We are in the matrix!
The digital world is now becoming more important than the real world.
We have become internet obsessed and the ubiquity that connected smartphones gives to mobile and social apps has made them ever-present in our lives.
Speaking of ubiquity, Pew Internet reports that 79% of adults between 18-29 now have a smartphone and 67% between 30-49. We are spending more time online at the expense of other activities.
Our time, both personal and professional, is shared between Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, youtube moreso than interacting with real people. And children who were born in 2000 and later will never know a world without instant digital gratification.
Apple, Microsoft and Google were ranked #1, #3 and #4 in terms of largest market capitalizations at the end of 2013. Snapchat was just acquired by Facebook for $19B. That’s the most ever for a venture backed company. Shocked? Don’t be, they are the engines behind the digital experiences of the future.
Here’s that scene from the Matrix where Neo chooses the red pill for reality and the truth…
But there is no “red pill” for businesses. No way back to the old realities. To succeed and flourish you must change.
How do businesses need to ready themselves for the Matrix?
- The business needs to take ownership of the customer experience. The old bureaucracy is dead. Business can no longer afford to have bad outcomes and finger pointing. “It was ITs fault” or “We didn’t have clear requirements.” The business must be driving the ship and project managers and developers must be part of supporting the business goals.
- Take an integrated look at the people who are your users. Understand them and their needs. What do you need to do to keep them happy and loyal.
- Change the focus to outside-in. Now that you understand them better, think like the people who are your users. Construct and manage the user experience in a unified way across all the customer touch points. This means spending more time on usability.
- Learn to be a story teller. Traditional marketing content and tactics are becoming less and less effective. Tell a story that answers the question of “why.” Why will this help me or my company or my family or…well you get the idea :)
- Help your users tell your story. Send a follow up email asking them to return the product if they are not 100% happy and ask for a brief product review if they are.
- Be Agile. And by that I mean two things. Build the bare minimum at first. Don’t let committee scope creep thwart bringing new products to market. Try new things and be willing to fail…quickly. If the results don’t turn out as expected move on to the next thing to try.
- Consider gamification. Make using your product rewarding for the people who do it. Give them rankings or free credit or access to something exclusive.
- Use everything you know to help. I’m really avoiding big data here because I still think a terabyte is big since I built my first data warehouse with 2G fujitsu disks. But you know a lot about your users. What they purchase and what they don’t. What parts of your website they use and which parts they avoid. Probably a number of different demographics as well. Leverage all of that to help deliver the best experience possible.
- Start thinking about what you need to do in the future to ready yourself for when everyone walks around like a Cylon (am I allowed to make a Battlestar Galactica reference in the same post as the Matrix?) with their Google glass on and has digital assistants helping to find the products and services they want before they even think about it.
- Lastly, move faster. You must learn to run and operate your business in the new real-time reality of business.
What an exciting time this is to transform your business!
Hope you are starting the journey.