Key steps for venues to get you started on your Digital Transformation journey
How far down the road are you, your venue, your business, on your digital transformation journey?
Have you started yet or are you still thinking about it? Do you even know what Digital Transformation is?
That may seem like a leading question(s) with a slightly negative bias being placed on the' thinking' element, inferring that you're nowhere but actually if you haven't started yet the thinking part is really important. The thinking part should take some time as well as some people. Not too long obviously otherwise you'll turn yourself inside out with thinking because there actually aren't any answers. It's a bit like Douglas Adams' novel Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In the quest for "The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is................42." That does have a certain ring to it when considering Digital Transformation.
For those of you who don't know of or can't remember the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, but who are on their digital transformation journey (can we please call it DT from now on because it's taking forever to type?), the answer to your quest is 42 - there is no answer.
So that slightly contradicts my earlier statement about spending plenty of time thinking about it but like all things in life, there needs to be a balance. Think about it, debate it, discuss it, read about it (a lot) but don't delay starting too long because just starting is better than thinking too hard about it because you might end up not doing anything.
The thing is, where do you start?
There’s a well-known joke about a tourist in Ireland who asks one of the locals for directions to Dublin. The Irishman replies: ‘Well Sir if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here’. Now, not being Irish, I can't tell that joke with impunity! Indeed, like some others in this category, it’s hard to tell whether the joke is actually racist since there is something of the ‘Wise Fool’ in the Irishman’s response. After all, if you want to get somewhere, then it’s better to start from a place where you have a good chance of reaching your goal.
So where DO you start your Digital Transformation journey?
Well, it's all about the data - obviously, so let's run through the checklist of your data sets:
1. Your sales data
Booked, lost, conversions, yields, month on month, year on year.
You'll get these from your CRM, venue management systems, heck, you might even still be running off spreadsheets (yikes. I put this in here because I know quite a few venues who actually do use spreadsheets as their main tool........seriously!)
2. Industry benchmarking data
Do you refer to any external benchmarking data?
Do you know if any exists? (it does)
To truly measure your business against the market it's always best practice to look externally and compare the numbers. It's all very well using your own data but how does that compare with your competitors?
With this in mind, we have devised the unique Venue Performance Report. Not only will you be able to understand how the market is performing but more specifically, how you compare against your competitors. Surely that's invaluable?
3. Your keyword ranking.
If you know your target. If you know what and who you're aiming at, then Google will be able to tell you how you're doing against that target. i.e. how you rank on search.
It's worth spending time on this because the answers are most definitely there and will provide you with another valuable set of data.
Keyword research can get a bit complex (the answers aren't always obvious) but it's not beyond the wit of most people to work it out.
4. Your competitor's keyword ranking
Just like benchmarking data - competitive keyword analysis is much the same. It's all very well knowing how YOU are performing/ranking but how do you compare with your competitors?
You can go quite deep here and do some really clever analysis to build up a good picture. Trust me, when you get into the detail, it's fascinating and will have you hooked. As well as being VERY valuable and insightful.
5. Search traffic (specific to your keywords) and trends
This is your web site/Google analytics traffic, including Google search console (GSC).
Google Analytics tells you what users do ON your site when they arrive.
(6). Google Search Console tells you how and why users visited your web site in the first place.
Think of your web site as a shop: Before entering, how did the user find you (search console) and when they entered, what did they browse and buy (analytics).
Clever folk (like us) can get even more detailed and do all of that Google analytics 'stuff' for your competitors. But let's not go there.....just yet.!
7. Social Media Analytics
If you're using Social Media (er...who isn't?) then this is the final set of data you would benefit from analysing. It's worth noting that Social Media has ZERO impact on your Google rankings apart from the fact that more visitors usually leads to better rankings but Google's algorithms and AI does not take into account any work you do Social Media. The same reason the BBC doesn't advertise on ITV and vice versa.
So that's 6/7 key sets and a lot of data. When you have all those sets, lay them all out on the table and stare at them for a while. Patterns and trends will emerge and answers will start to form - to questions you haven't yet asked.
Congratulations - you've now arrived at the beginning and you can start your journey.
My next blog will take you through the next phase and the next set of steps towards Digital Transformation focusing on Customer Insight.
If you've already started on your journey and have any comments to make, please do make them below. It would be good to hear about your experiences.