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Are You Prepared for the Digital Tsunami?

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Are You Prepared for the Digital Tsunami?

Here are Seven Survival Secrets.

In a world where all of your customers carry a super computer in their pockets in the form of a smartphone that they use for virtually all communications needs, all companies must readdress their customer facing strategy.  There is a digital tsunami coming.

In addition to the availability of superior technology, there are multiple companies setting standards for ease of use, simplicity and value.  If your company is not providing the same kind of customer experience, it is painfully obvious.  The example that is set by Apple, Amazon, Paypal, AirB&B and Uber raises the bar for everyone.  Granted these are new economy companies, but all of them had to build their businesses in the face of strong, established companies in their industries.  Companies like Domino's Pizza, Staples, Starwood and Starbucks have made huge changes in how they interact with customers digitally, in some cases generating 70% of their sales today through mobile and online technology.

In the last 18 months we have worked with dozens of companies who are rethinking their customer facing strategy from early stage growth ventures to Fortune 100 consumer products companies.  They all say the same thing: “How do we connect one-to-one with our customers?”

The answers require investment in people and systems.  It requires empowering leadership to rethink long held strategies.  It requires bringing in people with functional strengths from other industries that have been battling these issues creatively longer than you have.  It requires a willingness to experiment and try things.  It requires allowing mistakes.  But ignore these trends at risk of great peril to your company.  Here are the seven secrets for surviving the digital tsunami:

1. Emphasize Customer Acquisition, Retention and Success.  Peter Drucker famously proposed “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”  If American CEO’s were more focused on this simple maxim rather than cutting costs or managing earnings per share, we’d be in a 4.0% growth economy.  Your marketing should be measured by customers visiting the website, being driven into your stores or entering the purchasing funnel. In addition, you must help the customer be successful with your product or service.   It is not enough to “satisfy” them.  It is not enough for them to recommend you to their friends.  You must help them achieve their goals with your product or service, whether dressing better, eating healthy, saving costs or increasing revenues.

2. Provide Excellent Access Through eCommerce.  Can your customers access your products and services through their phone in a seamless, friction free environment?  If not, why not?  You say your products are best sold through brick and mortar retail?   But someone out there (think Google or Amazon) is selling your product directly to your customers.  If you are not up to speed and thinking strategically about how you address this, your company is in danger. 

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Ted Pryor
Ted Pryor
Contributor
Ted Pryor is a Managing Director with Greenwich Harbor Partners and focuses on senior level executive recruiting in Media, Technology and Digital Transformation including general management, sales, marketing and customer service. He has over ten years of experience as a senior executive at GE Capital and over 20 years of experience in corporate finance. Prior to executive recruiting, he served as CFO and CEO of a venture backed start-up company.

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