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Digital Disruption: Breaking Through The Noise

Why is Digital Disruption Important?

March 2016 - We are no longer living in a world of simply products and services. That lens has expanded from a digital perspective to include customer experiences, reactions, conversations, relationships, behaviors, and more. In a Harvard Business Review article titled, "The Rebirth of the CMO," authors drive this point home when noting that new digital tools and processes “have altered what and how a business sells, flipped the tables on the typical customer relationship, introduced a glut of new channels and competitors, and made it harder for organizations to break through the noise.” (Dahlstrom, Davis, Hieronimus, and Singer, 2014). The shift in digital has changed conversations to where companies are no longer in complete control. Customers make up a huge part of the puzzle through social engagement. The increase in engagement has also created an increase in the wealth of information. Companies are aware of this change, but many of them are unsure of how to keep up. In fact, Bain & Company surveyed 370 sales and marketing executives of large technology or industrial companies last year. The survey results note that nearly half of the group admitted, “digital capabilities have significantly changed their customers’ behavior. Only 12%, however, feel well prepared for the new realities brought about by digitally enabled customers.” (Kovac, Chong, Umbeck and Ledingham, 2015).

So, with the influx of new tools and the constant flow of information that is digital disruption, how do companies stay ahead of the curve?

Focusing and Tailoring Efforts

One idea is to develop original and insightful content, and push it through relevant channels to engage with customers. The number one way companies will be able to break through the noise is content creation and delivery. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, "Social Media Works for B2B Sales, Too," the writer states that content that focuses on a customer’s needs “such as speed to market, cost reduction, reliability, and reputation building – proves more influential than traditional advertising or a sales brochure that outlines features and functions.” (Kovac, 2016). The idea of providing an opinion or taking a position is much more influential and authentic – which will help you work toward the ultimate goal of establishing yourself as a thought leader. The article goes on to say that, “useful content distributed through digital channels can be as effective in provoking a dialogue as face-to-face selling.” (Kovac, 2016).

The engagement aspect is equally as important as what you are pushing out. You have to have a keen awareness and understanding of your key stakeholders in order to connect with them. From a strategic level, think through your audiences and study the analytics, trends, benchmarks, behaviors, and more. If you leverage the right content and place it in the cross sections of your industry outlets and customers, you’ll increase your chances of breaking through.

So in thinking through your marketing strategies, decide how you can best leverage your products and services through digital content. Collect a comprehensive, dynamic view of your customers and find out where they interact so you can meet them there and start engaging in the nuances of digital disruption.

Sources:

Kovac, Mark. “Social Media Works for B2B Sales, Too.” Harvard Business Review. Web. 5 Jan. 2016. 
Kovac, Mark; Chong, Mark; Umbeck, Tobias; and Ledingham, Dianne. “Bought not sold: Marketing and selling to digitally empowered business customers.” Bain Insights. Web. 7 Oct. 2015. 
Dahlstrom, Peter; Davis, Chris; Hieronimus, Fabian; and Singer, Marc. “The Rebirth of the CMO.” Harvard Business Review. Web. 5 Aug. 2014.

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