Businesses today are met with unique challenges and opportunities that necessitate pause. For years, management models were developed to optimize the pursuit of business objectives. Processes were established and hierarchies, technologies and reporting systems supported them. Everything was business as usual until it wasn’t.
Nothing is permanent. As in life, things change. And so is true in the world of business. The models and practices that have been taught for generations are tested in a time when customer and employee behaviors and resulting expectations are evolving without official study, strategy and systematic transformation.
Digital Darwinism: Survival of the Fitting
Technology permeated society to the point where the vast separation between professional and personal access was obliterated. And, the line between online and offline was forever obscured creating an always-on society with an insatiable appetite for consumption and connectedness.
Over the years, technology has impacted how everyday people communicate, share, discover, and learn. Some of you will read the previous sentence and think, “and yes, it’s completely ruined our society and we are worse for it.” Others will read it and continue without contemplation as the sentence states the obvious, “and?”
This divide reveals a stunningly under appreciated challenge facing any organization that hopes to survive in an era connectedness. With foresight, its clear that the situation before us is dire. It is how decision makers react now that either defines their destiny or seals their fate. In a world where Digital Darwinism rewards those who adapt as technology and society evolve, I believe many models governing how organizations are not only outdated, they reflect management’s vision in how it competes for the future.
With the barrage of digital devices, services, networks, apps, many organizations are merely reacting to trends with terminal skepticism or half-baked attempts to embrace new technologies and opportunities. In each case, what’s new is often interpreted or dealt with through the very perspective, methods and practices that contribute to business as usual.
“Wheel of Disruption” from What’s the Future of Business: Changing the way businesses create experiences
Social media, mobile, real-time, each has contributed to the digital lifestyle that everyday people, your consumers AND your employees, embrace as second nature. It’s not just a Millennial or a Generation Z thing…it’s everyone who uses a smartphone, a tablet, or any smart device. It’s someone who takes selfies and takes pictures and videos at every live event. It’s also that person who checks Twitter and Facebook each morning before email for mentions of their name and see what they might have missed. It is for all intents and purposes, you and me.
This isn’t about age; this is about a connected generation (Generation-C) and it represents a significant share of consumerism. Simply said, this category of consumers is different from the traditional customers and employees around which many organizations are modeled.
To reach them requires a different approach. To see them and the value they represent to an organization takes vision and a different philosophy. Instead however, most executives or decision-makers employ an “us vs. them” mentality. They see the world as they know it rather than seeing the world for what it is or what it’s becoming.
#AdaptorDie – Lead by example, don’t lead by following examples
Let me put this plainly...
Connected customers are growing.
Traditional customers are fading.
To compete for the future takes an investment in new philosophies and models where relevance and resilience become part of the corporate DNA.
Traditional management practices and the structures that support them are not only aging, they’re liabilities and competitive disadvantages. It’s not just today’s competitors who will realize that connected consumers are a different breed. Unforeseen competitors, some that may not even exist today, will see what it is that you do not to change market direction, and as a result, take market share.
This is a time that requires great introspection and empathy. This is a time for leadership.
The goal now is to open our perspective to explore a world that we do not know in order to lead our organization in a direction of greater relevance. We must discover what is truly is valuable to Generation-C, why, and how to use these insights to inspire more desirable products, services, and even stories and messages. The next step is of course to bring them to life through new processes, systems, and directives.
This is why I believe that the future of business takes leadership not management. Executives, employees, and other stakeholders or shareholders who do not share in the desire to earn relevance with a different customer is standing in the way of progress.
Born Digital – We are the Champions
Well-meaning decision makers don’t know what they don’t know. As such, they will need a little help and this is an opportunity for champions who believe in the need for organizational transformation.
The case for change won’t be won by new technology alone. It’s not social, mobile, or real-time that presents the answer in of itself. It is the affect they have on consumer behavior that matters. Attempting to convince anyone of the need for change should never include mentions of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, iPhones, iPads, et al. These are means but not a means to an end. What’s required is an understanding of market trends and impact, missed opportunities versus actual short and long term losses, the balance of connected vs. traditional consumerism, and a better understanding of how innovation in the product roadmap will prevent disruption while disrupting others through innovation.
Technology is merely an enabler…and a powerful one at that. But without vision, purpose, direction, or meaning, new channels are the conduits for old reasoning and convictions. Without understanding technology and its relationship with behavior, without aligning a bigger mission or vision with what we are trying to do — something that is going to matter to people — we are just managing businesses the way we always have. We are not moving in any new direction.
This is a time to lead the next era where ideas are “born digital.” Rather than discount how, when, and where people connect...innovate! Born digital is a mantra and a philosophy that invests in products, services, and supporting systems that align with the expectations and behaviors of Generation C...consistently, across every screen, in in the context of every scenario.
Born digital doesn’t take what already exists and attempt to repackage it as something new. Born digital isn’t conceived by groups of strategists or executives who question the logic of a selfie. Seriously. Born digital is the result of empathy and inspiration to do something extraordinary in the truest meaning of the word...something that is designed for a new generation...purpose built to deliver unique and exceptional experiences.
Born digital is deliberate and it is inspired. But to conceive it takes vision to see what others do not and courage to do what others will not or cannot.
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker
All the news and updates at this year’s Modern Marketing Experience conference are all about the unified CX narrative.
Altimeter publishes the first complete maturity model for companies undergoing a digital transformation.
Chatbots announced at today’s Facebook developer conference, F8.
Facebook’s CEO outlines the company’s plans for its family of apps, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
Altimeter’s new roadmap for how companies can create and implement a unified content strategy for the entire organization.
New survey results from Altimeter show the powerful effect of employee advocacy, and how companies can use it to drive business results.
The unique challenges faced by the insurance industry when it comes to using customer experience as a differentiator.
Key findings from our upcoming research on Employee Advocacy.
Listen to the recorded webinar from Susan Etlinger.
Taking a page out of Snapchat Stories, Facebook has created a revolutionary ad format for mobile.
The latest research report from Susan Etlinger shows how brands must look at their data not only as a technology issue, but as a strategic asset to be used for competitive advantage.
Ed Terpening takes a look at how employee advocacy could be the next way to promote organic content without paying for reach on Facebook.
A new research brief from Brian Solis talks about how digital strategists can succeed by taking an “OPPOSITE” approach to business as usual.
Lots of changes happening at Twitter, here’s what the latest means for brands that use the platform.
Charlene Li takes a look at what areas of digital transformation companies should invest in as the year begins.
From IBM’s Connect conference in Orlando, Susan Etlinger finds new insights into how employee data can be used to transform organizations.
Lessons from the digital disruption of the music industry.
Analyst Susan Etlinger outlines her research agenda and areas of coverage for 2016.
A new survey from CMO Council and Pega Systems shows that data-driven customer engagement still has a long way to go.
Ed Terpening takes a look at the factors that influence the success employee advocacy programs.
Altimeter’s Susan Etlinger is a guest contributor to a new report from the World Economic Forum, prepared by the Global Agenda Council for Social Media.
An eMarketer report predicts 2016 to be the first year that more money will be spent on display advertising than search.
Prophet’s Brand Relevance Index study identified the Top 50 Relentlessly Relevant Brand. Several digital brands broke into the top 50 — what did they do well to make it into this elite group of brands?
Why companies need to start prepping for the rapidly approaching CX opportunities in virtual/augmented reality technology.
The new areas of focus for Altimeter’s research team in the New Year.
It’s time companies brought HR into the C-Suite.
Watch the recorded webinar and download the slides of Altimeter’s presentation of “The Customer Experience Cloud”
New updates from Oracle Marketing Cloud help brands unite disparate data and business units on a single platform.
Susan Etlinger’s thoughts on the recent TED@IBM event on data.
A new book by Altimeter’s Brian Solis underscores the importance of great design and empathy in creating lasting customer experiences.
A new Altimeter report gives companies a roadmap for unifying their teams and technologies around building a unified customer experience across all brand interactions.
The implications of Facebook’s new range of buttons.
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A new thought leadership study from Altimeter and Cofactor.
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What every company needs to consider before organizing for social business.
Companies need to look beyond communication to earn consumer trust.
How Altimeter will continue to do research as a part of Prophet Brand Strategy.
Acquisition underscores the potential of social to deliver results outside the marketing department.
A look at why it is imperative for the IoT industry to invest in, collaborate, and innovate specifically around security and privacy, not just broader IoT verticals.
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It’s less about the hardware and more about the interoperability of content, services, use cases, communications across devices.
The implications of connected devices communicating at every moment.
A new report from the CMO Council identifies the biggest barriers to effective lead generation through content.
Key findings from Altimeter’s latest benchmark study on social business
Brian Solis talks about marketing to Generation “C” at the Adobe Summit EMEA in London.
What you need to know about how companies can use your data to discriminate against you.
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A new research report by Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis and Capgemini Consulting
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Brian Solis speaks with Entrepreneur Magazine’s Jason Ankeny on the future of business.
The essential guidelines all businesses need to follow for the ethical collection, use and sale of data.
New updates to Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder platform now allow users to map customer journeys across sales, service, marketing and custom apps.
How to get your business noticed in a sea of content and media.
Was Twitter wrong for taking down “Politwoops?”
Jessica Groopman’s guest post for the TRUSTe blog.
With “Buyable Pins,” brands can now use Pinterest to directly sell their products to consumers
The Apple CEO delivered a scathing critique of companies misusing customer information.
Altimeter’s resident Internet of Things expert Jessica Groopman talks with UnboundID’s Emeka Obianwu.
Altimeter’s latest consumer survey focuses on privacy in the new age of connected devices.
Why leaders are so hesitant to engage digitally, and what they can do to overcome that fear.
Salesforce is fielding inquiries from potential buyers, one of whom may be its biggest competitor, Oracle.
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How to start crafting optimal customer experiences in the Internet of Things.
The three key benefits sensors can offer retailers for using IoT to drive loyalty.
The implications of Twitter turning off the tap for one of its biggest data partners.
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Why the competition between the big marketing cloud vendors shouldn’t be the focus of their clients.
In this 1-hour webinar, industry analysts Susan Etlinger and Rebecca Lieb share their latest research on Content Marketing Performance.
Does Facebook’s restriction on its huge data sets serve the public interest?
Oracle announces long-awaited web, data, and commerce integrations for its Marketing Cloud, highlighting its big ambitions for a unified offering of all its enterprise platforms.
The impact of IBM’s partnership with the Weather Company and its mammoth investment in IoT.
A look at the growth of Beacon devices and their impact on consumers.
Facebook is emerging as an even bigger threat to YouTube by announcing some attractive new features for its video platform.
Five definitive use cases illustrating how companies can use sensors to enhance customer experience.
A look at the digital ethics and privacy conversations from this year’s SXSW conference.
How leaders can make the most of the biggest digitally-focused event of the year.
Why won’t Apple focus on the actual use cases for Apple Watch instead of how it looks?
I recently partnered with Genesys to explore the state and future of customer experience (CX).
Sprinklr is taking on the marketing cloud bigwigs with the release of its Content Lifecycle Management platform.
The reasons you need to attend Internet of Things World.
We match up Hillary Clinton’s actions against our social business governance framework.
The CEO of Altimeter Group has a new book out which contains essential guidelines for how leaders can engage employees and customers on digital channels.
What leaders need to do to earn the trust of their employees and consumers in the digital age.
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What social media teams need to do to get tweets showing up in Google search results.
How companies can use the Internet of Things to create experiences that benefit both the brand and its customers.
Customer experience is meant to be evocative, not reactive, and the current state of call centers isn’t helping.
A list of essential do’s and don’t for vendors and their PR teams.
The implications of the Internet of Things is so much more than the immediate value of a shiny gadget that connects to the Internet.
A new startup called Locket is revolutionizing the way we use our mobile lock screens by turning it into a content and messaging playground.
DonorsChoose shows how simple targeted emails can produce great engagement across all digital channels.
A new book by Charlene Li tells today’s leaders how to start engaging their employees on the same digital channels as their customers.
NYT- and WSJ-bestselling author Charlene Li guides business leaders deeper than ever before into the uncomfortable and ever-changing terrain of the digital era.
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This year’s results have troubling implications for the technology industry.
The Internet of Things is the next big channel of engagement for brands, yet most of them still find it difficult to get on board.
The digital trends and practices that require the most attention from business executives this year.
We answer all the questions we couldn’t get to during our webinar on the mobile-only customer experience.
In this one-hour webinar, Susan Etlinger shares a framework on how to 1) extract insight from data and 2) in a way that engenders trust.
A look at the future of advertising in a world where the channels to view them are rapidly changing.
In this 1-hour webinar, join Jaimy Szymanski and Brian Solis for a discussion on how organizations can approach mobile design strategy through the lens of an evolving connected customer.
If you’re making the trek to Austin in March, we hope you’ll catch up with the Altimeter crew.
A look at what we give up and gain when we allow our lives to be turned into sources for data.
How content marketers can take advantage of the new partnership that allows tweets to show up in Google search results.
Successful IoT strategies the consumer product world can learn from B2B enteprises.