Your future game plan

World, disrupted.

We’re in the middle of the largest, most rapid change in human history. It’s driven by an exploding population obsessed with making and consuming smarter, faster and cooler technology.

There are three forces shaping the business landscape in our disrupted world.

  • The world is flat.

    We’re not trying to outplay an influential accountant in the next suburb; we’re competing with outsourced intelligence from India. We’re not pitting ourselves against a personal trainer on the other side of the country. Instead, we’re up against global players like Nike Training Club and celebrity trainers like Jillian Michaels or Shannan Ponton.

  • The signal is the noise.

    There are more smartphones on our planet than people (PwC, 2013). We see two million TV commercials before we reach ‘middle’ age. You can shout all you want, but trying to get your voice heard is like standing under a waterfall and using an umbrella to stay dry. Pointless.

  • The power is the people.

    We are courting people who are loaded with options and not afraid to flex their choice muscle. For every Woolworths, there’s a Coles. For every Uber there’s a Shebah. There are thousands of hours of ready-to-stream content on Netflix (or Stan). There’s so much choice, choosing is impossible.

Your future needs a new game plan.

The more choice, higher expectation and less attention trifecta means beige businesses bust. We need to do things differently in order to stay afloat. But what? There are three options.

  1. (The money game).

    A hardcore game, played by giants. It focuses on product and price—specifically pushing more product at a cheaper price. This strategy is like an arms race: you can only drop price or quality so far to compete. Unless you’re Amazon or Alibaba, someone, somewhere will beat your offer. You’re a commodity. When you’re competing on price, the market sees you as disposable. They’re happy to buy what you’re selling while the price is good, but when something better comes along, it’s hasta la vista. Your customers are in a constant state of readiness to actively disengage and go somewhere else.

  2. (The feel-good game).

    Admirably, this game focusses on building relationships between you and your customers. It is the foundation upon which great business is built. But it’s yesterday’s A game and it’s not enough to future proof you.A service focus gives business owners a false sense of security. It’s a bit like chasing a 10km run with a cheese cake: on one hand we’re choosing exercise, while on the other hand we’re white-anting our fitness goals. Fact is, you can’t outrun a cheesecake and it’s the same with service: eventually you’ll be caught by a competitor who’s lifted their performance to the next level

  3. (The future game.)

    The experience game recognises humans buy with their hearts and not with their heads. Experience is everything that makes your customers feel something: it’s not a widget. It’s not a bespoke product, beautifully packaged and sent express to your door. It isn’t a smoothly connected online and offline environment, nor is it creating memories for your most valuable business assets; your customers. It’s all of these things.And, it’s the only way to future proof your business. When you focus on experience you make:

  • A name for yourself.

    People know what you stand for, which makes it easy for them to choose you. Two-thirds (64%) of people cite brand value alignment as the reason they shop with a brand (Ion Interactive, 2017)

  • Your customers happy.

    People feel good dealing with you. Companies whose focus in on experience realise a 20% increase in customer satisfaction (Forbes, 2016)

  • More money.

    People pay more for a better experience. And because they’re happy, they’re loyal. You don’t need to keep shelling out on customer acquisition. Just a 2% increase in customer retention is the same as a 10% decrease in costs (Ion Interactive, 2017)

As Robin Sharma says, businesses who miss the memo on emotional drivers for purchase decisions might just lose their business.

What are you doing to deepen engagement and deliver experience?

Emily Verstege

Dr Emily Verstege is a customer experience futurist, speaker, author and mentor to the leadership of Australia's largest and most exciting agencies. Emily is an expert at capturing and integrating customer voice into business strategy and governance frameworks.

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