Bitcoin. It's not going away, but only growing. How? That's the exciting "TBD".
This podcast is an easy overview... and what you should know as someone keeping an eye on how the digital marketplace is shifting and impacting "business as usual".
For other information on the subject via Freakonomics, click here.
The Digital Marketplace - It's Changing Business. What To Do + Not Do (especially if Millennials matter).
What NOT TO DO: Dabble in digital.
With Millennials in particular, dabbling hurts reputations. Millennials can tell if you are a sophisticated organization or not. The most obvious way? By looking at your website or social pages to see whether it is reflective of the end user or the organization.
Most are still treating both as another communication channel where current marketing efforts repurposed online. The content falls flat, user functionality missing, and relationships building absent altogether. Storytelling about people's lives who are benefitting holds little value when its a tactic and not integral part of a brand's social mission or online strategy.
Unfortunately, the digital marketplace is not a highway to/from your website that becomes full of traffic with the right "look at me" ads (or content) strategically posted online. (If anyone in your organization says, "Just marketed online"... it's a clue more education is needed about how today's Internet environment works.)
The digital marketplace has actually become more sophisticated where information is power, brand currency is in people and their opinions, and the flow (and type) of information created determines growth or failure.
At the heart of it all?
Knowing consumers and what drives them, their needs and preferences. From there, it's a matter of determining how best to align your organization's greatest assets to meet those needs and preferences.
Digital, mobile, Apps... whatever you're thinking about integrating or calling it... going online is entering a new reality. A new era for your organization. There are many advantages and opportunities! Now the fun part is determining how to do so while serving your existing constituents (in particular Boomers and GenX who aren't going anywhere and definitely not using their devices to the extent of younger generations).
What TO DO: Invest in seeing the opportunity and let go of long-held systems in place of doing what works.
Digital IS a new business model that can benefit your organization ... that is IF you are willing to make the investment to do what works. That will be different for everyone so avoid out-of-the-box solutions. And please don't believe anyone that it's just about creating a new website or video content. Those are important tactics, but they become costly to fix if implemented sans the big picture or strategy guiding every decision.
Know that websites as digital brochures were okay when the Internet was new. But now they are phasing out. Consumers don't read or dig. So, it's all about creating a user journey online where your constituents get to what they need by one click or a swipe. (Easier said than done and requires knowing individual types of consumers, aka personas, who make up your constituent base.)
Based on your personas, you may actually need several smaller websites -- maybe a landing page or two OR a condensed site, called a microsite.
The point here is being open to think differently about how your present your organization and information is essential. What was is no more. Not everyone is not interested in the same thing about your organization or products, nor are they in the same place in life and everyone uses different tools to get their facts. So, the burden is on organizations to customize. Considering information structures (how we present information, data, make an argument for/against something) have changed, there's work to be done for most to align to people more effectively.
Awareness of this is shift is important so that investments made to update online infrastructure, content, social media tools, apps, team hires and special projects being defined for the organization avoid being experienced as inauthentic ploys by end users.
Let's not forget, thanks to digital technology and all the data it can offer about users and their preferences, and the automation it can provide and create greater efficiencies for team members in serving customers, marketing is now directly linked to ROI.. but only beneficial if the right investments, teams, and strategy are all in place.
To build on this last point and ensure your digital footprint not only brings people to you but also builds meaningful relationships where users want to come back, "going digital" is more than a marketing initiative. An organization and its leadership must be willing to take a step back and assess its "business" -- how best to align its internal team structures, technology, products, services, R&D efforts, assets, and even its culture -- if its goal is to be successful and create trust with Millennials and GenZ, who we know block advertisements and seek authentic brands who are transparent, customer-focused and invest in social good.
Whether you use Braintree Vault or not, that isn't the point. The point is:
(Insights in this post are in response to an Inc. article reposted on LinkedIn. All photo credits go to Inc.com.)
Interesting insights on the relationship between an organization's inner workings/operations and culture vs. it's external brand (...and the effectiveness of marketing that links the two).
If Millennials are important in your hiring strategy or building trust, Simon's observation is important to note.
He also provides an exercise in finding your "Why", which can be applied to understanding the value of your product/service or brand... according to others... as well as other interesting insights into sharing your value, effective meetings, and leaders taking ownership when things go wrong.
It's been my experience -- as a counselor, practitioner and client -- the daily list of "to dos" often get in the way of work that is important to be successful... tomorrow.
We're busy, behind in emails, and bogged down if not stuck in meetings all day. I get it and can be guilty myself. It's hard to prioritize when everything is a priority and teams are small. And, I understand how after achieving a certain amount of success or momentum, it's easy to double down on what worked in the past.
The only problem?
Like anything -- be it the food we eat, exercise we do, words we speak, goals we set -- what we do today shapes tomorrow. "Reactivity" has never been a successful strategy in business (or life). At best, it produces a leveling off. And, in today's fast-paced digital and social marketplace, actually can lead to your brand being seen as behind the times and/or ineffective.
Mobile technology is not bound to any particular industry. In fact, it is creating new business models (and competitors) in every industry.
Think about it. The "Amazon Effect" -- delivery and pricing are leading to big brands, stores (and malls) to down size or close altogether. In the mix: Sears, Macy's, JCPenny, JCrew, Kmart, BCBG, Gymboree, American Apparel... the list goes on.
This isn't a trend. Mobile technology is changing the business landscape.
You can argue these are consumer retail brands. You can argue it's a brick and mortar issue. But it's neither. And don't forget, many of us traditionally point to these very brands when saying they have the big budgets to do what works in terms of innovating or marketing.
So what's happening?
For one, mobile = all about relationships with and serving consumers. It's about the way they are now looking at information, making decisions, and what they deem valuable. It is less about having a mobile friendly website and posting content. It is more about how an organization aligns its best assets to its constituents in ways that matter and add value to them. (Period.)
Look at Warby Parker (eye ware). They are a digital company who, because of its success, is now moving into brick and mortar real estate. So shopping in stores isn't going extinct. They grew from an idea into a multi-million dollar business despite experts scoffing at their vision. It's a result of their formula of offering quality, an experience in how they interact with customers, and giving back.
And there's the Lyft and Uber. They've empowered a second career for many. Only requirement - owning a car and a valid license. This is hurting traditional cab companies, and now Uber is expanding into food and delivery services. So why didn't the traditional companies think of this first?
It's probably the reason most of us don't see what's right in front of us... we are operating in ways that reflect the past. Lyft and Uber, on the other hand, have the advantage that they are thinking consumer-first as the way to run their company, apply the technology, and grow their business.
Associations, as well as traditional BtoC and BtoB businesses, alike are impacted by this change in consumer decision-making.
Maybe ironic, but this change within the marketplace has less to do with the technology itself, but rather about the "people" on the other end of business: customers/members/constituents (including employees).
That being the case, mobile IS the changing the way consumers research and make decisions; how they want to be treated; and what they find valuable. They care about being heard, engaged as part of a brand's DNA (even part of the R&D process), and want less advertising. In its place: a two-way communications where transactions are replaced by an ongoing relationship. (This is especially if Millennials or GenZ are on your ideal customer list.)
Think about how that impacts:
Mobile-friendly websites, advertising and regularly content posts are only a piece of the whole equation in approaching the digital marketplace successfully.
The good news: the answers and opportunities lie within each organization. And, those who can re-envision their future and do so in a way that moves away from the traditional ways of thinking, operating, marketing and leading, will stand to make the most gains in the next two to five years.
One way I work with clients to discover the potential: Expand the traditional SWOT analysis to look beyond your peer organizations. Look outside your industry and from your customers' POV. You'll be surprised what is right in front of you.
This is the Gokotta Group's blog.
It is the place for us to make note of changing times, new ways of thinking, and provide examples of how greater impact is being created. It's also a spot we can focus on people. And, occasionally, showcase the type of projects the Gokotta team supports (see "Case Studies" below).