process, think about customer research. The key question you need to ask yourself is: how would my customer want to be spoken to, initiated by, through these various digital frameworks that I'm creating? So go back to the customer and think about it from their point of view. It may well be that you can go back to data that you've already got from your organization to understand exactly what are the key bottlenecks that are currently being faced by your organization. This can be a great starting point to see how digital can help overcome some of those key bottlenecks that you may face.
The other way to think about understanding what your customers are after is simply by going out and undertaking a research study with your customers. You can do this in two dimensions: it can either be a quantitative study or a qualitative study. It very much depends on the type of understanding that you're trying to get, which will determine the methodology that you use to be able to understand what your customers want. What is really important as part of the initiation process is to make sure that you start with the customer and then begin understanding and translating your customer research and view and insights into something tangible from a digital point of view. What are the building blocks that you're going to put in place to actually create a robust digital strategy?
One of the best things that digital gives you is the ability to iterate and pilot. So creating and initiating an initial skeleton framework of a digital strategy, and then actually putting it into real life or into the marketplace, is a great way of doing something called in-market testing. What's the benefit of in-market testing? It allows you to understand in real time what exactly and how your customers are responding to the various treatments or strategies, or tactics that you're putting into the marketplace. This gives you a real-life understanding of how some others respond to you if this was a normal business process. You can take the great things that you've learned as part of this iteration process but also start to tweak things that you don't think are working as well from a customer perspective.
Doing this on a small scale has a range of good benefits:
A good example of this is beta testing. A lot of organizations, such as Google, always beta test their products before they take them on to the market. Beta testing is a great way to get real-life experience and exposure to what your customers want before you launch your product. Now you've done that – you've created what you think is the best product for your organization – you then need to think about how do you take it from pilot phase into integrating it across the board.
Typically, people say moving it from pilot to BAU, or business as usual. How do you go about doing that? It's often far harder to get organization buy-in to what you're trying to do simply because it involves perhaps a rigorous level of change. So you need to start to build the business case for how this change is going to help your organization either gain commercial value or gain customer value. Gaining proof points of this at the iterate stage, is really important. Building up your data and proof points to show people that there is robust objective commercial value to what you're doing from a digital perspective will actually help you integrate that into your organization when it comes to it.
When thinking about integration you also have to ensure that you're sticking within the realm of integrating with existing systems – for example, existing processes and procedures. Also, sometimes – if it's radical change – you need to think about the cultural aspects of how you integrate your technological advancement into the organization as well. You're going to get is a holistic understanding across this entire methodology of initiation, iteration, and then integration.Back to Top
Ritchie Mehta has had an eight-year corporate career with a number of leading organizations such as HSBC, RBS, and Direct Line Group. He then went on setting up a number of businesses.
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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE
This module introduces the key concepts underlying the Digital Marketing Institute’s 3i Framework for selecting and implementing the best digital strategy for your organization. It provides an overview of the key components in an effective digital strategy, which are expanded upon in much greater detail in subsequent modules. It also covers different types of business strategies, the difference between a business value proposition and a digital value proposition, and the importance of robust strategic management to maintain a long-term strategy.