Friday, October 30, 2015

Digital Transformation Consultancy is Big Business

It seems that every consultancy is suddenly talking about digital business transformation or disruption. And just like the digital disruptors, who have been encroaching on the territory of traditional organisations with new and exciting business models that threaten to eat their lunch... the more traditional management consultants and strategy firms have all been getting in on the digital transformation consultancy game.

 From all the marketing information I've received over the last few months, it would see that you're not a modern consultancy unless you produce a white paper on the subject of Digital Transformation and the 'uberization' of business.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

This Shit Is Gonna Get Faster

The pace of digital and technological change has accelerated over the last couple of decades.  Since I started work in the late 1980's everything has changed:

  • There's no such thing as a job for life
  • Wearing a suit to work does not make you the most important person in the room (or indicate you're the highest paid)
  • More and more things (products) now exist as software: music players, cameras, audio/visual editing tools, etc.

To give you some idea of the speed of innovation, TechCrunch launched its Disrupt conference in 2011 where just 45 start-ups demonstrated their products & services. This year at the same conference.... there are 5,000 of them.

However it is my belief that this speed of change, although on an upward trajectory, is going to get faster.

How fast? I've no idea. But if I'm right, the tools for delivering better and more customer-focused products will only get more efficient and the competition to create new and improved services will only get stronger.

Things are going to get crazy and brilliant at the same time... and I'm looking forward to it. So maybe sometime soon that suit of mine will one day stay in the wardrobe and only get used for family events.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Showrooming or Web-rooming?

Physical retailers have been suffering at the hands of eCommere for years. The ability to browser and buy from the comfort of your own sofa (or bed) has been a growing and compelling proposition, especially compared to the madness of Christmas or sale times.

And now, thanks to in-store Internet connectivity and smartphones online shopping continues to grow at the expense of in-store retail. Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices (mobile phones, phablets and even tablets) in stores to: get product information, check competitive prices and obtain feedback from reviews & social media contacts. They are therefore using the in-store experience to 'showroom' by looking at, touching and even experiencing a range of products only to then convert online.

However this is only part of the story, as the reverse experience is also true. In a recent PWC survey, 70% of the respondents stated that they started the purchase process online, but converted in-store.

This process, now know as “web-rooming" is a growing trend that has benefited from the factors such as:

  • a focus by retailers on an improved in-store experience 
  • better staff training, to help customers purchase rather than put them off 
  • better and immediate stock availability 

The graph below, taken from the report, outlines the specific reasons why the respondents prefer to buy products in-store instead of online:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Digital Product Design Has Arrived

The creation of a major product tended to be an opportunity practiced only by a limited number of major organisations. The process of: research & development, manufacturing and distribution was the domain of the large company who had time, budgets and resources available. 
These days getting digital products to market is simpler and speedier by comparison. You don't need huge departments taking ages to create something that either succeeds in a known category or fails & folds without trace... online products can be created, launched and refined much much easier. Product owners can now understand their use and customers quickly... then iterate, improve, evolve and pivot to create something better.
It used to be that a physical product portfolio was pretty much set in stone from day one. Deviating from it was difficult and ground breaking. Now digital products cut across categories and almost defy definition as they merge features and functions from multiple industries all at once.

Everything is now becoming software. Ideas are formed, mashed up and reformed in a single development cycle.. rather than being fixed from one product generation to the next.

  • The pace has changed.
  • The environment has changed.
  • The approach has changed.

And the digital product manager is now able to create wonderfully useful and beautiful products that solve problems and look good too.

It is undoubtedly the age of the digital product and therefore the digital product owner or  designer is in the driving seat for the new economy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Future of Digital - thoughts Part 3

Further thoughts on the future of Digital, inspired by the Marketing Society's Digital Day 2015.

Q: What steps do you need to take to sustainably capitalise on the potential of digital within your business?

Collect and use data intelligently:
Whatever you do… ensure that you both collect data correctly and then use it in the best way possible to learn more and maximise value. E.g. Amazon, Google and Uber (as well as Scottish Unicorns: FanDuel & Skyscanner) have all built businesses based on interpreting and using data.

Think like a start-up:
With a small and dedicated team with the right combination of skills, experience and effort you can accelerate your digital output. Even the bigger digital-only businesses now buy smaller start-ups because they have the desire combination of product, skills and  intellectual property or just an idea.

Retain the best staff:
Keep the good ones and encourage the average ones to find out what they are good at. The biggest problems are those who have a misplaced sense of entitlement or use their efforts against others rather than as part of a team.

This is the third post on the Future of Digital, the first can be found here , the second can be found here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Future of Digital - thoughts Part 2

Further thoughts on the future of Digital, inspired by the Marketing Society's Digital Day 2015.

Q: How have digital channels evolved and what will be the next big digital trend to capitalise on?

The speed of digital change is getting quicker, learn to deal with it. Focus less on the next technology, device or trend and far more on making sure your organisation can complete (this means being innovative, agile and ready to learn from its mistakes). Apple's slogan at its recent product launch was "the only thing that's changed is everything" and this is right.  5 years ago the iPad launched, now I am seeing tablet numbers decline across a lot of client websites compared to mobile traffic.
More shocking is the fact that 52% of all the companies from the Fortune500 in 2000 now don't exist!

Q: Which new technologies are passing fads and which are game changers for their business?
Over time every technology will eventually become obsolete. NFC, wearables, home thermostats (The Internet of Things) connected to your app, etc. will all one day be the equivalent of the fax machine or the telex. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t investigate some and adopt different ones that either take your on your journey of digital maturity or that meet the needs of your customers.

This is the second post on the Future of Digital, the first can be found here.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Future of Digital - thoughts Part 1

Following on from some questions I was asked at the Marketing Society's Digital Day 2015, I have decided to write-up my thoughts on the future of digital.

This basically takes the questions I was asked on the day and answers those here.

Q: What are you expecting audience engagement to look like over the next 5 years?

An increasingly demanding and savvy customer:
We have to meet the needs of a customer who more & more have either grown up with digital technologies or adopted them & lives online.  Regardless of channel, location and device the customer now expects a response in the next 3 seconds or they get frustrated, in 5 seconds.... forget it.

Forget about generic messages, they won’t cut it anymore
Sending & providing the same information to everyone is going to have less & less effect, relevancy is key. This obviously creates an issue for those who do not have technology & marketing systems integrated.

Have an acute focus on the customer
Understand each touch-point with your prospective or returning customer and then do everything within your power to minimise their frustrations and maximise their delight. Your website, mobile app, kiosk and should be optimised continually to make them better… if you don’t, your competitors will!

Friday, October 2, 2015

DigitalDay2015 - some thoughts

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Marketing Society's Digital Day 2015.

Held at the The Drygate Brewery in Glasgow, it was attended by over 100 digital marketing people from agencies and brands in Scotland.

I attended all day and was lucky enough to be asked onto a 'Think Tank' Panel session along with:
  • Stephen O’Donnell, Director at STV Creative
  • Loral Quinn, Head of Digital Strategy and Insight at Aberdeen Asset Management
  • Calum Shepherd, Head of Digital Strategy at The Scottish Government 
During the Q&A session we got to chat through some perspectives on the future of digital based upon our own experiences.

Overall it was a good day as a whole and a great 30 minutes on the sofa with some very knowledgeable and friendly peers in the online industry.