Digital Darwinism: Digital Disruption At Its Evolutionary Best

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Author and influencer Brian Solis asserts that a customer’s journey, right from searching to buying a product or service comprises of ‘micro moments’, which marketers need to cater to by deploying new tools and techniques birthed by technology that boost the chances of making their products and services discoverable. Especially since Google noticed that 90% of people who search for products or services on their smartphones initially do so without having any particular brand in mind, and 65% hunt for the most relevant information regardless of who is providing it. He uses the term ‘Digital Darwinism‘ to refer to the varying but inevitable degree of disruption brought about by technology on various businesses. So let’ see which technologies are touted as being harbingers of disruption.

The list of the most disruptive technologies

Digital disruption has proved it has the power to displace incumbents and alter business landscapes. A case in point is that of WhatsApp, which impacts the $100 billion text messaging business globally. A paper on digital disruption by the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation states, “Digital disruptors are particularly dangerous because they grow enormous user bases seemingly overnight, and then are agile enough to convert those users into business models that threaten incumbents in multiple markets.”

Here is a list of technologies respondents consider to cause the most disruption:

Source: Global Center for Digital Business Transformation

Anticipated degree of disruption

However, not all technologies including the ones listed above are predicted to throw industries in an equal state of flux.  The institute has pictorially depicted what it refers to as a digital vortex, and has plotted various industries across its whirl to indicate the extent of disruption they will face between now and 2020. The closer an industry is to its centre, the more it is set to face disruption.

Here’s how various industries will compare in their degree of disruption:

Digital Disruption

Source: Global Center for Digital Business Transformation

Here are some more startling revelations that we came across:

  • Social Media is dead.

So how confident are you of staying in business?

Industries that are disrupted face two major challenges. Firstly, they have low entry barriers, which lead to the mushrooming of several new and agile players. Secondly, they work on long-established business models that are not so pliable for change.  The impending threat of being pushed out of business looms largely over businesses that are ill-prepared for such disruption.  On an average, no less than 41% of business leaders surveyed felt that the risk of being put out of business increases as a result of disruption.

Digital Disruption

Digital Disruption

Source: Global Center for Digital Business Transformation

Needless to say, adopting and riding on relevant digital advancements improves the chance of a business to stay competitive and keep alive the customer’s interest in your brand. A Moz study reveals that 67% of those interviewed considered online reviews to be ‘fairly, very or absolutely important’ to their purchasing decision.

The genesis of customer expectations

If you’ve ever wondered how and where customer expectations are founded, the answer lies in disruptive solutions that delight them. McKinsey shares the insight that the number of digital touchpoints increases by 20% each year. Not surprising then that it doesn’t take long for a heightened experience to become the norm.

Marci Maddox, Senior Director, Product Marketing – CEM solutions, concurs, “Customer delight always turns rapidly into customer expectation. You can occasionally afford to not delight your customer on a few of the interactions you have with them –  but you are in big, big trouble if you consistently fail to meet their expectations. They expect a consistent experience with a company no matter which stage they are in their buyer’s journey. They expect to be able to connect with the company on any channel they choose. They expect to begin an interaction – buying a product or receiving support – on one channel and complete it on another seamlessly. They don’t hope for this experience. They don’t want this experience. They expect this experience. And, they will go elsewhere if they don’t get it”.

The Oxford College of Marketing brings to our notice the lesson we can learn from Kodak, which stood rigid in times of digital disruption, eventually plunging itself into bankruptcy. For more interesting cases of global companies being impacted by digital disruption, check out these examples compiled by technology company 1E.

Let’s now look at just a few ways in which this powerful force is reshaping the landscape of businesses

  • Front-line job positions are gradually being replaced by intelligent devices in places like McDonalds and Eatsa
  • Microsoft Cortana, Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Now are redefining how people get their work done
  • IBM’s Watson is being applied to the world of finance, healthcare, and perhaps even the restaurant industry
  • Regenerative medicine is pegged to give us access to our own cloned organs
  • Nanobots would be able to enter our bodies and perform corrective surgery even for cancer and arteriosclerosis
  • Students can earn diplomas from reputed universities overseas without even having to leave their house
  • With platforms such as Skillshare, employees can upskill themselves without having to go offsite
  • With the increasing power of big data and analytics, media agencies are now having to become more accountable for results arising directly out of their strategic recommendations
  • There is an increasing number of smart meters and grids installed. Navigant Research predicts this figure will reach 1.1 billion by 2023
  • Almost 30% of all ERP systems worldwide are expected to migrate to the cloud by 2018
  • Gartner had predicted that 6.4 billion connected things will be used in 2016, and by 2020, more than 20.7 IoT devices will be in use worldwide.
  • More than 50% of all business processes will adopt some form of IoT by 2020

The rapid, unstoppable wave of advancement that comes with technology is here to disrupt businesses, and it’s actually not going to be the survival of the fittest, but the survival of the one that adapts well to change.

By Lucjan Zaborowski, Head of Digital for 1E

About the Author:

Lucjan Zaborowski is the Head of Digital for 1E. Lucjan is also an experienced marketer and project manager with a solid understanding of digital acquisition and optimization, product marketing and program management. He has over six years of experience in multi-channel digital acquisition. He is keen to learn and stay up to date with the latest marketing trends.

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