Failing to evolve your business in an ever-changing consumer landscape is a recipe for disaster. The businesses that ignore adapting to technology are simply getting left behind. It doesn’t matter how successful you were in the past, or even how successful you are today, what are you going to do tomorrow to stay on the edge of the competition?
There’s no time to waste in the digital age. Keep reading for a guide to digital transformation and tips for getting your organization started.
Understanding Digital Transformation
First things first, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what digital transformation means. Without knowing what exactly you’re trying to achieve, you may never get there. As defined by CIO.com, Digital Transformation is the application of digital capabilities to processes, products, and assets to improve efficiency, enhance customer value, manage risk, and uncover new monetization opportunities. Now, doesn’t that sound more appealing than threatening?
The reality is, digital transformation is no longer optional, it’s necessary to survive in an increasingly real-time world. Fortunately, no matter how you cut it, digital transformation is good for business. It puts you ahead of your competition, increases operational efficiency and contributes greatly to the satisfaction of your customers. Simply put: digital transformation drives more revenue.
You can see digital transformation in all aspects of life today. Companies we engage with every day, from our internet providers, to our favorite clothing brands to home hardware, are embracing technology to offer relevant, and quite frankly superior, digital experiences. However, a lot of previously well-known businesses have fallen into oblivion because they ignored digital transformation.
Remember DVD rental store Blockbuster? Then, Blockbuster led its industry. Now, due to its inability or unwillingness to keep up with technological advancements, Blockbuster is no more than a meme. When streaming companies like Netflix began offering first mail-service DVD rentals and then digital streaming, the movie industry changed for good and the company is now worth $100B. I’m sure the brains behind Blockbuster wish they would’ve adapted to the needs and preferences of their digitally-savvy customers.
An example of a company that did adapt alongside, or arguably ahead of, its customers is Apple. A few years ago, iTunes was the leading music download platform back when iPods and music players were everyday staples. When Spotify introduced a subscription-based music streaming model, things changed rapidly. Now, purchasing music is mostly a thing of the past, and streaming platforms like Spotify and Amazon Music reign supreme. Unlike Blockbuster, Apple embraced the digital revolution. Launched in 2015, critics thought Apple Music would quickly be swept aside by its competitor Spotify. According to recent report from the Wall Street Journal, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Apple Music is growing at a monthly rate of 5% compared to Spotify’s 2%. It’s pacing to be the biggest player in the music streaming market as soon as this summer.
If you want to survive in the market today, you need to need to be memorable and the key to being remembered is offering an experience that is relevant and personal to every person who engages with your brand. Digital transformation makes this possible. Here are some tips to get started.
Digital Transformation Tips
When you see businesses like Amazon and Spotify changing the industry, you can’t help but think they got lucky or have a genius running the company. When in actuality, their success is much less based on luck or a lone genius, and more based on their commitment to innovation. You can learn from the success of other well-known digital shakers to supercharge your own business. Here’s how:
Commit to Change
If your business is stuck in the past, you can’t expect to move forward. You’ll need to make it a priority to stay on top of the latest technology, industry changes, and trends. Don’t be afraid of trying new things. Most importantly, embrace failure.
Look at Amazon as an example. Though you might recognize Amazon from its many successes, this company made it to the top in part due to its tolerance for failure. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos remembers one of Amazon’s biggest failures, the Fire Phone, which he says is one of the biggest product bombs since New Coke. It is these bold bets that gives the company its edge. What makes Amazon so successful is their willingness to better understand their market and evolve their product offerings accordingly.
Focus on the Customer
A lot of new businesses make the mistake of focusing on themselves and not the customer. Jason Bordeaux of marketing blog HubSpot says, “A positive customer experience not only results in making your customer happy, but it can also lead to additional revenue.” Embark on your digital transformation with a customer-first mentality. Investing in a 24/7 conversational interface so customers can always reach a representative with purchase questions or responding to customer feedback are two prime ways to improve your customer experience and increase customer satisfaction. Understand your customer wants and find new ways to reach these wants with your services and technology.
Anticipate Customer Needs
ExpertSure, a comparative tool for businesses, helps to process data and payments in an increasingly cashless society. ExpertSure, like many businesses, anticipates customers needs before they’re a reality. Amazon didn’t release Amazon Prime on a whim. It was based on their growing research showing how customers are more likely to make a purchase when they don’t have to pay for shipping. This kind of market research, coupled with your own usage analytics, is critical in finding new ways to remain relevant to your customer.
You can also be digitally transformative in your marketing efforts. The traditional ways of finding new customers have grown stale. Customers are becoming savvier to spammy, inauthentic ways of communication. They have grown to expect contextually relevant experiences with their favorite brands. Business to business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) marketing tactics are quickly becoming outdated. Today, Human to Human (H2H) marketing is yielding much better results, Larry Alton turned to Inc to discuss the shift in marketing to customers and shared, “They’re people with individual lives, unique situations, and very real feelings.” As counterintuitive as it may seem, machine learning is truly the key to delivering H2H experiences that help to foster real, authentic relationships with your customers.
These methods above will guide you through the initial strides of your digital transformation journey. When your people, processes and technology are aligned, you are sure to remain relevant and top of mind to your customers. Don’t think of digital transformation as a nuisance, think of it as your surest way to scale your business in the era of personalization.
To learn about how insight engines can support the launch of your digital transformation strategy, download a complimentary copy of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Insight Engines.