You’ve taken the first step to becoming a marketing whizz, Well, sort of.

The Digital Revolution & What It Means For You and Your Brand.

What you’ll be understanding today:

* Why what is happening now in the digital world really matters to you, today.

* Reasons to feel confident about the digital future – no, really!

* One simple bite-sized takeaway to help you deal with digital disruption.

The Big Shift

When I was in my penultimate year at the University of Leeds I had no real idea about marketing or for that matter, the digital world. Coming from a military background I had never really needed to use a PC. When I left Army in 2005 I became a driving instructor and carried on my work with little knowledge or perceived need for the internet, too bad.

Fast forward a little over ten years and that’s all changed. Today we’re all so busy embedded into in the internet webs that it’s far too easy to forget that the digital world is still very new to all of us.

Think about it. Facebook is only 13 years old, Uber is only 7 years old. It’s still pioneering stuff, the equivalent of those companies that built the first motor vehicles way back when.marcus car
All of us, you and me, are at the start of a groundbreaking and new industrial shift here in the UK, from a manufacturing and service economy to an information and data led economy. How else do you explain the exploding values of Uber when they don’t actually own the product they sell? Incredible.
This was the central focus at the World Economic Forum in January 2016 dubbed the “fourth industrial revolution”.
Think about your relationship with the government, the education system, the transport network (rubbish isn’t it). The digital infrastructure of this revolution has yet to be fully built, most of us still have issues with internet connection! Decades from now, people will look back at our generation and think ‘how did they survive?’

The Pace Of Change

According to consulting firm KPMG there have been 45,000 digital businesses set up in the UK alone in the last 5 years – that’s about one an hour. And this change brings disruption – a phrase or buzzword that many marketing people use, without perhaps understanding its true meaning.
The concept of disruptive innovation (as set out by Clay Christensen in his book ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’) was said to keep Steve Jobs awake at night. That’s because it meant that you can do everything right and still fail.
You can listen to your customer and give them what they want. But in turn this increases the complexity and cost of your offer. Then a new entrant comes into the market with a slimmed down proposition and a leaner price (underpinned by new technology) and takes your lunch.
Scary stuff for anyone in charge of a brand.
So what do you do?
There are 3 key things which should give any marketer some quiet confidence:

1. Customers are the boss. And marketers are the people best placed in their respective companies to understand their customer.

2. New ideas and innovation disrupt. Marketers are ideas people (we like to think so), so we should be in pole position to help their leadership team identify lateral new ways to innovate.

3. Everyone’s in the same position. While many people talk a good game, everyone is still finding their feet.

One simple takeaway

In 2014 global research firm Gartner said that in the future brands will compete on the basis of the customer’s experience. Looks like they could have been right.
So today, for a few minutes over a nice cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit, switch off your phone and think – really think – how you could improve your customer’s experience. Not just in big ways but also small.
These could be things you currently don’t do – but maybe you could. Or should. Before some cash rich student with a lot of spare-time does it before you.

Questions to ask yourself:
* Who is my customer? (not just a gender and age, what are their hopes and fears?)

* What problems do I solve for them?

* How can I improve my customer’s experience?

* If you were a competitor – how would you attack your brand?

*Could a simpler cheaper version of your brand be ‘good enough’ for a bigger number of people?
Got questions or thoughts? Let me answer them! @_JamesAlderman
So you know, the second post in this series is here.

Original material and subsequent course by Dan Kirby can be found here.