I touched the topic of digital world briefly in my earlier blog post about Customer Journey. However, today I’d like to continue building upon that world of digital as nowadays it’s indispensable. Throughout the year, I attended many guest lectures and whenever there was a conversation on future business every single speaker said that you must make your business work digitally. In other words, you’ll need some sort of site to make transactions happen (which aren’t necessarily monetary). The success of eBay and Amazon, launch of Apple Pay and PayPal, the spread of digital currencies prove the existence of digital economy. At the end of the day, I consider it as a natural progression as so many of us are connected, and a big part of our lives happen online (may I remind of ZMOT which comes from the internet).
I’m not suggesting that humanity is moving online and leaving the physical behind like in that sci-fi film. Instead, I argue that everything is intertwined and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to draw the line between a physical and digital life. Let’s talk ‘hanging out’/socialising, chilling. We might start online by looking at friends pictures, commenting on them while chatting on WhatsApp or FB messenger. Basically interacting. Then take all of that ‘outside’ for example we go to university and can (if we want) continue that interaction. Then, at home or anywhere outside of that community (in this case university) that interaction can continue flowing. There’s no separation, it’s a continuum of the same person’s life just in a different medium if you like. Moreover, we have tonnes of such ‘communities’ with whom we converse in different intervals and qualities. Naturally, the digital world changed our behaviour. It also had a tremendous influence on economics. The video below on socioeconomics that might help to better understand what I’m talking about.
Now, that we have established the fact a big part of us exist online, we must make our business available there too. Why? Because any business needs people aka customers to survive. Just as you would run a TV commercial during some show that you know your target audience watches you do the same online. You find where your potential customers hang out so that you could go there and notify them of the offering. The data becomes indispensable here. Some even call it an ‘oil’ for the digital economy. And since it’s easier than ever to track people’s behaviour online, business owners or marketeers that work for them are able to collect extensive amounts of data on how consumers feel, behave, and interact with offerings as well as how they respond to those products or services. The birth of iPhone, and more importantly the global positioning service (GPS) with it allows now to track a consumer extremely effectively. GPS provides yet another dimension to collecting and then analysing data which enables a business to locate a consumer anywhere anytime. From an enterprise point of view, this is fantastic. It helps to understand one’s physical journey and then make up relationships or attitudes between particular behaviours or feelings and location with time. On the other hand, such tracking can be scary.
Let’s play a little fun game now (I’m not talking iPhones owners only, and I’m sorry Android people, I’m sure there’s a way you can play this game, too, I just don’t know the rules).
Step 1: Unlock your phone
Step 2: Open ‘Settings’
Step 3: Then as follows: Select Privacy -> Location Service
Step 4: Scroll to the very back and choose System Service, and then click Frequent Locations.
Your phone will give a good list is of locations and over time these form patterns. However, nothing to worry about as data on its won is worthless. You need to put it into context. And this context will solely depend on the nature of a product or service, mediums and channels they operate in, and ultimately marketing strategy.
Other grand sources of data are the ‘big three’, namely, that’s Google, Facebook and Amazon. Google generates four million search queries from its 2.4 billion users. There are 1.3 billion Facebook accounts that publish 2.5 million pieces of content every minute. Amazon is an international marketplace that tracks its users browsing and purchasing behaviours; the size of customer base – 278 million (Wedel & Kannan, 2016).
I guess it’s no surprise that Google offers to help you grow your business or career by ‘attending’ The Digital Garage. Amazon offers businesses to scale and grow through Amazon Web Service (AWS), whilst Facebook offers pretty much the same through Facebook Blueprint. Such high volume of users and usage allows business owners grow their companies by utilising the data the ‘big three’ can provide. In return, once you know how utilises that data using the data source, you have to pay for the tools. In other words, the provided learning is free but not the tools (such as Google AdWords, etc).
See these big three gives a business owner all information one might need, such as demographics, sociographics, psychographics, etc etc. So now that we select who to say ‘hello’ to combined with data of what they do on which sites, and at what times we know how to most effectively reach them with ComfyEar (or whatever your product/service is). And what a ‘coincidence’ when it comes to digital advertising there’s a duopoly between Facebook and Google (Financial Times report).
I hope I managed to show the importance and capabilities of digital, and that, today, digital is crucial every business. And yet it’s not everything. Physical is still a big thing. And never forget that in whichever medium you are, you’re always talking to people (and a possibly a few bots). I find it too easy to forget this when online.