Digital First: What’s in a buzzword

Originally, Digital First was born in the publisher world. Publishers like News companies realized that to survive they had to change their business model. Newspapers needed to go from controlling scarce amounts of information to a world where it is abundant on the web. In the meantime, advertisers have also adopted this buzzword to describe their change in marketing strategy.

Going digital first has been used to describe a switch in company culture that focuses on continuous learning. The rise of online platforms and networks have made it possible to observe user behaviour from the get-go and advertisers can adjust their marketing strategy accordingly. No longer do you have to launch a big budget campaign and hope for good results, you can just create small test ads, observe behaviour and only increase effort and budget where you already know it will work. While the whole market is praising this new approach to marketing, few have been able to implement it successfully. Because few companies realize that going Digital First is a change of company culture. Many attempts at making the transition end up a little half-baked or not at all.

Advantages of Going Digital First

Fail Fast

The advantage of going digital first is that marketers have access to performance data from the moment the campaign goes live. This gives businesses a lot of room to experiment before committing to larger scale investments. Failing fast and on a smaller scale allows you to start optimizing on the return from the get-go.

Cost Efficient

Digital is known to be a lot cheaper than most traditional media like print, radio & TV. So, not only does going digital first allow you to test multiple scenarios but it also allows you to do it at a much lower cost. Creating very targeted A|B tests on smaller focus groups will also contribute to lowering your media costs.

Data Driven

Because data is available very fast, businesses can get a lot of insights on their target group and how they are reacting. As a result, businesses that go digital first can make more informed decisions thanks to the fast access to their campaign data.

How to become a Digital First Company

  • Equip yourself for change. Going digital first is not something that will only happen in your marketing team. It is a complete change in company culture.
  • Plan, Implement & stay flexible. Take a moment to consider how your organisation will need to change to become digital first. What are the bottlenecks you expect to encounter? How will you overcome them? What are the quick wins?
  • Surround yourself with people that can help you. Part of failing fast is getting information fast. Reach out to your network, talk to other marketers in your sector that have had experience with going digital first.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Taking risks can be daunting. But without them you will not be able to fail fast, which will slow down your ability to adapt your strategy.