The labor force participation rate in the U.S. fell in August to the lowest level since 1978, a development that may reflect the lack of higher-paying jobs in the economy.
Corporate & Business Strategy Planning / Execution in the Post Industrial, Digital Economy. Want to know more? Visit me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/karlwabst/
Curated by Karl Wabst
People make strategy much harder than it needs to be. For some, the problem is that they focus too much on the tools: environmental scans, SWOT analyses, customer analyses, competitor analyses, financial modeling, and so on. Other people get into trouble because they think it’s all about the broad, conceptual, future-oriented, big picture stuff — […]
First, understand the questions and then read Playing to Win
Startup Emogi says it can serve branded emojis to typically off-limits text fields
It was only a matter of time. Supposedly free email services commonly use their user's content for ads. This caused a small stir in privacy circles but users did not flee and the model remains. Users have the same choice this time. It is doubtful that anyone but a few parents may object.
Data is no longer the domain of tech companies or IT departments — it is fast becoming a centerpiece of corporate value creation more generally. Today most organizations are data-driven to one degree or another. Data contributes not only to brand equity, but to what constitutes product and service delivery in globally connected and hyper-competitive markets.
Value is in the eye of the beholder. Some look out on their business and do not see a sea of data. They are doing business as usual. Some see the sea of data and see added costs and risk. Others see beauty and opportunity. Which describes you?
A company can be better off thinking about its unique set of data in terms of competitive advantage.
The more shared data, the less the need to buy generalized data from a third-party. Also, you do not have to fund projects that recreate data already held in another department or business.
The more customer intelligence, the higher the potential for more effective targeting of the profitable customer segments.
The more customer engagement the better. The more units sold, the more learned about your desired customers. You also learn how to identify and avoid the customers that you do not want.
Economies of scale, or a reduction in costs per unit as volume increases, can be obtained by firms that utilize insights created by multiple activities or functions. Marketing becomes more effective. Sales rise. It is a virtuous cycle.
Data, at scale, can also provide a valuable barrier to entry into your market by competitors. A new competitor will have to spend a lot of money to buy less specific customer data. This may deter them from taking the risk of entering your space.
Many companies worry more about internal politics and less about connecting to the customer. They see their data stores in terms of security and regulatory compliance. By focusing on the costs, they miss opportunity. Recognize these companies as a potentially good take-over target.
Here are three quick takeaways.
Do you still think it’s just data? No, it’s the future of your company.
Executives are missing the point. CRM has become more associated with software and sales quotas than customer engagement or customer experience. Customers are not employees or projects. They do not want to be managed. Become the leader that your customers want. Or, they will go somewhere else to get the jobs they need to do done.
Brick and mortar stores are facing stiff competition from Ecommerce and the detailed analytics online retailers have about their customers. A new heat mapping technology may be the key to help physical stores compete.
This is for small business owners. You need shopper analytics too. Learn what you may be missing inside your store.
Americans love to cheer for an underdog. So let me preface today's column with a hearty three cheers for SpaceX -- the first company to land an orbital rocket back on Earth on its own tailpipe, the first to land a rocket intact at sea, and -- potentially, one day -- the company that will put mankind on Mars.
SpaceX’s low-cost strategy has been beneficial for the commercial space flight industry. SpaceX got the attention of complacent competitors who assumed that the industry and its customer’s would evolve, rather than transform.
SpaceX’s cheap flights have pulled market share away from competitors using a differentiation strategy. Those competitors have been forced to examine their business practices and make changes they never thought would be necessary. Mindsets and attitudes that were appropriate in a government-funded marketplace have been pushed into retirement.
Commercial space flight is a more dynamic market. Customers are no longer just governments with deep pockets. Business success is judged over the long-term. A transactional mindset will only take you so far.
Low cost, in a static, commodity market can be feasible but is unlikely to generate massive profits. Competitors will eventually find ways to lower prices. In this game those with deep pockets have an advantage. They can afford to operate at lower margins, for a time, to pressure competitors.
Aspirations have moved beyond the decades-old launches of cargo into low-earth orbit. New dreams of going to Mars and beyond immediately shift focus back to safety and consistency. The shift toward human flight rapidly reduces the tolerance for failure.
SpaceX has changed the market, but they are also being changed by it. Their mettle and their metal will be tested. Over the long-haul, trying to compete by being the low-cost provider is much more likely to fail. Many companies have moved through the life-cycle.
There is more to this story, on both sides. In this dynamic marketplace, no competitive advantage is sustainable forever. Moving into new phases of competition means that foresight and the capability to adapt is very important. The market is young, as are the competitors.
Think about this in today’s terms. Tomorrow’s dreams of commercial flights into space are very similar to today’s airline industry.
The low cost leader may thrive for a time, but aspirations change. Customers and their expectations change. Investors expect more, stable returns on investment. Even the much-loved, Southwest Airlines moved away from its low-cost strategy over time.
One day it will be you or someone in your family entrusting their lives to a company to leave the Earth. Spaceflight will look more like the airline industry today. Would you fly Southwest if your chance of death was 10% higher? How about 25%? I bet you are more comfortable with 5%.
Change is the new normal. Be prepared to change as you soar toward the stars. Or do not dream. Do not aspire. Stay on Earth, where the competition is more predictable and competing only on price feels safe.
These three actions will take marketers from being service providers to the C-suite to partners in leading customer-driven growth.
A transformation is very different from a transaction. One must be led and the other is managed. If you try to manage what must be led, you will likely fail. This accounts for the 70% failure rate of change initiatives.
Being customer-centric and overcoming organizational silos are among the hardest parts of digital change. A seasoned Chief Digital Officer explains how to get it done.
Consumers no longer see digital as transformational. Digital and social are normal.
Consumers hire a company to do a job that they want done. Consumers do not care if your systems do not work or if you are new. They expect you to do what your advertisements say.
Consumers may want a great price. Today, they probably expect to be able to customize things so they work with their busy lives. They are willing to pay more. If you don’t want their business, consumers know that several other companies will gladly welcome them.
You are in trouble if customers are forced to navigate a collection of disjointed silos just to do business with you. I don’t know if we can do that. Hold on and listen to some elevator music while I pretend to check.
When we are disconnected, just call back. Navigate the phone tree again. If someone answers, explain it all again and see what happens this time. You will probably get a different answer.
Consumers in the real world have the power to take their business someplace else. Today’s customer is less loyal, and more likely to defect.
They expect immediate feedback. Waiting an hour to get a return phone call from a customer service representative who reads from a script of responses to frequently asked questions will not be tolerated.
Even Grandma routinely uses multiple digital devices and channels.
Employees who still work in silos cannot hear their customers screams. They will not notice when the customers have all gone to competitors.
These poor disengaged souls do not realize or worse, do not care, that the world has changed.
One day their paper paychecks stop appearing. They scream that something is wrong! They get out their dot matrix printer and type up a resume. They walk to the store for some envelopes and stamps. On the way they buy the local paper and start looking at the Help Wanted section.
Finally, they see what is in it for them.
What do my customers want? The savviest executives are asking this question more frequently than ever, and rightly so. Leading companies understand that they are in the customer-experience business, and they understand that how an organization delivers for customers is beginning to be as important as what it delivers.
Trying to figure out and deliver what today's customer wants from your company is hard.
Trying to figure it out by limiting your view to one or two touch points, like customer care is like looking at the Grand Canyon through a keyhole.
It feels safe and manageable. It misses the scope and complexity of the customer experience completely.
Get out from behind your office door and become part of the conversation. Customers are changing. They have great insight into your company, products and your competitors.
Does your company have the capabilities it needs to compete in the 21st Century? Do you have a vision of the new breed of customer? Or, are you stuck looking out from behind that keyhole?
83 percent of U.S. consumers prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels to solve customer services issues, according to new research from
Are you making customer service more efficient by adding technology? What matters to your accountant probably does not matter to your customers. One processes the books. The other pays your bills.
It may be time to think about what your customer thinks is a more effective way to help them on their journey. There is more at stake than saving a few bucks when a frustrated customer calls.
Customers have more choices than ever before. Why would they want to do business with you?
See this for more on the choices facing customer service today.
Winning the expectations game in customer care | McKinsey & Company http://sco.lt/51idYf
Call centers aren’t what they used to be. Here’s how to capture the loyalty of increasingly demanding customers.
Leaders look for ways to take customer care to a new level. Where should customer care be in 3, 5 or even 10 years from now? What opportunities are we missing? What do customers want? What do customers expect? What are our competitors doing?
Managers fixate on making what they already do more efficient. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Can new technology minimize the need to speak with customers? How much would that cost? Will it pay for itself in 12 months? Can we reduce hiring and training?
Which camp are you in?
The number of open positions stands at the highest level in 15 years, with many workers not possessing the skills to do today’s jobs.
This narrative clashes with the one that political candidates put forth when speaking to angry voters. Manufacturing has changed. It has not disappeared from America. Workers need new skill sets to do the jobs.
Factories need more educated people to make the goods demanded in a global economy. That does not necessarily mean you need a college degree. An open mind is key.
People need training. Ask politicians about their plan and funding for an updated workforce instead of moaning about the end of manufacturing. Change is the new normal. Are you up to the job?
If you have not read about Industry 4.0, IoT or IIoT here are a few stories to stimulate your brain. There are stories that will interest several different audiences from factory workers to the management suite. Dive in!
What is the fourth industrial revolution? http://sco.lt/6ToLwH
Industry 4.0: When humans and robots go hand in hand http://sco.lt/8RsgHR
The Robots Are Coming … to Take Your Job http://sco.lt/7YfLyD
How to Be More Agile, Competitive & Innovative in a Digital Era http://sco.lt/6dJUYL
In the Social Age, Don't Advertise, Engage http://sco.lt/6pbyQT
7 Things to Know about the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 : Modern Machine Shop http://sco.lt/4qlBpZ
The Rise of the Chatbots: Is It Time to Embrace Them? - Knowledge@Wharton http://sco.lt/8dc9Z3
This Is What the Fourth Industrial Revolution Looks Like http://sco.lt/6SBQvJ
China Wants to Replace Millions of Workers with Robots http://sco.lt/8Ghrgv
Corporate Strategy: How the CFO Can Capitalize on the Internet of Things | http://sco.lt/8sqiED
Today’s Automation Anxiety Was Alive and Well in 1960 http://sco.lt/7JYz33
Corporate Strategy: How the CFO Can Capitalize on the Internet of Things http://sco.lt/8sqiED
A lot of people who make over $350,000 are about to get replaced by software http://sco.lt/6TPcrh
Strategy, not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation http://sco.lt/7KFBmz
What to Do and Say After a Tough Reorganization http://sco.lt/96pyM5
The Race Against Digital Darwinism: SIX STAGES OF DIGITAL
So many competing products and services are essentially the same. Stop trying to sell on price.
People want to feel special, happy, safe, comfortable, or thrilled.
Help customers to spend more money with you. Help them feel more loyal to your brand.
Get emotional. Go ahead and cry, laugh, smile and sing. Customers are people, not robots.
The New Science of Customer Emotions
In today's digital world, high expectations for a personalized experience present a new problem for brands: the personalization triangle, writes Jason Burby.
Business will suffer when a brand tries to pursue both a differentiation strategy and a cost leadership strategy at the same time.
Customer expectations and the types of customers that will be profitable depend upon the brand image and marketing. If you try to serve all audiences someone, and maybe everyone will leave disappointed.
This is true whether or not the business is digital. Porter's generic strategies foretold of this conflict. https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_82.htm
Strategy is a set of choices. To win you must choose to do some things, and not to do others. The strategy process helps you but, does not ensure that you choose wisely. If you want to play for a long time, play to win. Do not be just another coffee shop.
The more you understand about how strategy works, the better off you will be. The same is true for your customers.
To develop a winning strategy, it is a good idea to answer the following five questions in order:
For a bit more:
Five Questions to Build a Strategy
The award-winning campaign vastly surpassed its goals, reaching 11.2 million Facebook users with a video view rate 315 percent higher than expected and a 1,673 percent higher engagement rate. Behold the power of personalized video advertising.
Personalized video is aiming to hit you straight in the heart and spread to your wallet. Customize the message to engage customer’s heart, heads and hands. It sounds so good you can’t wait to get started! What could go wrong?
Culture and its impact on the organization is increasingly on the radars of regulators and investors.
Limiting the role of internal audit to avoiding risk, without looking for opportunity is only allowing them to do half the job. Is the company culture in line with its strategy? If not, you are doomed to failure.
Corporate Culture and the Role of Boards
Climate Corporation aims to take the guesswork out of farming. The company offers a slate of "digital agriculture" tools that provide a real-time look at what's happening on the farm.
If you research terms like Industry 4.0, IoT, IIot the more you will learn about how technology is changing manufacturing. The industry, its production rates, processes and even employment outlook are not what many Americans think they know.
Factory managers claim that they have a hard time finding qualified employees, largely because Americans have an outdated image of what life and work are like in factories. Have you ever worked in a factory? Unless your experience is recent, life is different than the picture of manual, intensive physical labor your mind may recall.
Opinion: Think nothing is made in America? Output has doubled in three decades http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-manufacturing-dead-output-has-doubled-in-three-decades-2016-03-28
The Paradox of Productivity | RealClearFuture http://sco.lt/5ZtiYT
The surprising truth about American manufacturing http://sco.lt/5UqGjR
7 Things to Know about the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 : Modern Machine Shop http://sco.lt/4qlBpZ
If we believe manufacturing managers, we should start to think about other traditional work environments. Most Americans live in cities and have never been around a farm, much less worked on one.
Working on a farm is still pretty much like what we saw on Green Acres. Or. is it? Our exposure is limited to old movies and TV shows that depict backward, but good-hearted people. Technology is not as important as hard-won experience derived from grand pappy and Pa.
Technology companies tend to concentrate on large population centers. For technologists, life seems to stop at the city limits. It may look different, but technology has an important place on farms and in rural American life. The more we learn about different cultures, the more we learn about potential opportunities to make a buck while making people’s life better.
They may talk funny, but farmers are not the hillbillies your saw on TV as a kid. Learn more by exploring the links below.
Bridging the Gap Between New Technology and Traditional Ag Practices
Calving Book App Helping Ranchers
Harper Farms: Technology Meets Mentorship
Telemedicine: Future of Rural Healthcare?
Rural Education Depends on Broadband
Corn Maze Technology
Technology Helps Farmers Keep Up with Times
FARMERS BUSINESS NETWORK TAKES ON BIG AG
VIDEO: Special equipment helps disabled farmers stay active
Let's start off with putting a myth to bed that for your company to go through a digital transformation it does not need to become a new cloud based, elastic scaling never failing, high performance analytical powerhouse. Or the other one I hear a lot is let's Uberfy our company!
Making the business person’s work more effective. Making the customer’s life easier. These are the jobs of digital transformation. Yet, business people tune out when they hear the term digital transformation.
Talking about digital in technology terms is a sure way to turn off those who need it most.
Ironic or common sense? Influence 101: talk to people about what interest them. Listen to learn and stop trying to impress them with how smart you are.
If you want to sell your idea, sell yourself first and your solution second.
Linking employee and customer feedback for a transaction is a nice to have feature. It is only part of a good management system.
Listening at the transaction-level may provide the company with a false sense of security. When measurement focuses on the transaction-level, larger problems that generate customer dissatisfaction can go unresolved.
Customer experience, by definition, involves more than customer interaction with the customer service department. Customer experience includes perceptions about every touch point with your company. It also includes every potential interaction with your company. Stakeholders may be consumers, potential consumers, resellers, reviewers, etc.
Touch points may include marketing, advertising, pricing, billing, social media, salespeople, service center, etc. It may also include professional reviews and chance conversations with friends, family or coworkers. This list in not all inclusive.
1. A customer may call because they are confused about the assembly instructions. The customer says the instructions are a bit vague. The customer is already frustrated. Customer service resolves the issue. One happier customer! Good for you!
Fixing confusion in the customer service department does not prevent the initial frustration with your product. It may not fix issues that are causing frustration to many other customers. Some customers may never call customer service for help. They may return the product. This creates additional, avoidable costs instead of earning repeat business.
Unhappy customers may post unflattering reviews on social media. They may also tell others about their bad experience in face to face conversations. Word of mouth is harder to measure than social media. No one is there to hear it and no permanent record remains.
Fixing the assembly instructions would remove the frustration and avoid these negative experiences. Success would mean fewer calls to customer service. Customers appreciate not having to spend their time waiting in a queue to resolve a simple issue. That is better than a fistful of resolved tickets any day.
2. If a billing problem spurs a call to customer service, resolving every single billing issue does not necessarily capture a billing system error. A billing system error can drive multiple customer contacts. It may also diminish trust in the company over time. If the problem is systemic, each customer may have the same error multiple times.
Billing systems errors could even effect monthly or quarterly financial statements.
3. If there is something turning off potential customers, you are unlikely to hear about it at the call center. People rarely call customer service to say I did not choose your company because of confusing pricing, assemble instructions or a poor reputation.
In short, a company can have great issue resolution scores. If the measurement stops there, the same company can have a terrible reputation. It can be bleeding customer loyalty away and fail to see the benefits of repeat business. Worse, they may never see failure coming.
Visa has gone through tremendous change to meet consumers where they are — on their mobile devices. There’s more to this change than paying on mobile rather than plastic.
Visa discovered that in the digital age, silos impede innovation. Leave them behind. Customers do not think about doing business with department x, y or z.
They are trying to get something done and you are just a piece of that journey. Buying your product or service likely is not the high point of their day.
If you want to please your customer, learn to think like them. Do not stop there. Organize the company to work that way.
Customers have choices. They do not care about your self-imposed labyrinth of departments, policies and procedures.
Customers will leave and give their money to someone who understands a company is there to serve the customer.
The customer hires you to do something to help them on their journey. If you do not get it, you are gone.
Yes, you can always get more customers. New customers cost more to serve. It is more profitable for you to change the organization than to try to impose change on the customer.
The elements of value approach extends Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs. Measuring—and delivering—what consumers really want.
Customers have changed. You do not have to adapt. You have the option to do business how you always have. Wait for customers to come around to your way of thinking.
You can choose to only target older customers, who want to play by the old rules. Granted they have a limited lifetime and your market will likely shrink continually over time.
Why chase new customers and understand what they value? They will be back! Any minute now. Time passes. Minutes become years.
You might be okay for a while. Then again, this change is not limited to chronological age. Lots of older consumers love the new array of choices and will not miss the choice of doing business your way or the highway.
If you choose to stay on the old path, do not be surprised to find that customers have moved on to another company, another dream and have taken their cash with them.
Anyone who has raised a kid, or been a kid, has seen the journey up close. Just like teenagers, customers are exploring their new power in the market. The change may be more like when highways transformed how traffic flows across the country. Cars full of customers bypass once thriving small towns. They might reminisce about the old days, but they will not move back.
Younger customers do not see the new ways of doing business as bad. They do not see it as change. To them, this is how the marketplace has always been. They want a conversation. You need to speak in their language to get through to them. Unlike teenagers, you cannot ground them until they agree to do things your way.
To succeed with today’s self-interested customers, companies need to understand how to see the world from the customer’s point of view.
The elements of value approach give us a way to engage today’s customers. It can help business people bridge the gap between the individual journey we all take, from meeting basic survival needs to enlightenment, and understanding the company’s new journey.
There is a pyramid to climb. Are you ready to begin?
Adblock Plus issued an update to its software that it says circumvents Facebook's newly released ad-block remedy, signaling another round of cat and mouse.
At its core, this battle is about money. Facebook is concerned about advertisers leaving. If advertisers leave, they take the cash that the site relies on. Every other web site is facing the same issue.
Consumers are concerned about privacy, security and paying for the increasing bandwidth required by bloated graphics and tracking. They want control over their data, computers and time.
The advertising industry has a stake in this as well. There is significant resistance to change to who controls the online experience.
Even if Facebook wins, customers are free to leave or, if they stay, they will ignore the ads.
There are numerous studies that show on-screen advertising are largely ignored. If ads get ignored, ad revenues are not likely to rise.
Four of Five American Consumers Ignore Online Ads Most Frequently
Brands are using social media more than ever, and users are ignoring them more than ever
Advertisers are recognizing that their strategies need to change.
Why P&G Decided Facebook Ad Targeting Often Isn't Worth the Money
While customers ignore the ads, they are searching. They look for new ways to remove advertisements. They search for new sites. Facebook somehow believes that they are immune to competition. They are wrong.
Consumer trust and Facebook are not synonymous. Facebook's history of constantly changing user's preference settings, may not make the social network the best champion for user choice.
This is how it has always been done. Times change. Users have changed. Even if an ad does appear on screen, there is no guarantee that it will be seen, much less get clicks.
Social media amplifies the voice of the customer. Consumers found they have a voice through social media. They are not waiting around to be given permission to change their own web browsing experience.
The public is not stupid. Most recognize that web sites cannot remain free without some kind of support. An arms race with the ad blocker community is likely the wrong way to react to the voice of the customer.
The battle has just begun.
In the meantime, here are more Ad Blocking stories that you might enjoy.
IAB To Advertisers and Content Providers: 'We Messed Up' http://sco.lt/7kC5Y1
Fact: Mobile ads consume up to 50% of the data Mobile Subscribers pay for http://sco.lt/5i4xfN
IAB Explores Its Options to Fight Ad Blockers, Including Lawsuits http://sco.lt/7Ktwkz
Phone Carriers Asked to Block Ads From Consumers' Data Charges http://sco.lt/5i4xfN
Study: Pre-Roll Ads Dramatically Increasing Ad-Block Installs http://sco.lt/6AFanR
Ad Blockers and the Next Chapter of the Internet http://sco.lt/7Megrp
Ad Blockers and the End of the Interactive Age of Innocence http://sco.lt/78m8mH
Benchmark: Customer Insights Begin With Customer Data http://sco.lt/7SI76H
Carriers at the U.S. Postal Service are paying a price for the convenience of online retail: they're getting bitten by dogs.
There is an app for that. USPS is tracking your animal. Even the cuddly ones.
Teams use the tech to track fans around, encourage them to upgrade seating, and connect them with sponsors.
Track me out at the ball game. Single me out from the crowd. Offer me upgrades to pricey box seats. Make me pay now in case I never come back.
Tempt me to buy, buy, buy from the home team. If they don't make a profit, I'm to blame. Turn down one, two, three offers, they'll still target your cash at the old ball game.
A network switch made by the firm Metamoko allows a trade order to be placed in the time it takes a photon to travel about 90 feet.
Here is another technology wonder that gives those with more money an edge over Joe Day Trader. Today profits and mistakes happen at the speed of light.
Most businesses cannot afford to be the fastest, or the cheapest, so you had better figure out a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
What is your strategy? What makes you special?
You have seen it all before. Once the dream is attained, the movie ends. The screen fades to black. Everyone goes home. What happens next is left for the sequel.
The sequel begins as boredom has set in. Our hero realizes they want more. So, they find a new dream. Anticipation begins anew!
Our hero, any you, realize that what we thought was a final destination was merely a stepping stone. How exciting!
Will the main character, our customer, have a new partner in the sequel? Our hero has changed. Did their old partner keep up or has their relationship lost its luster?
Always be seducing. If you have arrived you’re already done, even though the hero’s story goes on. Anticipate new needs and desires or your customer will move on without you.
Divorced. That is the word that describes people who believe that satisfying their partner's current aspirations will result in permanent relationship bliss. Keep the love alive!
Otherwise you hear something like this. It’s not you. It’s me. We can still be friends! Here’s a ticket. You can watch the sequel! No, you won’t get paid.