Digital guru Sonya Keenan chats with think business about the future of the digital revolution and the essential role it plays in the success of your business.

There’s no doubt about it, without a digital presence, businesses these days are going to struggle against their competitors who have moved with the times and embraced the technology. The good news is, it’s never too late to learn.

Just ask Sonya Keenan, brand strategist with Omnichannel Media Group (OMG). A self-confessed advocate of the digital movement, Sonya is passionate about helping her clients discover how an online presence can open up a whole new world for their business and bring them into the 21st Century

“I have been passionate about digital since we had dial up,” says Sonya, both of us laughing at the memory of how long it took to search the web. I remember making a cup of tea while waiting, how far we have come!

“The barrier used to be cost, you couldn’t afford the CRN system or the servers. Now you can subscribe to a system for $100 per month,” she says.

“When I was in the corporate world it would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement so it’s become much more accessible. We work with businesses who want to implement their marketing strategy to use digital to improve the productivity and profitability of the business.”

Sonya and her business partner Aussie icon, Deborah Hutton started OMG four years ago, when they discovered a gap in the market to help business owners who were looking to launch their business online.

“When you meet people in small business, a lot of them are a bit beaten up and reluctant to try new things but they know they have to move forward. My job is helping them to take that step,” says Sonya.

Too often companies talk about the product, they don’t talk about what’s in it for the customer.

“Whether you are a retail shop or online you still need digital, it’s how people find you now. If you are not online you are going to be irrelevant. It’s not that you have to be selling things online but you have to be seen online.”

Sonya and Deborah first connected when both were working at the Hyatt Regency Coolum, Sonya as sales and marketing manager and Deborah as brand ambassador.

“We were looking for a brand ambassador for the hotel and Deb’s name kept coming up. She represented luxury while still being down to earth and Australian,” says Sonya.

“We also share a love of golf, so we continued our friendship after I moved to Sydney with Mirvac and I continued to do some work with her before going out on my own five years ago.”

As fate would have it, the duo crossed paths again when Deborah’s life took a major change of direction. Not only did she turn the big 5-0, she was also diagnosed with skin cancer.

“So many people started contacting Deb after her story was told in the Australian Women’s Weekly asking her about her experience – how did she know, who her surgeon was, how did she cope, how she felt about turning 50, how she managed to be self-accepting?

“We realised that so many women 45-plus were looking at what was next in their life, how they could reinvent themselves after being at home raising a family or how they could find that elusive work/life balance so we developed a program called Balance, which brings together a team of expert coaches to help us unlock the key to a successful and happier life. What started as a website has now become a business in its own right.”

While Balance is the duo’s business to consumer platform, OMG was created as a business-to-business platform to help small to medium enterprise reach their full potential by unlocking their story and connecting better with their clients through content marketing.

“We created a model using the five Ps. Path – where they want to go? Purpose and Passion – what gets them out of bed every morning? Partnerships – what software they use, virtual assistants etc and Persuasion – helping businesses tell their story through their website, social media etc.

“My job is to get the business to understand what it is. Few businesses can give you the old elevator pitch. Once we have established the five Ps we work on FAB – Features, Advantages and Benefits. Too often companies talk about the product, they don’t talk about what’s in it for the customer. You have to have your story but you have to be able to listen to your customers too.”

Driving Sonya’s passion for helping businesses embrace the digital world is a love of learning and a desire to save her clients time and money while enabling them to achieve work/life balance.

“I believe being online enables us to learn in a way we were never able to before. I heard Steve Jobs talk decades ago about how the future of computing would be learning and I believe it 100 per cent.” she says.

“It’s all about you doing what you are good at in your business and hiring specialists to do the stuff you are not so good at,” she says.

“If you are a retail store and your light fitting blows up, you are not going to go on the internet and learn how to do it, you are going to hire an electrician. The same can be said for marketing.

“Digital is about allowing people to find their path to be able to do the thing they love that doesn’t feel like work. If they can take their passion and turn it into a purpose, they will be much happier.”