The Renaissance was a period of renewal and passion, with the invention of the Gutenberg printing press allowing citizens to communicate quickly to a wide audience. Today, technology is driving fast, sweeping changes across the globe, altering the way business is done while taking unprecedented leaps forward at a breakneck pace.
Within any period of renaissance, those that can readjust and transform are the ones that will survive – and maybe even flourish, and the Digital Renaissance is no exception.
But if a Renaissance means an upending of norms, then “adapt” really means “reinvent.” The way we do business in 10, 20, or 50 years will likely not resemble at all what it does today. So what’s an analog company to do?
Businesses no longer can operate in a vacuum. Your survival depends on the connections you make – to your customers, to your colleagues, and to the world at large.
Internally, departments must operate as interdependent parts of a whole instead of competing entities. The more you can break down internal silos and breed communication and common purpose, the more effective you will be. Marketing, sales, customer service – everyone needs to be on the same page.
Externally, you must truly connect with your customers. You need to understand who they are, what motivates them, and what their expectations are of you. The more complete profile you can build of them, the higher potential lifetime value you will achieve from that relationship.
Beyond this, it’s key that you stay in tune with the technology and trends directly impacting your industry. Make sure you are keeping a pulse on industry trends, technology developments, and consumer behavior patterns. These things have a tendency to feel far away and less urgent than everyday work tasks, but with changes happening at such a rapid pace, staying up-to-date is key.
Carve out time each week to read from an industry blog or news reports. Get outside your office to attend global industry events. These functions are invaluable when it comes to keeping tabs on industry trends, and connecting with colleagues from around the world are a great way to reenergize your team.
Think “user” instead of “customer”
The Digital Renaissance has led to relationship-driven business. Customers want to be able to engage with you along every step of their journey, not just when it’s time to buy. Begin reframing how you view and engage with your audience, thinking of them less as transactional “customers” and more as “users” who are actively engaged with you on an ongoing basis.
This simple shift will help you begin thinking beyond the purchase, allowing you to work towards delivering excellent service, maintenance, and even marketing experiences. It will also help you refocus on what it means to deliver a user-friendly digital experience. What if a purchase was a given known? How could you improve the daily life of your customer if you weren’t stuck in sales tunnel vision? When you broaden your focus beyond just the sale and really think about what is important to your users, you can create some pretty innovative experiences.
Take Amazon Go, for example. The digital retailer’s new physical stores take some of the best customer experiences (browsing for items and getting to see, touch, and choose them in person) with one of the best user experiences (instant checkout).
Be aware of changing regulations
I’m looking at you, GDPR. This is not so much a way to transform, but something you must be mindful of during these changing times. With great transformation comes great responsibility. As with any upheaval, the Digital Renaissance possesses its own set of new rules and regulations. Making these connections, building profiles of your users so that you can deliver the best possible interactions—it all comes at the risk of invading your customers’ privacy (or, making them feel as such).
The European Union’s new regulations on consumer data protection are just one example. As we move forward, transforming how business is done, we will inevitably face fresh challenges regarding how business is regulated. It is critical to remain up to date and compliant with current standards and regulations if you want a fighting chance in the market.
Digital business is a massive transformation that doesn’t exhibit any sign of slowing down or stopping. It’s keeping companies on their toes, trying to keep up with changing trends, customer expectations, and new technological innovations that are upending the way we engage.
Stay sharp, and your business could become a fine-tuned work of art.
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