You may have heard the term “Digital Darwinism” permeate discussions about the changing landscape of business today. Now, companies that were once synonymous with leadership in their industries are either long gone or struggling to keep their doors open. Beloved brands like Kodak, Borders, and Blockbuster all serve as cautionary tales of those who didn’t do enough to foresee the digital change going on and take action, resulting in their decline. Indeed, digital has caused entire industries like publishing and media to be completely upended, while others like finance and retail are going through dramatic disruption.
Businesses in every industry are now finding that they also must digitally transform themselves to keep up with modern customers’ needs and expectations. Those who do not embrace this digital future will inevitably become extinct. Now, countless young start-up companies from outside your industry are rising to the top with innovative digital ideas, entrepreneurial energy, low barriers to entry (thanks to digital), and a customer focus. This is the perfect storm that can threaten your business—unless you take the steps to evolve.
Think of digital all-stars like Uber, Simple, Athos, Instacart, Acorns, and Ally. They are quickly grabbing the attention of modern consumers as they find innovative digital ways to provide new value to customers and fulfill their needs. If your business isn’t responding to your customers’ desire to interact with you through social media, mobile devices, or whenever and however they use cloud technologies, you will lose your position in your marketspace to a business who does.
So, what do you need to know to not only survive, but thrive and grow as digital products and technologies now dictate whether companies evolve or go extinct?
Digital evolution is alive and well and is happening in every industry. iTunes changed the way you buy music forever. Netflix has dramatically changed how many of us watch television. Even retail stores like Home Depot are changing the way you shop by redirecting your in-store customer journey to a focus on a digital experience using your mobile phone. By also delivering an optimal online and mobile experience to those who are not in-store, Home Depot is carefully crafting a seamless journey across all their channels of customer interaction.
Do these changes mean that consumers have changed? On a fundamental level, no. Consumers still have the same needs. It’s their ability to meet those needs that has changed dramatically. Modern technologies like the SMAC stack – social, mobile, analytics, and cloud technologies – are being harnessed to help organizations engage customers, uncover insight about them from data, and instantaneously interact with them at their point-of-need. Think back to the examples set by iTunes, Netflix and Home Depot. Consumers don’t just hope to find the products and services they need easily and quickly with the touch of a screen or the click of a button—they expect it.
Your company now has two choices: Act fast and develop the digital products, services, and experiences you need to evolve, or go extinct as new competitors take your place.
Where do you start? As much as you are tempted to think about your product first, start with a focus on your customer. What are your customers trying to do? What are their pain points? How can you help them? Creating a customer journey map to illustrate your customers’ true needs, how they initiate contact with you, engage with your services or products, and build a relationship with you can be a great way to help you begin to answer these questions. If you can completely understand your customer’s motivations in interacting with your business, it will help you develop the right innovative products, services and experiences to give them what they need, when they need it, and thus enhance and solidify your brand amid today’s digital landscape.
Want to learn more about how you can evolve and avoid digital extinction?
Check out this recording of our recent webinar, “How to Avoid Extinction in the Age of Digital Darwinism.”