Playing your cards right

A wise man once said “The secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.”

OK, you may disagree with my choice of metaphor but bear with me.

As we proceed relentlessly through one change after another, how do you know which activities to invest in and which to leave behind?

It cannot be possible to “do” digital in all its hues and shades and still do everything that has traditionally been done.

Put another way, increasing media choice and fragmentation goes hand in hand with a decline in traditional media domination, rendering many activities poor value.

The difficulty is we are in new territory, with new and unfamiliar rules. It is virtually impossible to find relevant precedents with ROI.

I mean, if Rupert Murdoch can be intimidated enough to try charging for something that everyone else is providing for free, what chance have we?

Finding the right questions to ask is one way.

At a tactical level, can digital enhance what you are doing?

Can online activities get through to those hard-to-reach customers?

Can two-way dialogue add another level of engagement, or can new media convey your more complex message with greater impact?

Ultimately, certain objectives may be better achieved by moving to digital completely.

Thinking just about efficiency and effectiveness, though, isn’t enough.

It’s not just a case of doing things better, or even doing different things to achieve our goals. It’s about re-examining our goals.

The best manager I ever worked for used to say, “Challenge your assumptions”.

Aside from helping him win arguments (with me), it caused people to think differently.

Digital requires us to challenge our assumptions.

It was previously unfeasible to have a customer-initiated one-to-one dialogue at anytime from anywhere.

It was unfeasible to hold an effective ad board of 15 members without any of them leaving their city. Digital changes that.

It’s not necessarily better or worse, just different.

More than ever though, playing your cards right requires intuition, innovation and boldness.