Have you ever noticed how many successful modern businesses don’t just sell to their customers or clients? Instead, these businesses create a relationship and community around their product, business, and brand.
This community is often created and nurtured by using platforms and a well-formed platform strategy. In this article, we’ll look at what qualifies as a platform and how your business can create a platform strategy.
What is a Platform?
In its most basic form, a platform is a network or environment that creates connections between individuals. Users of the platform can connect with one another to exchange products, information, or services.
Platforms have existed for a long time in some capacity. For example, a newspaper could be a platform because it creates a network for businesses to advertise services to customers and for customers to collect local information.
Today, businesses can create new platforms or use existing platforms to not only reach their target audience but also build relationships with them. The community built by a platform is essential to the platform’s success. The more members join a platform, the more information, products, or services can be exchanged.
What are Digital Platforms?
A digital platform is a type of platform that exists online. Most are run by a single company or organization creating the online platform. Digital platforms include basic features like product sales or information exchange. These features are designed to encourage users to join and participate. User interactions drive the growth of digital platforms.
These online platforms have seen a rise in recent years. The success of digital platform models means experts expect digital platforms to stick around long into the future. Community is even more important in a digital platform than non-digital platforms. If no one’s on the platform, there’s no reason for new members to join.
Social media platforms like Facebook, e-commerce services like eBay or Amazon, and service applications like Uber or Airbnb are all digital platforms. They’re successful because users continue to join and exchange value with one another. For example, Uber wouldn’t generate income or provide value if only a few people used the app.
What is a Platform Strategy?
The basic idea of a platform won’t do much to improve your business on its own. To leverage a successful platform, you need to create a platform strategy. Your strategy should help drive users to your platform and encourage participation between users.
Even the best platforms can fail if your strategy doesn’t showcase the value of the platform. This value is what first brings in new users. These users bring in new value, which in turn attracts even more users.
What is a Digital Platform Strategy?
Just like it sounds, an online platform strategy is a strategy created for digital platforms. A robust community is vital to the success of your platform, so your strategy needs to focus on driving valuable clients to the community.
Airbnb, for example, marketed their platform first to homeowners with extra spaces. If their strategy had focused instead on people looking for a place to stay first, they probably would have failed. Without targeting homeowners first, users wouldn’t have been able to find a place to stay — rendering the service useless.
You don’t have to create your own platform to successfully leverage a platform’s community. You can also use an existing online platform to connect with clients, provide value, and promote services.
What to Consider When Developing a Platform Strategy
You’ll need to consider several factors when creating a platform strategy for business, regardless of whether you’re building your own or using an existing platform. When developing your strategy, remember to think about:
- Integration: What other programs or platforms do you want to use with your platform? How will you ensure they work together seamlessly?
- Expansion: How will you use the platform to expand your business? Will you target new markets or offer new products and services?
- Partnerships: Are there other businesses you want to work with on your platform?
- Community Involvement: How do you plan to drive users to your platform?
- Agility: How will your business respond to changes in the digital platform landscape to keep up with competitors?
Creating a Successful Platform Strategy
Whether you plan to create a digital platform for your business from scratch or leverage existing platforms, a good online platform strategy is necessary for success. Creating and implementing a strategy on your own comes with a steep learning curve, though. You can avoid these growing pains by working with an experienced transformation firm like 5P Consulting.
We know the importance of a successful digital transformation. We’ve helped businesses replace outdated systems, automate processes, and change their mindsets through digital transformation. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about platform strategies and discover how we can help your business undergo a successful digital transformation.