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Embracing the digital: Midmarket companies seek customer engagement, collaboration

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Embracing the digital:  Midmarket companies seek customer engagement, collaboration

New study reveals that midmarket companies haven’t fully integrated digital into their strategies – but want to.

A recent global study of C-Suite leaders by IBM uncovered a surprising fact about middle market companies: they may not be as digitally savvy as they'd like.

The survey of 300 midmarket C-level executive worldwide indicates that many middle market companies have yet to fully leverage the power of “going digital.”The good news is that they know it.

...more than half of midmarket companies say they lack an integrated digital strategy."For instance, more than half of midmarket companies say they lack an integrated digital strategy; 65% of the midmarket C-Suite business executives recognize that the lack of a cohesive social media plan is the biggest barrier to doing more in the digital space; and more than half of respondents cite the need to better understand how social media fits with other operational priorities, and how to measure its return on investment.

The study revealed an environment where technology has become the dominant driver of business change, and leaders are moving quickly to open up their organizations. As a result, business leaders are confronting an urgent need for deeper and more meaningful types of collaboration.

CMOs and CIOs lead the way

Midmarket CMOs want to put all the components of a strong digital strategy in place. These components include an increased focus on integrating cross channel touchpoints, analytics to capture customer insights, social networks to foster collaboration, and mobile and cloud to achieve advanced operational efficiencies and attract and market to new customers.

But the CMOs aren’t alone in their desire to create an integrated digital strategy. The majority of midmarket CIOs surveyed also say they aim to digitize their front offices within the next few years, as part of an overall effort to focus more on the customer experience. This digitization includes analyzing data generated from customer interactions via social channels and mobile devices, and identifying emerging trends.  

...companies which have successfully fused the digital and physical, including Big Data analytics, mobile and cloud, to achieve transformation were 26% more likely to outperform their rivals.Fusing the digital and physical; focusing on the customer and collaboration

The survey findings make abundantly clear the accelerating trend of fusing the digital world with the physical world, and the related emphasis on technologically-enabled customer interaction and collaboration with partners.

For instance, the survey indicated that companies which have successfully fused the digital and physical, including Big Data analytics, mobile and cloud, to achieve transformation were 26% more likely to outperform their rivals.

Further, analytics, mobile and cloud technologies will allow midsize businesses to tap into the social channels of influential customers who have a deep interest in their products and services. Engaging these digital influencers helps brands connect on a deeper level with current and future customers.

"Understanding what resonates well with these customers can bring valuable insights to the development of new products, services and promotions, enabling smaller businesses to break through in this challenging and influential segment," said John Mason, General Manager, IBM Midmarket Business. "Smaller companies which use their agility to place customers front and center in their ecosystem, embrace cloud, social and engagement marketing strategies could end up huge winners."

The study also indicated that, in an era of abundant connectivity and information, and ubiquitous digitization, the new economic environment favors transparency. 60% of midmarket C-level executives stated that they now look to partners who will have an equal hand in creating business value. Nearly 60% of those leaders also recognized the shift to social and digital interaction as an increasingly important way to engage across external networks. Nearly half expect to open up their businesses — bringing down barriers to extend collaboration inside and outside.

For the full report, click here.

 

 

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