Digital Disruption: Remove Fear and Embrace the Opportunity
I was in a meeting the other day and the topic of digital disruption came up. The person I was meeting with described it as something that should almost be feared, which surprised me. I dove deeper into why he felt this way, what I learned was it was a response to some media-driven content that he was exposed to. So, I want to share with you how I explained digital disruption as an opportunity for him.
“Digital” is not a thing—it’s just as much a part of our lives as going to work, figuring out what will be for dinner, or getting an education. Sure, you can live without all of those, but when technology is leveraged these things become much easier. “Disruption” is not a negative either—in fact, it’s a positive meaning there is another way to do something. Digital disruption is simply the emergence of technology and business models that change the fundamental expectations and behaviors in an organization or market. It’s an unstoppable force and to fight it only guarantees, you will lose. Think about what happened to Kodak after digital cameras or what Uber and Lyft did to the taxi industry.
Disruption isn’t about “the way we have always done it,” it’s about imagining what couldn’t be done before is a reality now, and then making it happen. Disruption is about collecting data that you can’t imagine how you are going to use, identifying trends, and inventing something new or defining a problem that the market didn’t know they had. It's innovation.
Technology is needed to run businesses efficiently, to compete in a highly competitive market, and to simply survive in today’s market. Technology and data are not “add-ons” to your business, they’re core aspects just as important as the financials. Though, if you look at many of the start-ups, one could argue that data and users are more important because of the revenue potential. But that’s a topic for another day.
Most businesses don’t want to just survive. They want to thrive. To be a thriving business means your team has access to the resources that they need when they need it; your clients can easily get the answers that they want when they want them; and, it needs to be easy to do business with you.
Brands have talked about this “in theory” for years, some admitted to feeling the impact from competitors. Some businesses have been proactive instead of reactive. Disruption became a reality when COVID-19 suddenly hit. Every organization—for-profit, nonprofit, government agency, and education all had to rethink long-held practices and processes. It changed every fundamental aspect of our lives, such as how and where we work, shop, teach, learn, live, and socialize.
The reality now is, you can and will be put out of business if you don’t embrace technology and become data-savvy.
Your Team Needs Access to Resources
Working remotely was once considered an employee perk. Now it’s a requirement that isn’t going away. According to a survey from 451 Research, two-thirds of organizations expect expanded work-from-home policies to remain in effect long-term or permanently. The same research shows that almost half of all companies expect to reduce their physical office space.
I once worked with a company that believed in doing everything “the old-fashioned way.” They believed this was safer, would build better relationships with the market and their clients. In reality, all it did was increase their risk unnecessarily, create brand inconsistency, and caused severe delays in being able to provide value to their clients.
Your Clients Need Easy Access to the Products and Services, and Answers that They Want
According to the 2020 Fortune 500 CEO survey, more than 75% of CEOs said COVID-19 will accelerate digital transformation and introduce new technologies. Companies who had an omnichannel strategy to deliver their products, services, and support are fairing far better than those that are now having to create it. This is the whole “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” wisdom.
Remember, when you are adding in digital purchasing of your products or services to make it easy for your clients. They should be able to easily find and understand your offerings. Make sure to reduce the number of clicks to check out as well. I once worked with a company that was dependent upon online sales. Their website was dated and not user-friendly. It took five times as many clicks to purchase the same offering as their competitor who had comparable prices and a user-friendly site.
Let’s not forget about the security concerns that also need to be factored in. Then there is support. Where and how can your clients contact you with problems or questions that they have? Maintaining responsive support goes a long way in building client relationships and helping them to feel valued.
It Needs to Be Easy to Do Business with You
A shiny logo or clever tagline will get a prospect to look at you, but it rarely is the only thing that converts them into a client, and then a repeat client. For success in today's market, competitive differentiator is client data. There is no such thing as too much data. There is only we don’t know how to use it, yet.
The balance of power has shifted to clients in a profound way, and personalization has become a critical differentiator. Clients seek fulfilling experiences with the companies they do business with. If they feel they are not appreciated, they will not hesitate to click on competitors’ websites.
Client data allows you to have the ability to create your client experiences as relevant to the individual prospect as possible, regardless of the channel. Or in more simple terms, it allows your client to feel like you are talking directly to them. A personalization strategy is a data strategy and the most important questions are, how connected are you with your client, and more importantly, how connected do they feel to you?
Companies that are not embracing this are finding that their client bases are eroding as data-savvy competitors are able to offer cheaper and more personalized brand experiences. There is no better way to deliver a superior client experience than through personalization.
Companies that are embracing client data and analytics are seeing greater returns and are likely to be disruptive leaders within their markets. How are you going to be disruptive?
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