If you’re looking to accelerate business and marketing performance, you should also be looking at your digital maturity. This begs the question of whether or not you know the maturity of your digital experience. If you don’t, we really hope this article provides value to you in terms of understanding what digital maturity is, why it’s important for success, and how to calculate it.
What is Digital Maturity?
Not to be confused with digital transformation, digital maturity is a multifaceted concept that speaks to an organization's ability to effectively harness the power of technology and digital channels to drive growth, innovation, and customer engagement.
At its core, digital maturity involves not only technological proficiency, but also a nimble culture of innovation and customer-centricity that imbues every aspect of an organization's digital operation. As organizations progress along the digital maturity curve, they become increasingly adept at leveraging emerging tactics, developing new digital products, and delivering personalized customer experiences that drive loyalty and trust. Ultimately, digital maturity represents a mindset and a set of practices that enable organizations to thrive in the fast-paced and ever-changing digital landscape to stay ahead of the curve in the face of rapid technological evolution and market disruption.
The Components of Digital Maturity
We often describe digital maturity as having two primary components: strategic planning and tactical execution. While conceptually this is quite broad, it helps to separate the difference between layers inside our business operations.
Strategic digital planning is the process of setting a clear vision and roadmap for an organization's digital adventure. This process involves a deep understanding of the organization's business objectives, target customers, and competitive landscape, as well as a comprehensive assessment of existing digital capabilities – not the least of which is also identifying where there may be gaps. Based on this understanding, strategic digital planning involves developing a time-boxed plan that outlines the key initiatives, investments, and priorities required to achieve the defined objectives. These plans are, by design, highly iterative and flexible, but are also designed to respond to evolving market dynamics and changing customer needs. Strategic digital planning is essential to achieving digital maturity as it provides a clear roadmap for the organization to follow and ensures that digital investments are aligned with overall business strategy and objectives.
This strategic plan then provides the foundation for tactical execution, which involves the implementation of specific initiatives and strategies designed to achieve the objectives outlined in the brief. As we move closer to the ground-level implementation, Tactical execution involves taking action on a day-to-day basis to drive progress and achieve specific digital milestones. Your business might be seeking more leads from your website. Or you might be desiring increased sales from a storefront. All of these business goals require a more tactical level of thinking to achieve.
Tactical elements, therefore, refer to the specific actions and strategies that organizations must employ to accomplish their digital objectives. These tactical elements are grounded in a deep understanding of customer needs and are designed to drive tangible results in the form of increased revenue traffic and conversion rate, improved customer experiences, enhanced operation efficiency, and the list goes on! While their efficacy varies from business to business based on your goals and capabilities, examples of tactical elements may include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content marketing
- Pay-per-click (PPC)
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- A/B testing
- Content personalization
- Search tuning
While a bit Butlerian (if you know, you know) in nature, emerging tactics may also include:
- Voice search optimization
- Generative artificial intelligence (AI)
- Machine learning (e.g. recommendations)
A lot of nuance exists in applying each of these items. Still, measurement and adjustment are critical to enjoying successful outcomes. Naturally, the next question in our pursuit of maturity then becomes, how can we measure both my strategic maturity AND the effectiveness of each tactic?
How to Measure Digital Maturity
Before going too much farther, head over to this digital maturity calculator and see what it says about your organization. When you step through this calculator, record the findings as a benchmark then set a reminder for yourself to do it again next quarter or a year from now. I’ve also included a lightweight standalone template in Excel that can help put pen to paper for tracking individual digital maturity dimensions over time. See below for more information:
If you need help finding a good place to start, ChatGPT or some creative Googling is an excellent starting point.
Maturity Scoring Template
I’ve used this type of scoring with many clients because it’s very lightweight and incredibly scalable. The dimensions (rows) are entirely definable by your organizations priorities and strategic planning. As a philosophy, it provides a framework to become intentional over time. This includes expanding your reporting metrics into other technologies or systems. For any small-team business user or marketer, reporting on growth over time becomes an excellent benchmarking exercise to report to leadership and board members. The visualization from the spider graph provides an easily digestible view of peaks and valleys and empowers a natural discussion surrounding strengths, weaknesses, and areas of focus.
Additionally, this reporting then naturally dovetails into some of the more nuanced reporting that comes with tactical execution. Connecting these dimensions to individual key performance indicators (KPIs), helps us drive down into that lower level of planning and execution that naturally becomes tactical.
Here is a breakdown of how to set up your KPIs and reporting methods utilizing Excel:
- KPI name = name of the KPI you want to measure.
- Maturity dimension = how does this KPI connect to your maturity model?
- Objective = what you want to achieve by measuring this KPI.
- Measurement method = how you will measure this KPI (e.g. Google Analytics, surveys, etc.).
- Target = target value for this KPI.
- Data source = where you will get the data to measure this KPI (e.g. Google Analytics, CRM, etc.)
- Frequency = how often you will measure this KPI (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly).
- Responsible party = the person or team member responsible for tracking this KPI.
- Action plan = what action will be taken in regard to the KPI. This includes mitigation if the KPI is not meeting the target (e.g. adjust marketing strategy, optimize website, etc.).
And here is how to keep a record of your KPIs:
**If a 1:1 on this resource would be helpful, find me on LinkedIn and we’ll find some time to chat about how this may be helpful for you.
I was working with a client recently who was struggling to achieve a conversion rate they were satisfied with on a lead generation form. As we start to qualify the problem statement attached to this business concern, numerous tactical considerations come to mind as we systematically break down where remediation might be appropriate. We explored topics such as:
- What is the current conversion rate?
- When did you start to notice a dip in conversion rate?
- Have there been any technical updates recently?
- What is a lead from this form worth to the business?
- What audience is this form intended for?
- Is it the journey or click distance to get to the form? e.g. are users not even making it to the page where the form is housed?
- Are users making it to the page but not filling out the form?
- Are users only partially filling out the form?
- What is the quality of leads being generated from this form?
On the surface, I don’t know what the immediate diagnosis is. However, with answers to some or all of these questions, we can start to decide how to recommend improving the conversion rate of this particular form and, thus, build value for the business.
Remember: you are only as good as what you’re measuring, but there’s no practical way to measure everything. Start small and prioritize. Do not be afraid to experiment when you are not seeing results.
Continuously Adapt Your Digital Maturity Strategy
Once you have set a strategic plan and put into motion some of the individual pieces, the final step is to continuously monitor and evaluate the performance of your digital initiatives. This involves regularly reviewing key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts and assess if they are achieving the desired outcomes. If they aren’t, take a step back and adjust your plan.
Based on the performance data, you can adjust your strategy and tactics as needed to optimize performance and achieve business goals. This may involve scaling up successful initiatives, discontinuing efforts that are not delivering results, or pivoting your strategy to adapt to changes in the market or industry. These decisions are meant to be made by the team.
It's also important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations in digital marketing and regularly evaluate new opportunities for growth and competitive advantage. This may involve testing and experimenting with new digital tactics or tools and incorporating new insights into your overall digital strategy.
By continually adapting, you can ensure that you’re staying ahead of the competition and driving sustainable growth and success for your business.
If you’re interested in learning more about digital maturity, listen to the “Lessons for Tomorrow Podcast: The Stages of Digital Maturity with Kentico.”
Learn More About Our Kentico Development Services
As a Kentico Gold Solutions, Quality Expert, and Hosting Partner, Americaneagle.com’s robust team of certified developers and marketers offer a full range of capabilities focused on providing results for clients in all of their online endeavors. Americaneagle.com has been a Kentico web design partner for over 7+ years with eight certified staff members that have completed 100+ project implementations. Together, Americaneagle.com and Kentico provide customers with a website solution that includes a robust, dynamic interface that also allows site administrators the necessary flexibility to easily management content.Looking to upgrade your existing Kentico implementation? Contact us to get started with your Kentico upgrade consultation today.