Digital

Do you know how digital is affecting your business?

I know that, as a young professional myself, it easy to forget that digital business is relatively new. Even just 10 years ago, we were all on MySpace. Go back 20 years and my family was bringing home their first home computer. Now, as a society, we are responding to e-mails before getting out of bed in the morning and running businesses solely on an iPhone. Navigating the ever-changing landscape can be tricky with more competition, pressure from consumers, and the need for innovation.

Extraordinary Amounts of Data

The massive amounts of data being created every second by both businesses and consumers can be a pro and con when it comes to marketing your services and products. 

The advantage to this amount of data is that there is more you can analyze and use to curate your content. Consumers responding to surveys, liking and disliking posts, downloading apps, and sharing information creates an easy way to track what’s working and what isn’t. The key though is to start sooner rather than later. A  McKinsey article outlined why some digital marketing fails and others prevail, noting:

“Early movers embed information across their business model, particularly in information-intensive functions such as R&D, marketing and sales, and internal operations.”

The downside is that all this data creates a lot of noise with which we have to compete. This is forcing many companies to change their strategies on connecting with their customers. For many companies, this has meant creating new positions and, in some cases, whole new departments to keep up with competitors. According to Katrina Niemisto on Marketo, while larger companies may have bigger budgets, in many ways “Digital marketing closes much of the gap between large, medium, and small companies because it avails each level with many of the same resources.”

Radical Transparency

With nearly everything available on the internet companies have been forced to be more selective about where they get funding, whom they support, and how they represent their consumers. This Accenture article talks about viewing this as an advantage. Curating loyal customers based on brand initiatives can also create brand ambassadors. 

Consumers want to buy products they feel good about. They recognize that by purchasing a company’s products or services they are leaving themselves open to be judged by their peers. It has become more important than ever for company missions and consumer values to be aligned. This has been widely driven by Millennials who Forbes said, “Value authenticity, and make decisions based on the way they perceive brands to impact their quality of life, society as a whole, and how that brand may be contributing positively to the world.”

Expansive and Inclusive Creativity

While the competing amounts of data and pressure of company transparency can feel confining, it has led to a surge of creativity in product/service innovation and marketing techniques. 

Now is the time to do a digital business over-haul. A recent Medium article wrote: “Digitization must go beyond that of onsite software and siloed information storage to business apps that encompass cloud, social, big data, and artificial intelligence.” The article goes on to note the many advantages to finding the unique digital tools that can not only benefit your business but also relieve employees of the task to focus on innovation. 

Digital has in many ways automated our life and to take care of tasks that would otherwise take massive amounts of human capital. Re-purposing that time to focus on the areas that a computer cannot take over is key. I work in the financial planning space, and, while much of financial tasks can be automated, the relationship with the client cannot be replaced by a computer. 

What in your industry can be automated so that you can focus more on what cannot? Speaking with many entrepreneurs in the Nashville area, what cannot be replaced is their ideas and creativity. Often outsourcing tasks and finding apps that create more space for critical think time. Using all the evolving digital tools is key to keeping pace with the competition.