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5 apps to track your every idea

5 apps to track your every idea | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Google isn't the only company trying to dominate note-taking.
Don Dea's insight:

You're sitting in a café for a few minutes scrolling through the news on your tablet when a few ideas suddenly pop into your head about a project at work. In an earlier era, you'd probably jot the ideas down on a napkin and stuff it in your pocket. Or maybe you'd send a quick email to yourself. Neither option is particularly convenient.

Today, a number of online services are trying to solve the problem of note taking on the fly. They give people using a computer or mobile device a central place to save notes, links and photos. This week, Google joined the already crowded field by introducing Keep, a service that is clearly inspired by its rivals. Google's effort is inevitably a serious one, if only because it has such big name behind it and access to hundreds of millions of existing users.

Given the number of note taking services available, figuring out which one is best can be difficult. They all have strengths and weaknesses based on their features, design and compatibility. The differences between services are in the details.

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digitalNow
Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
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Grads of LifeVoice: Opportunity Lost? Local Workforce, Training And Education Policy Change Is Possible

Grads of LifeVoice: Opportunity Lost? Local Workforce, Training And Education Policy Change Is Possible | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Leading with questions has three core principles that comprise curious leadership:

1. Pause before you tell reminds leaders to create a conversational turning point so they can listen and learn from their teams.

2. Ask better questions suggests that leaders get curious about what’s possible and engage their teams in finding a solution that’s both innovative and inclusive.

3. Listen with impact means paying close attention to diverse points of view — and the ideas and emotions behind them — regardless of whether they agree with what’s being said.
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When To Let Your Imagination Lead

When To Let Your Imagination Lead | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Really great leaders not only think imaginatively, they also know when to act imaginatively.

Good and Bad Imaginative Thinking

Website design is an excellent area to consider the pros and cons of letting your imagination lead.

Bad imagination. Highly creative page layouts may look terrific in an art gallery, but will confuse and frustrate website visitors looking for information in a hurry. When imaginative solutions get in the way of clarity, when they make it harder rather than easier for customers to figure out what your business does and how you do it, then they are not good business solutions.

Good imagination. When imaginative thinking in website design helps rather than hinders customers, it becomes a very powerful tool. Organizations that identified the potential of mobile-friendly website design early on (five years ago) reaped tremendous benefits. Not only did they build their image as forward-thinking organizations, they had a five-year head start in perfecting their mobile site designs. As a result, they enjoy more website traffic and conversions than their less imaginative competitors.

General Thoughts About Imagination

Can we draw any general conclusions from these simple examples? I’ll try.

When imaginative thinking anticipates what customers, employees and stakeholders want from a business in the future and lays the groundwork now, then it creates competitive advantage. Timing is everything. Implementing imaginative solutions too abruptly can easily cause widespread confusion among customers and inefficiencies within organizations.
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The Internet of Things: IoT Solutions and its Benefits 

The Internet of Things: IoT Solutions and its Benefits  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
There are three things which are required in the main process of IoT –

People
Devices (with sensors)
Servers
The things which are using the internet to make connections and respond to other devices, people or systems are called the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is playing a significant role in our lives and serving as an ecosystem which interconnects physical objects and systems in order to perform task smartly.

It could be a car which can be monitored to check fuel or its engine condition or an AC which can be operated remotely [like when you are not at home and you have forgotten to off it, you can make it off or operate it without specific AC remote] or any physical object with built-in sensors. These objects have been assigned with an IP address and after building robust connection, data transfer takes place with manual assistance or computing intervention. And then actions are generated.

Consumers are demanding devices which support IoT and organizations are trying to capitalize on it. In this post, we would like to throw light on IoT to make your vision more clear towards it. Let’s get started-

What will be discussed?

What is IoT?
Why we need IoT?
Benefits of IoT
How is IoT contributing to businesses?
The relation between IoT and cloud computing. How their synergism is benefitting us?
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Which is more integral to success: Digitization or customer experience? 

What is more integral to success, digitization or customer experience?
Both digital technology and customer experience are integral to competitiveness today, but I would argue that customer experience is more important because it provides vision and direction, without which technology provides no value. Digitization is in many cases an integral part of keeping customers happy, but it is not enough to grow or sustain relationships; you need to know what to build. By understanding our customers, how they engage with us, what they are trying to achieve, etc., we have the vision and guidance for change.

Key Takeaways
Customer satisfaction is correlated with much higher returns to shareholders than digitization
Customer experience increases success of digitization initiatives
Therefore, customer experience is a more direct cause of success than digitization
Prioritize customer experience at multiple levels of the organization to drive growth
customer centric culture
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“I Can See Clearly Now:” Calibrating Research to Understand the Whole Human

“I Can See Clearly Now:” Calibrating Research to Understand the Whole Human | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Enter The “Human Decision-Making Framework”

Based on our learnings from both academic and practitioner perspectives, two truths ¬¬have become crystal clear:

1. Humans represent the most sophisticated “neural networks” known today; leveraging their minds, hearts and bodies—in differing degrees and in differing situations—to make decisions across all spectrums of life.

2. Consumer intelligence, as it relates to corporate decision making, requires a rigorous framework to ensure that consumer wisdom accurately reflects the reality of its complex decision-making process.

In 2016, Gongos developed the “Human Decision-Making Framework,” a construct that not only illustrates, but guides approaches to address insights-related challenges to comprehend the rational, emotional and physical dimensions of consumer-based decisions.
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Troublesome Trends & Predictions for 2018 

Example #1: Relabeling Rather Than Revamping

While in conversation at a conference where I was speaking, I asked someone what he did for a living. He said he was in Customer Experience. However, after probing further, I learned he was in market research a year ago and changed his job title. I asked if the organization was doing anything different than a year ago. They were not. Herein lies the problem:

People are adding Customer Experience to job titles and projects but are not making fundamental changes to improve the customer’s experience.

The Customer Experience discipline has grown over the years. Many people jumped on the bandwagon and like my friend in market research, changed their job titles. However, they are not doing anything different than in the past. The danger is that relabeling positions or projects without revamping the experience to have a customer focus creates the perception that Customer Experience efforts are ineffective. If you consider the sheer number of Customer Experience jobs and then compare it to the improvements made, the results suggest that Customer Experience does not warrant the resources devoted to it.
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How To Get Your Audience To Like You 

How To Get Your Audience To Like You  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
How Can We Get An Audience To “Like” Us?
If you want to have any hope of getting your next audience to like you, then you are going to have to take the time to analyze them. Just exactly who is sitting in your audience? You are going to need to get answers to questions such as why the audience would be willing to listen to you and just exactly what are they expecting to get out of your speech?

You need to start things off by taking the time to analyze your audience. An important person to talk to is the event organizer. You want to ask them find out who will be in your audience. You are going to want to discover what your audience’s interests and priorities are and so you’ll need to do some online homework as you search for what current issues they are talking about.

In order to get your audience to like you, you are going to have to be able to provide them with valuable information. This means that you are going to need to discover what they want to learn from your speech. When you provide them with information, what do they think that they can do with it? When you have collected this information, you can then use it to create a speech that you’ve been able to customize to meet this audience’s unique set of needs.
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How to lead authentically

How to lead authentically | digitalNow | Scoop.it
What are the key qualities of authentic leaders?

Purpose driven – Authentic leaders are driven to discover who they really are, to identify and connect with their "why." They use that sense of purpose to inform decision making and stay balanced and focused, regardless of external realities.
Listeners – An authentic leader is a good listener who seeks and integrates feedback. 
Dialoguers – Authentic leaders promote safe, trustworthy dialogue. They master the art of conversation and share their leadership story or point of view, especially with people new to the organization. 
Connectors – Authentic leaders lean into challenges and go the extra mile to work with, understand and develop the people they are privileged to lead. 
Here are some strategies to help build your authenticity.

Learn to live in your comfort zone. Stay consistently true to your values, even when it seems more comfortable or convenient to adjust your style to outside whims and interests.
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The leader next door

The leader next door | digitalNow | Scoop.it
If I didn’t know better, it probably wouldn’t occur to me that these people were leaders. They look like regular people, doing regular things, just like you and me. I see them in the library and the supermarket, at the mall and at the movies.

What is it that makes Shari, Ben, Marie, Deanne and Cathy leaders? Do they have experience as corporate CEOs, government officials or college professors? Were they part of some special leadership training or apprenticeship program? Nope. Ben is a retired certified public accountant, and Marie stayed home to raise their sons. Shari is a nurse. Cathy is an administrative assistant. Deanne’s health issues prevent her from working more than a few hours a week as a lunch aide in a nearby school.

What makes them special is this: they choose to be leaders. They see a need and choose to do something about it. They don’t waste time worrying about limitations—their own or anyone else’s—and they certainly don’t pay any mind to what rewards they may or may not receive for their efforts. Their choice to lead is grounded in gratitude for the ability to do something that helps someone else.

Take a look around your own neighborhood. I guarantee that you are surrounded by community leaders who are every bit as committed as my local aquaintances. Do you have youth sports in your town? Community leaders started those programs. A food pantry? A community theater program? A newly revitalized public playground?

These things don’t happen by themselves. Someone, at some point, saw a need and decided to do something about it. Granted, once they made the decision, they followed up with persistent effort. That makes them great workers. But it’s the decision, the choice to lead, that turned them into leaders.

Now I have a question for you: Are you a leader? The answer is as easy as saying, “Yes!”
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Keys to Building a Customer Centric Advantage –

Keys to Building a Customer Centric Advantage – | digitalNow | Scoop.it
To help evaluate your positioning, you should ask thought-provoking questions.

Here are a few examples.

*  Is your target market still relevant to your brand?
*  Are there new audiences you should be talking to?
*  Are you reaching customers in the way they want to be reached?
*  Are you consistently delivering on customer expectations?
*  How loyal are your customers? Do you really know?
*  Is customer service and experience the cornerstone of your business or just rhetoric?
*  How can you attract and retain customers for life?
*  What kinds of customers don’t you want to do business with?

No matter what industry or business you’re in, you’re in the people business. And the balance of power has shifted. Customers have the power today.
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Cultivate coachability with these 5 mindsets

Cultivate coachability with these 5 mindsets | digitalNow | Scoop.it
he relational mindset
The quality of coaching is directly proportionate to the quality of relationships. Effective leaders understand this and, as a result, prioritize the human connection. They know they must ‘earn the right’ to support the growth and performance of others. They do this by investing in getting to know others and in understanding their motivations. They model authenticity and encourage the same from others. They build a foundation of trust by maintaining confidentiality and following through on commitments. And they convey respect in all that they do. As relationships deepen and trust grows, people are naturally more receptive to coaching and coaches have a solid, knowledgeable base to support their efforts.

The listening mindset
The most effective coaches are frequently people of few words… because they are considerably more focused on listening than on speaking. Listening certainly contributes to the quality of relationships and provides the coach with important context and content. But, even more important than that, listening creates a space that allows others to reflect, process ideas, talk through their issues and ultimately arrive at their own solutions. Truly appreciating the transformative power of listening is the foundation of this mindset and leaders can bring it to life when they:

Put aside distractions and give their full attention to others.
Ask curious, thought-provoking questions that help people think differently or more deeply.
Suspend judgment, assumptions, and the need to fix other people and/or their problems.
Notice not only what’s said but how it’s said and what’s not said, and the emotions all of this conveys.
Guide people toward their own conclusions and answers.
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The Three Levels of Progress in Jobs Theory 

If you can identify these three levels of progress, you can align them to the six organic growth paths, and five market strategies
Using the lens of the job that must be accomplished is perhaps the best way to bring stability and predictability into the innovation world. We view the job as…

…a lens through which you can observer markets, customers, needs, competitors, and customer segments differently. The unit of analysis is no longer the customer or the product, it’s the core functional job there are trying to get done

What Is Jobs-to-be-Done?

Everything I have ever done in my career (and life) could demonstrate progress (uh, sometimes). For example, when I was rating credit portfolios in commercial banking there was a beginning (prep), middle (doing the review) and end (communicating the results to the poor lending executives). When I was building software there was a beginning (planning), middle (building & testing), and end (releasing to users). Going from current state, to future state is the progress achieved when getting a job done.
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Age Matters – Generational Marketing from Baby Boomers to GenZ 

Age Matters – Generational Marketing from Baby Boomers to GenZ  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Baby Boomers: New Tactics, New Products
The oldest of the group, Baby Boomers have been under the microscope for some time in terms of their shopping habits. While they may stick to traditional shopping methods, such as shopping in-store or from a physical catalog, retail marketers should incorporate new engagement tactics, especially when it comes to email.

For example, Colloquy found that just 37 percent of baby boomers said they’re likely to look around a store for new products. If this discovery behavior carries over to the online store, marketers need to get creative about how they expose more products to this generation. One way to do this is through strategic email marketing that takes each customer on a journey to show them products they are interested in today while conditioning them for future purchases in different categories.

GenX: Customer Experience Matters
Generation X is an interesting age group since it is sandwiched between two major and very distinct generations, Baby Boomers and Millennials. While they may not be as tech-savvy as Generation Y and Z, GenX represents a huge presence that retail marketers need to consider. And for this generation, customer experience is a huge priority, according to a study from the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC). In fact, the research found that 86 percent of Generation X-ers would switch to a competitor due to poor service. Essentially, brand loyalty hinges on the customer experience when it comes to this generation.
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In today’s interconnected, tech-enabled world, complexity is a game that business leaders cannot afford to ignore. –

In today’s interconnected, tech-enabled world, complexity is a game that business leaders cannot afford to ignore. – | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Here are four key steps companies should take to simplify their business processes: 

First, businesses should use a process platform as its single point of truth for process information. To do that, a collaboration point and platform for “how we do things here” should be created. This will serve to effectively capture the critical process know-how of the company, which represents the key first step toward exposing the level of unnecessary complexity that exists.

Second, it is essential for companies to make their process knowledge simple for teams to use. Process information must be engaging, user-friendly, and useful. Organizations must consider the needs of each team when deciding the format in which to present process flows. Keep it simple and provide additional detail if and when needed. Teams will embrace process knowledge as a change enabler only if that information is easy to understand and easy to use.

Next, it is important for businesses to assign accountability for business processes to specific “owners.” A healthy process improvement culture depends on empowered process owners who are willing and able to step up and take responsibility. If business teams don’t feel they own their processes, their ability and belief that they have a right to change processes in order to reduce complexity will be limited.
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Obituaries remind us to think about the legacy we're creating

Obituaries remind us to think about the legacy we're creating | digitalNow | Scoop.it
As anyone who has read my columns over the years knows, I am deeply indebted to obituary writers.

I like drawing nuggets that illustrate aspects of the human condition and serve as role models -- or sometimes caution lights -- to the rest of us.

Our lives, if we are lucky, are a long string of hits and some misses that are woven across a lifetime of living, interacting with spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends and colleagues.

At a certain point, you feel you have lived awhile but when you read an obituary, you see that you can sum up a life pretty quickly in 500 to 1,000 words.

Even a long obituary cannot capture the entirety of a person’s life. Nor should it. What you are going for is the essence of a person. What did she do? How did she do it? How did she overcome obstacles? And what to people think of her then and now?

Such questions might serves as notes of reflection for all of us. Thinking about our end is really thinking about our legacy. We will be remembered by those whose lives we touched.
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What are the Best Demand Marketing Channels for 2018?

2018’s 5 Best Demand Marketing Channels
Even demand generation marketers operating in narrow verticals use a broad number of owned and paid channels for top-funnel lead generation. And this is just to get started – marketers still must employ a litany of tactics to convert these contacts into qualified leads and sales opportunities.

The range of sources, channels and tactics is so broad that most B2B marketers struggle to orchestrate and scale demand generation. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as “one channel to rule them all,” but time and time again, these five channels, when mixed diligently according to specific organizational needs, provide the lead quality, volume and conversion rates every demand generation team seeks.

1. A Company Blog
A company blog should be the cornerstone of your demand strategy. While a blog is a great way to generate quality leads, the primary goal should be to build credibility among your target audience by providing helpful content. 

A company blog can also be a valuable tool for marketing experiments around ideas. Here at Integrate, we use our blog as an incubator for our POVs, messaging ideas and concepts that are later used to drive bigger content projects.

To drive success with a blog, your results all rest on the credibility and helpfulness. If you approach this owned channel with a goal of delivering audience value and earning an industry reputation for thought leadership, this demand generation channel can offer many benefits to your overall B2B marketing efforts, including traffic to your landing pages and quality inbound lead generation. Conversely, if you treat your blog simply as a conduit for lead volume, it won’t perform as expected.

2. Webinars
In the 2017 Demand Gen Report survey, webinars were the second highest rated channel for generating qualified, top-funnel leads (62%). When webinars are co-created with industry influencers and promoted wisely, registrations can be a high-powered source of quality leads.
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“Less is More”: Four Steps to Aligning Your Project Queue and Goals Today

“Less is More”: Four Steps to Aligning Your Project Queue and Goals Today | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Here are common decision drivers: 

How high is the bottom line benefit? Simply, quantify what the project will mean to the company’s bottom line each year. This can be through cost savings and/or more revenue. Score 9 for a project with a benefit above a high dollar threshold, score 1 for project with a benefit below a low dollar threshold, and 3 for everything in between.
How low is the cost of implementation? Here’s where you will consider the cost of executing the project. You’ll want to look at hard costs (out of pocket), as well as soft costs (the impact on your human and other resources). Score 9 for a project below a low cost threshold, score 1 for a project exceeding a high cost threshold, and 3 for everything in between.
How well does it strategically align with company goals? Does it support what the company has set forth to accomplish in the current term? If the stated objectives are to grow by a certain metric, or in a certain geographic area, or within a certain demographic, does your project directly support that focus? Score 9 for high alignment, Score 1 for low alignment, and 3 for everything in between.
How much additional risk does the project bring?  Does the project bring additional risk to the company in terms of exposure to regulatory or compliance issues, increase in loss expense, reputational risk, etc.  Score 9 for low to no additional risk, Score 1 for high additional risk, and 3 for everything in between. 
For each project, then multiply the individual scores together to magnify the difference between projects.  (For those of you familiar with Six Sigma, this is the same approach used in the Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.) 

Ranking all projects by these final scores will prioritize the entire project queue against the set criteria. 
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Rethinking how we define and track workforce diversity

Rethinking how we define and track workforce diversity | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Should we expand our definition of workforce diversity?
In researching the wisdom of including aspects of personality, experiential and cognitive endowments in our workforce planning dialogs, I’m truly divided on whether and how to start adding these new dimensions of diversity into the discussion.

The upside of an expanded definition of diversity seems obvious if it can lead us to find sound business reasons to be even more inclusive of people who have been shut out of the system due to unconscious bias. It gives us reasons to encourage budding trends towards greater inclusion for people regardless of military work history, marital status, genetic proclivities, personality type, gender expression and dis/ability status1.

As the research showing business benefits indicates, evolving our concept of diversity provides individual leaders an expanded lens through which to examine their own leadership style and potential for unconscious bias. It provides sound business reasons to invite everyone on the team (regardless of their race, gender or extrovertism) to participate fully in conversation and problem-solving. For organizations, it provides a new challenge for us to grow our leaders to become more aware of their biases and give them tools to challenge themselves to grow beyond them.
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Five ways IoT is changing the workplace 

1. Hire the right skill sets from the start

While IoT-enabled products promise consumers efficiency and simplicity, these same connected devices also add complexity for those in support roles. When a customer reaches out for assistance, contact center agents will need to understand not only the supported solution, but the entire ecosystem of connected devices, services, and software that surround that solution, and how they interact. Organizations, therefore, need to re-evaluate and re-calibrate their hiring criteria in response.

Today’s agents must not only be people-focused and derive satisfaction from helping customers; they must also be tech-focused, inquisitive problem solvers with an innate curiosity and affinity for technology and gadgets. Hiring for these skill sets takes on a particular urgency in industries such as health care where the complexity factor is higher, and where timely, proactive support of connected devices can significantly impact patient well-being.

2. Implementation of new data strategies and policies

The abundance of information produced from connected devices is seemingly infinite, and when it comes to customer service, the implications of this data are two-fold. On one side, contact center agents will now have even greater access to customer information. The complexity of IoT-enabled devices often requires co-browsing or remote access in order to accurately troubleshoot the issue.

While privacy and security are always top of mind in the contact center, forward-thinking customer service organizations are emphasizing their security and privacy standards. This includes hiring staff only after extensive background checks and, once on the call center floor, agent activity remains carefully monitored. Key security messaging must also be incorporated into ongoing training and coaching programs to ensure agents are armed with the appropriate information to put customers at ease.
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No development budget? Internal career mobility is still within your reach

No development budget? Internal career mobility is still within your reach | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Reframe the discussion on “growth”
Many employees still equate professional “growth” with a promotion. Leaders need to reframe that conversation, not only because a focus on promotion limits employees’ opportunities, but also because growth comes in many forms.

Chad Koetje, a national accounts manager for a technology firm, has held several leadership positions in his 20-year career. Koetje has found that “employees (especially those new to the workforce) are so concerned with advancement. They tend to underestimate the value that lateral mobility provides.”

Koetje coaches young, ambitious team members by pointing to senior leaders in the organization who have held a variety of similar-level positions. This helps employees realize how a well-rounded set of experiences is a legitimate way to advance in one’s career.

“[Younger employees] tend to focus more on the job title than the value of the experience they will gain,” Koetje says, so he views his role as helping them see the longer horizon and benefits they’ll experience by trying out lateral job opportunities.
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The leader next door

The leader next door | digitalNow | Scoop.it
What makes them special is this: they choose to be leaders. They see a need and choose to do something about it. They don’t waste time worrying about limitations—their own or anyone else’s—and they certainly don’t pay any mind to what rewards they may or may not receive for their efforts. Their choice to lead is grounded in gratitude for the ability to do something that helps someone else.

Take a look around your own neighborhood. I guarantee that you are surrounded by community leaders who are every bit as committed as my local aquaintances. Do you have youth sports in your town? Community leaders started those programs. A food pantry? A community theater program? A newly revitalized public playground?

These things don’t happen by themselves. Someone, at some point, saw a need and decided to do something about it. Granted, once they made the decision, they followed up with persistent effort. That makes them great workers. But it’s the decision, the choice to lead, that turned them into leaders.

Now I have a question for you: Are you a leader? The answer is as easy as saying, “Yes!”
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Keys to Building a Customer Centric Advantage –

Keys to Building a Customer Centric Advantage – | digitalNow | Scoop.it
“Good is the enemy of great.” — Jim Collins

The challenge for business leaders is to see this relationship from both sides: You need to understand how prospects discover, view, and interact with your brand and at the same time you have to find the group of consumers who are the most likely to respond to your brand’s competitive edge. Once this group is identified, you must communicate with them and care for them properly.

To help evaluate your positioning, you should ask thought-provoking questions.

Here are a few examples.

*  Is your target market still relevant to your brand?
*  Are there new audiences you should be talking to?
*  Are you reaching customers in the way they want to be reached?
*  Are you consistently delivering on customer expectations?
*  How loyal are your customers? Do you really know?
*  Is customer service and experience the cornerstone of your business or just rhetoric?
*  How can you attract and retain customers for life?
*  What kinds of customers don’t you want to do business with?
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Venture Capital Trends for 2018 –

Venture Capital Trends for 2018 – | digitalNow | Scoop.it
More Available Information
Next, venture capital firms and their stakeholders will continue to strive for more investor education opportunities. With the wide availability of information online now, it’s much easier for investors to educate themselves about each potential opportunity. Large venture capital firms are also making client education more of a priority so their investors can feel more confident and comfortable about their financial situation.

Focus on Cultural Diversity
Diversity is another big trend that should grow throughout 2018 and beyond in venture capital funding. Now, big firms are looking for more diverse opportunities. The venture capital landscape has been traditionally a world populated with white men and individuals with wealthy backgrounds from English-speaking countries. Today, venture capitalists are learning about the wealth of opportunities found in other developing countries and are actively recruiting companies and personnel from more diverse backgrounds.

Large Corporations Getting Involved
Another trend that may grow in the next few years concerns corporate venture capital funding. Some of the largest corporations on the planet also have healthy business funding programs that seek small companies to help mentor and support. In some cases, these funding opportunities turn into business partnerships that mutually benefit each organization. More big-name companies may start doing this to help reach their own financial and long-term goals.

Efforts to Focus on Women
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An Inconvenient Truth: 93% of Customer Experience Initiatives are Failing…

Maybe you think I’m being too hard on CX. “Give it time” I hear some saying. It’s true that a majority of CX initiatives in my study claim they are “making progress” and some will no doubt turn into success stories. But CRM didn’t get more time 10 years in — it was widely declared a failure because it didn’t live up the hype. So executives moved on to… CX. Will the pattern repeat?

Before you dismiss my post as a “sky is falling” rant, consider this…

The CX movement is roughly 20 years old (since early books were published). Actually, you could start the CX clock a decade earlier, with Jan Carlzon’s groundbreaking 1987 book Moments of Truth. Compared to that, I’m a newcomer, researching and promoting CX since 2005. On CustomerThink we have over 10,000 posts from the brightest CX minds.

And that’s not all. The CXPA was launched in 2011 to make CX a real profession, and it has succeeded. Hundreds of consulting and tech firms are offering CX services and solutions. A lot of good work has been done to understand what drives CX success. Executives are not repeating the sins of CRM past — buying software and expecting magical results.

I’m not the only one with concerns. Here’s a sampling of posts sounding the alarm in recent weeks:

Amanda Forshew: 2017 the Year of Undelivered Promise
Ian Golding: The Customer Experience ‘7 Year Itch’! A frank and honest assessment of the CX profession
Colin Shaw: Troublesome Trends & Predictions for 2018
Mohamed Latib: Customer Experience will be a Fad without a Better Business Case
I could go on, but hopefully the point is made — it’s time for CX to put up, or shut up. Otherwise, CX will soon become yesterday’s news as business executives look elsewhere for something that will help their business grow.

What is the Problem? Solution?
I write this post to not just sound the alarm, but to stimulate some useful discussion about why CX is failing, and what to do about it.

To start off, I’ll share what learned from a discussion with Paul Hagen, a former Forrester CX analyst now head of Customer Experience & Innovation Strategy at West Monroe Partners. Like me, he’s worried about CX’s future, wondering “when will the term go away” as executives “focus on the next shiny object.”

Hagen points to combination of strategy and execution as reasons for few CX success stores. On the strategy side, he says some Chief Customer/Experience Officers are coming into their jobs without training on design thinking. CEOs are giving lip service to CX, without really understanding what it means.

According to a new study by West Monroe Partners and the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) called “Adapt or Fail: The Customer Experience Imperative”:

61% of CX execs say their company’s ability to quickly adapt is a top strategic priority. Despite this, nearly a quarter of the respondents’ orgs have no one dedicated to these efforts – and it’s time CX professionals stepped up to the plate.
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Customer Experience will be a Fad without a Better Business Case 

To convince the C-Suite to sustain investment, CX initiatives must show a cause and effect relationship on revenue growth and profitability. Without quantitative evidence, CX principles risk becoming the latest business strategy fad.

Net Promoter Score
The current business case for CX initiatives relies on a correlation between customer survey ratings and company-level growth or revenue per customer.

Net Promoter Score (NPS), the most hyped CX measure, is logically connected to improved financial results, but honestly, has weak quantitative support. NPS is a loyalty metric derived from customer surveys asking, on a ten-point scale, “How likely is it that you would recommend our organization to a friend or colleague?” The NPS is the percent of total responses rating 9 or 10 (the highest Promoters) minus the percent that score 0 to 6 (Detractors).

NPS has a strong pedigree. It was developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix Systems. Forrester, the major research firm, identified a positive correlation between NPS and company or division-level revenue growth.

Sounds good, except there has been no publication of analysis isolating NPS from other potential growth drivers:

Having a superior product
Having large and memorable marketing expenditures
What about geographic expansion or blunders by competitors?
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