Talk to CEOs and CMOs these days and ask them what they are most concerned about, and I bet you “disruption” is somewhere in the reply. I’ve even heard that some organizations internally ban the word “disruption,” concerned using it will instill fear and therefore, paralysis.
But, won’t fear and avoiding/ignoring disruption cause even more damage?
If anyone should be leading the charge within the enterprise, it’s CMOs and their teams. First, though, we need to recognize what we’re up against. What exactly is digital disruption?
In his new book, Forrester’s James McQuivey explains that technological advances are creating opportunities for more people than ever before to meet more customer needs than ever before at lower costs than ever before –and that creates digital disruption. He writes:
“If people plus infrastructure equal disruption, then digital innovators plus digital infrastructure equals digital disruption. Massive digital disruption, at a scale and pace most are simply not prepared for.”
It’s time for marketers to move past the fear and confront digital disruption head-on. After all, disruption is a forcing function; companies can use it as the imperative to engage customers differently –and more effectively –across all interaction touch points.
As Shelly Palmer, author of Digital Wisdom: Thought Leadership for a Connected World, told me, we need to start thinking strategically about how digital disruption is changing the way we live and work.
“It took 30 years to connect the first two billion people to the internet. It will take less than seven to connect the next two billion,” he said. “Four billion people will live in a connected world in 2020. While no one can predict how disruptive this exponential increase in connectivity will be, we can expect to live in a profoundly different world.”
How will digital disruption impact your customers? Here are five key factors you need to consider:
Pace of innovation. Technology disruptions now occur at increasingly faster intervals. Does that mean consumers will be skeptical about anything “new and improved” as they anticipate an even better product on the not-so-distant horizon? Moreover, how will your company’s R&D compete in this fast-paced marketplace? Is our future filled with product launches to trumpet only incremental change?
Increased competition. As James McQuivey explains, “Digital disruption accelerates competing ideas even as it facilitates the entry of a previously impossible number and magnitude of ideas. The cumulative effect is devastating to any company operating under the rules of the prior century.”
Personalization of interactions. Big data analytics enable marketers to send customer communications that are more relevant, personalized and targeted than ever before. Our research shows that consumers welcome personalized offers, such as price-matching and loyalty points. Soon, they’ll not only welcome it, they’ll expect it. By using data-driving marketing, marketers can learn how to optimize their appeal to individual customers. (That’s the only way you’ll keep your competitive edge.)
Speed of interactions. For many, digital communication equates with speed. Just as consumers increasingly expect personalization, they also increasingly expect real-time interaction with brands. Remember how a handful of brands proved they could re-invent the customer experience within minutes during the Super Bowl black-out?
Integration. Without integration, you’ll never be able to unleash the full potential of digital technologies. First, you need integration to create cohesion across all marketing channels and platforms. (Consistent messaging builds consumer trust.) Second, integrated internal marketing functions help you better understand data patterns and customer interactions, while providing the visibility necessary to prove ROMI across today’s multi-channel campaigns.
Digital disruption may be messy, unpredictable and at times, overwhelming. But, it’s also inescapable, powerful and incredibly motivating. How do you plan to leverage digital disruption to enhance the customer experience and drive business value?
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