In today’s light-speed digital economy, startups can disrupt incumbents faster than ever. Just think about Uber and cab companies. Or Netflix and Blockbuster. Or Amazon and your local mall. To survive and thrive in this era, companies must be able to innovate quickly to identify and seize the opportunity. Often we see companies talk about wanting to be innovative, but they don’t empower a culture that allows for innovative thinking, because they don’t know how. If your company wants to succeed in digital and be serious about innovation then you must ask yourself the question, “Am I okay with knowing that not every idea is going to be a home run, and that it takes a framework to develop innovative thinking that yields brilliant ideas?” If the answer to the question was no, then innovation powered by digital is not for you. If the answer is yes, then your organization needs to develop a structured framework to empower innovation, one that helps shape raw ideas and focus them into actionable business activities.
Here are four ways your organization can use data and technology to better engage with customers, understand what they want, and accelerate growth in 2018 and beyond through digital transformation:
- Get a 360-degree view of customers. Most companies have basic information about their customers, such as email address and past purchase history. Going forward, that’s not enough. “Companies need to capture additional data points about their customers to understand better their needs and preferences — such as which products to market to them, across which channels, and at what date and time,” says Dean Nelson, national director of CohnReznick’s Technology and Digital Advisory Practice. Leading companies are leveraging geotargeting technologies to learn granular details about their customers, he noted.
- Drive decisions with data. In today’s digital environment, the most successful companies are capturing information at a pace and volume never seen before — and they’re able to make sense of it all in real time. You may not have the resources of Google or Amazon, but you can still gain a significant competitive advantage with data. For example, unstructured datasets, such as data from social media platforms, can help unlock hidden opportunities and identify unknown issues.
- Embrace analytics. Data is the first part of the equation. Analytics is the next. Smart companies use analytics to see the data, learn more about their customers and accelerate growth. For example, retail companies can leverage analytics to gain insights into their customers’ spending habits and optimize inventory. Analytics also enable you to understand why one location is successful and another is not.
- Be a content king. Content doesn’t only help you sell a product, it offers value-added education and experience around that product which aids in a customer’s overall satisfaction and enjoyment. Content may include anything from a how-to video explaining the many uses for a product, a webinar about evolving trends in your specific industry or a simple pictorial how-to guide that helps someone better understand features and functionality. In addition to creating content, it is critical that a company identifies the right distribution channel.
Digital transformation will continue to up the expectation ante from customers. It’s a challenge, but, like all challenges, it opens an opportunity. Companies that embrace digital innovation can radically improve their business models, meet and exceed customer expectations, and gain a competitive advantage in 2018.
Reprinted with permission. This blog is an abridged version of a blog originally posted by CohnReznick.