Are You Facing A Digital Disadvantage?

business strategy word on digital screen, mission control The advantages of the digital revolution are clear to see. You can reach more people, more quickly, more cheaply than ever before. You would think, therefore, that most businesses would be rushing to digital. The fact is, though, most business are not.

Recent research shows, for instance, that only just over half of small businesses have a website. Some 47% of businesses in the digitally advanced USA have yet to get a website. Considering the first website went live 23 years ago, you have to wonder why are they waiting. Even big firms, like those on the Forbes 500 list are still waiting for some aspects of digital activity with around a quarter of them yet to do anything with social media. Even in the marketing sector, where you would expect lots of digital strategy, less than 10% of companies have employed content producers – a key role in digital. Wherever you look for data, it appears that the digital world is only being tentatively touched by most businesses.

However, there are clearly some companies which have understood the power of digital and what it can achieve. Research conducted five years ago showed in an analysis of the world’s Top 100 Brands, those that were doing best as a result of their use of digital were mainly high tech firms, such as Microsoft and Google, or they were retailers like Amazon. Indeed, most other sectors at that time were losing money as a result of not having a strategy that was focused on digital.

Now, new research shows that the high tech and retail sectors are still leading the way digitally, with other sectors essentially still “playing at it”. Worse still, the study found – just like the research from five years ago – that the digitally focused firms are increasing their profits at the same time as companies who are digitally behind the times are losing profits. This is the second major piece of research which confirms that a strategy based around digital results in more profits. Indeed, the study found that digitally based companies increase their profits from their physical assets by 9% over those companies that are not digital.

Whichever way you slice or dice the data, it confirms – once again – that the sure strategy for a profitable business is one based digitally. Companies without a digital focus are gradually losing out. Bit by bit the digital world is eroding their business and their profits.

It all suggests that if your business strategy is not centred upon a digital future, your business may well not be in business in that future.

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I am an Internet Psychologist studying how people behave online, enabling businesses to find out more about customer and consumer behaviour. I am the author of "Click.ology: What Works in Online Shopping" and 28 other books.

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