Navigating the new era will be a time for the brave – the timid and late will be faced with the threat of having value propositions eroded and weakened by competitors who have chosen to operate by a new set of rules. Choosing to retain solace in traditional thinking principles will invite new and adaptive competitors to reshape the expectations of your customers.
The context has changed – barriers have now been broken and a globalised world is driving a new business reality. The brave will need to tool-up, re-skill and change shape to meet the challenge.
1. Fierce Competition
The changing fundamentals of the business landscape through the rapid spread of digital technology infrastructure (the power source) is creating a liberalisation across markets and borders reducing entry levels allowing for a new type of competitor to emerge. This new competitor is not in the same form as the traditional competitor. Businesses may not see them unless they have adjusted to see in this new environment. The new competitor is more agile and geared to meet customers on new terms reshaping cost and time perceptions. They are hungry and continuously drive to create and renew – because the minute they stop they will be eaten up by another competitor just as fierce.
2. Shorter Cycles
With the digital era comes an insatiable appetite for the new and fresh with connected customers being spoilt for choice as benefits upscale and more competitors armed with the tools and knowledge enter the market. To feed this insatiable customer desire, the window for fad and fashion cycles are smaller with many only experiencing a spike in demand. Businesses have a smaller window to monetise a product and then replace it with another on a continuous relentless cycle that is getting shorter in lifespan. The luxury of the traditional product life-cycle moving through its orderly phases of introduction, growth, maturity and then the inedible decline is a thing of the past – connectivity is shattering the order and length of market relevance.
3. Demanding Customer
As the barriers are reduced and competition increases, the customer is becoming more demanding in their quest to have immediate and on-going needs satisfied. They will not be charmed by loyalty; instead they will be lured by the next best thing that will maximise their benefit gain. Past tactics of locking customers into loyalty programmes has gone. Customers are seeking the best offer when they have the need to make the purchase – and from a platform and device that aligns with their professional and personal lifestyle.
4. Adaption of Business Capabilities
More than ever, the agility of the workforce to adapt and reshape their skill-sets will determine the fate of the organisation in its quest to stay relevant in a fiercely competitive environment. The new business challenge is to understand how to balance and integrate these new capabilities to fit the continuous technology cycle and changing customer demands.
5. Judged on Benefit-Gain
With the digital world comes transparency. An organisation’s challenge is to focus on delivering a superior benefit-gain that will differentiate the offer against its competitors. With more options to choose from, customers have better information to judge on how the product will add to their lives. Their purchasing decisions will follow.
6. Fleeting Sustainability
Achieving long-term sustainability is not in an organisation’s grasp. The challenge will be to stay relevant in the eyes of the customer by building and shifting business assumptions to fit the external environment and staying ahead of competitors. Sustainability is in the now – the decisions that are made today will affect how the business will prosper tomorrow.
The changing era presents threats as well as opportunities – but the biggest risk to organisations is to do nothing at all.