Tell me to mind my own business but…

…digitally speaking, should you be minding your own business?

 

I suppose before you can answer that question there’s another, perhaps more important one for you to consider.

Do you know how emerging digital technology can be used to improve internal processes, customer experiences, and ultimately revenues?

There is a tendency to assume that business owners and senior leadership teams in organisations of all sizes and shapes have a complete understanding of their proposition, their markets, their customers and their prospects. And why wouldn’t they?

Regardless of its success, how a business was operated and how it operates now is not necessarily how it will operate in the future. Great business leaders recognise this and make changes to their structure, they make additions to their teams and they review all aspects of their proposition, their markets, their customers and their prospects.

There is arguably no greater example of this than in the Creative Industries.

Any owner of an established and successful creative agency will tell you, (if they’re honest with themselves), that the challenge is to always know the core offering. To always question the relevance of the multitude of ever-growing, developing and emerging technologies in order to best serve the client.

Regardless of its success, how a business was operated and how it operates now is not necessarily how it will operate in the future.

Agencies born in the print era with formal design training and thinking, steeped in creative communications strategy and problem solving experience, know more than most that, whilst the channels through which they communicate have become digital, along with the skills required to leverage those channels, the need to resonate with authenticity, creativity and relevance endures. The need may also still remain for a lovely bit of quality print design.

It’s becoming ever more apparent as we move further into the third wave of technology – the experience wave, that in order to delight our audiences we must engage with them in their space, on the virtual platforms that they choose to occupy and in the ways that help them achieve their goals in the most effective ways possible.

There are increasingly powerful combinations of man and machine. Computing has moved from tabulating, to programming, to cognitive systems. Systems capable of knowing when you next need a new pair of running shoes, what you’d prefer to do on your next holiday and what shade of green you’ll choose for the new blind in the downstairs loo.

As business owners we need to be clear about the role that technology will play in our own organisations.

We are fast approaching the point at which artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence. Accessible and accurate voice recognition means that artificial learning will become so sophisticated that intelligence will become a utility. Conversational commerce as valuable as one to one human conversation, will enable organisations to communicate both en-masse and individually to customers who, through a deep understanding of need, choose to engage.

This changes things in fundamental ways, not least of which will be the death of cold-calling!

All that said, as business owners we need to be clear about the role that technology will play in our own organisations. We need to know the possibilities and we need to ensure we have the capabilities to leverage technology. Before we go rushing out on a recruitment drive to add those skills in-house, let me ask the original question again.

Should you be minding your own business or should you first engage with those that have hands-on experience of the last twenty years of emerging technologies in order to help you to appropriately redefine your proposition?

If the answer is the latter, we may know someone.

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