From the Middle of the Transformation
We all understand how technology has transformed the way business is done and we trust it will continue to help companies do more, faster, better and cheaper.
Of course, as with every transformation, those who see the future and respond tend to do a lot better than those who claim it as hype, insist they have the best products, customer relationships and people before finally surrendering their dominant positions and fading away. They were industry leaders until one day, they weren't.
And the carnage isn't over. A study from the MIT Executive Summit last year predicts that 40% of all existing companies will be gone by 2030. That's a staggering number of companies that continue to resist change or simply find their rigid structures or cultures won't allow them to adapt to a new world. And if that's not enough to ensure their demise, a second wave of transformation is upon us; the changing expectations and demands of their customers.
At some point, probably in the 2030s, we'll look back and wonder how so many companies, big and small, missed the clear signs or maybe they saw them too late. The impact of technology was undeniable; even though many tried to do just that. But every day brought new things that made yesterday irrelevant and it never stopped.
Companies kept relying on things that used to work. They held firm in how they thought, operated and talked about their companies. They believed their ad agencies that promised the latest digital tactic would be the key to getting everything back to normal. It just never did.
And we'll talk about the quieter, second wave of the great transformation, how people's expectations and demands of the brands they chose to support went unnoticed as nearly half of all companies slipped quietly over the cliff.
Back in the 70s, 80s, 90s and into this century, Company was king and each was led by the Alpha. You went after the widest possible audience spending millions on ads that claimed total superiority without getting too specific to alienate anyone.
Your salesforce was charged with outrunning and outwrestling the competition and, whenever necessary, you feverishly back peddled to keep even ill-fitting opportunities from slipping by because any sale was a good sale.
And we'll remember how many died trying.
It will be so clear how they were replaced by more innovative thinking companies that listened as people began asking for personalization. Those young companies that saw how quickly evolving technology gave people the power to purge the commonplace and source products and services that cleanly aligned with their specific needs and how they were happy to shift their support to companies willing to define themselves by their purpose, values and beliefs.
These companies dismissed the notion that "one size fits all" and accepted the new reality that "one size fits virtually no one." They accepted that people stopped believing the BS of companies that said one thing but did another.
We'll see that by 2030, most successful companies had become focused on doing what they love doing; the things they were best at doing and the things their one specific audience valued deeply. They stopped doing everything else even when it would be easy money.
They accepted that knowing their audience deeply enough to anticipate and deliver against their needs, meant forgoing all others. They stopped worrying about competitors with universal solutions and took on the challenge of competing only with themselves and steadily improving on yesterday.
These young companies confidently grew on the personal reviews and recommendations of their customers who willingly shared their discoveries and experiences with their like-minded friends/family.
Advertising continued to be ignored by most. The answer, these new companies understood, was in delivering real value at ever point of contact so their audience remained willing to invest the time and energy to engage.
It was the innovators who first recognized the transformation. They had the ability to step back from the daily chaos and see what was happening, where things were going and how to design their companies to get there first. They saw the dinosaurs, tired and losing step and they let go of outdated, conventional wisdom and embrace the world as it is and will be.
They prepared early to fill the void.
They went deep instead of wide. Delivered personalization through a commitment to the success of a narrowly defined audience. They were transparent, consistent and disciplined; hired only people who understood and embraced their vision, values and beliefs. They shared their knowledge freely and proved their commitment and willingness to put your audience's success ahead of their own.
And they were rewarded for it.
Will we see you in 2030?