This might be the evidence you need to persuade your boss or client to invest in social media: A newly released study says “digitally mature” companies are more profitable than their counterparts.
The years-long study from Capgemeni Consulting and the MIT Center for Digital Business
looked at more than 400 companies and found that the ones that thoughtfully invest in social media and let it drive their business decisions “benefit from a considerable ‘Digital Advantage’ and demonstrate significantly better financial performance than their peers.”
In other words, it pays to use social media.
What, exactly, does “digitally mature” mean? According to the study’s authors, it’s based on two factors: “digital intensity” and “transformation management intensity.”
Apparently, it’s all about intensity—although really, it sounds a bit like word soup, so let’s explore what they mean.
“Digital intensity” refers to investing in technologies to “change how the company operates,” the study says. An example would be the high-end British fashion label Burberry, which has a robust presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. According to the study, the label coupled these sexier efforts on social platforms with a strategy of integrating the data it was collecting on a global scale.
Since adopting social media, Burberry has seen a profit boost of 21 percent, reports The Next Web
“Transformation management intensity”—the real doozy, jargon-wise—is really quite simple (in theory): It’s all about leadership that believes in digital and will work to drive transformation at an organization. Nike, for instance, built a digital division to corral and grow the many things it was already doing on social media.
The study noted that although many companies have leaders who believe in digital, they are also slow to adopt programs or else overly conservative. Basically, they don’t put their money where their mouths are.
Based on these two factors—“digital intensity” and “transformation management intensity”—the study slices the companies it examined into four quadrants.
Here’s how Business Insider
“‘Beginners’ have barely started, usually because they're unaware of the opportunities, ‘Fashionistas’ adopt the newest or sexiest digital innovations, but without a cohesive strategy or eye to maximizing business value, ‘Digital Conservatives’ have a cohesive vision, but are slow to invest in new technology, and finally, the ‘Digirati,’ who both invest in digital and integrate it with their whole organization.
These seem like fairly accurate categories, although companies certainly bleed from one category into another, as this chart shows:
And this chart shows the profitability of companies within each category:
Clearly, based on the study, it pays to have a well-developed and robust social media program. The problem is, reaching that point remains a challenge for cash and resource strapped companies, and those with leaders who still don’t see the benefits of social media.
Here’s the full study
from Capgemeni Consulting and the MIT Center for Digital Business.