How to prepare your small business for the hyper digital customer and the big data era

Hyper-digital customer

Your cars and phones now, but soon your homes, clothes and your accessories too are going to be spitting copious amounts of data into the web. Your customers will be hyper-digitally driven whether you like it or not.

Is your small business positioned to take advantage of a major shift in consumer behavior? How are you gearing up to tackle a change that is poised to drive many organizations out of business in less than five years?

Can your organization deal with smaller, nimbler teams that have a better understanding of big data?’

Two to 5 person teams that can take advantage of the exponential rate of innovation in technology may outperform you. And they will be able to offer more to the customer than you ever imagined.

Upgrading hardware and software technology may seem to be the obvious solution. However, it is more important to ensure that your team is ready and willing to meet customer expectations in the hyper-digital era.

Here are the top three things every small business will need to work on:

1) Redefining basic required software competencies

Word, Excel and Outlook used to be sufficient ‘basic’ competencies. However, in the age of big data other software tools are becoming increasingly important. Software like Basecamp, saas  CRM, Adobe Creative Cloud, Hootsuite, WordPress and Mailchimp add to organizational efficiency at low investment and at minimal deployment effort.

Expertise in the many such available tools may not be achievable or even required at all levels of the organization.

However, employees should be expected to and open to adopting and working with new technologies in short order. This tech-flexible mindset is critical to enable quick roll-out and maintain competitive advantage.

All this calls for employees to develop and/or be hired for a certain level of maturity in digital competencies. High levels of digital adaptability are a mandatory competency for a lean and effective organization.

2) Redefining what it means to be a team player

Marketing is not a department, neither is customer service, nor product development or sales. With the overlap of customer touch points across all the different departments, the customer has decided that there are no departments.

While there is no shortage of self-described ‘team-players’, departmental fiefdoms still hold strong in many minds. Any organization that seeks to provide value to hyper-digital customer behavior cannot afford to silo their efforts or their data.

Organizational realignment around digitally driven customer behaviour will reduce dependency on task based leadership, replacing them with digitally astute leaders.

These digitally mature leaders are vital to creating the tech-curious mindsets that we described in the previous point.

Your organization needs to identify and enable these leaders who understand that collaboration is now more important than ever to enhance the user experience of a hyper-digital customer.

3) Redefining the product development process

The User Experience is vital part of product conception. Adding Twitter and Facebook buttons to the shopping cart falls far short of  adding value to hyper-digital customer behaviour.

The digital delivery mechanism cannot be isolated from the development process either. Doing so undermines the user experience at roll out.

Data gathering, tracking and data mining capabilities need to be explored, planned for and if possible implemented in the product development process.

Either that, or the team has to be able to identify plug and play technologies that will enhance product value with minimal effort. Growth hack the product, if you will. While this may look like the responsibility of the marketing department, remember what the customer has decided about departments.

The ability to develop, manage and grow products through their life cycle with a data-centric but highly flexible approach requires a workforce with a highly mature digital competency. A team that understands that they have to look beyond existing tools and the tasks they are good at.

Admittedly, all this is easier said than done considering the fact that many organizations are struggling to keep up with even the current pace of change.

 

I’m looking to find some solutions to such challenges and an insight into the accompanying opportunities at the MarTech conference in Boston this August. Let’s connect if you’re going to be there too.

In the meantime, is your organization ready for the hyper-digital customer behaviour? What are the challenges that you are trying to overcome as you prepare for the surge in big data?

Do you see major leadership opportunities in this hyper-digital era and how do you plan to take advantage of them?

Share your thoughts!

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jacobv

Director of Marketing @Solufy | This Blog's Chief Content-Chef; words, images, analytics, some code | Google AdWords, Analytics Certified | Martech Astute | Part-Time Moonshot Hunter | Hands-On Strategic Do-er of All Things Marketing

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