Digital Disruption – Don’t react … Prepare.

Are you aware of and mindful of digital disruption? It is not always a negative thing as some would assume. Digital disruption can be a very positive force, and as long as you are on the top of the wave, it can mean huge gains for your business. Ignore it however, at your own peril. Being prepared in business is always smart. Having an emergency financial fund, planning for holiday increases or slow periods are covered under business 101. Today, we want to talk about how to get ahead of the curve and prepare for something that catches many businesses off guard, digital disruption.

What Is Digital Disruption?

Digital disruption is a gradual or sudden change that comes about by way of emerging digital technology. Digital transformations can affect everything from consumer behavior, to business models. These new technologies, tools and methodologies can actually impact the value of an existing product or product line, even a service offered to the public. This is why the term ‘disruption’ is used. As these new digital products/services/businesses disrupt the current market, they can cause a need for a re-evaluation of your business. No business is immune. From healthcare providers, to manufacturers, airlines, to plumbers. All can fall prey, and size is no protection.

Here is an example of Digital Disruption ignored: Kodak

The mighty Eastman Kodak company was one of the first to introduce the hand-held camera to the world. TheyKodak Camera, Kodak Logo practically had a monopoly for most of the 20th and into the 21st century, but Kodak did not keep up with the changing identity of their customer base and the changing needs of those consumers. They failed to see and capture a ‘future’ market that led to eventual catastrophic failure.

Digital camera technology came along and suddenly, the digital camera was no longer simply a piece of photographic equipment, but a user-friendly, fun and easy to use gadget. Also, Kodak missed a paradigm shift in the demographic profile of their target customer.  Historically, they targeted females with their marketing, the woman in the household typically collected images of family, but suddenly the male digital camera market opened up because of the ‘gadget culture’. Fatally, Kodak either completely missed, or chose to ignored this shift. Other digital camera brands started using marketing messages that further changed perceptions and actually created a ‘need’ for photographic gadgets.

Sony and Canon swooped in and stole the hearts and minds of consumers with their new cameras technologies and approaches, while Kodak continued to advertise film-based cameras, fighting the change for as long as they could. Even in the face of declining market share, they refused to succumb to the inevitable force of digital disruption. The picture became bleaker by the month, and in 2012, they eventually declared bankruptcy, a titan of industry, brought to its knees by digital disruption.

How Can Digital Disruption Impact Your Business?

What lesson we can learn from Kodak’s total failure? First, it is that digital disruption is an unstoppable force. It will happen and is happening every day, all around you, whether you are aware of it or not. Secondly, trying to fight it or ignore it, is futile. Burying your head in the sand is no defense. You must embrace and adapt, or be consumed.

But how does a business embrace digital disruption, or even plan for or adapt to it?  Keeping an eye on the ball and knowing the signs of digital disruption that are emerging in your industry can be a full time job for sure, but a solid digital partner can be invaluable in helping you get ahead of the game, working with the flow, not against it. Not only will this prevent the wave of digital disruption from washing away your success, a true digital partner can help you take advantage of new and emerging opportunities you may otherwise miss, leading to further growth for your business.

As Kodak found out, digital disruption can also mark a change in consumer need. A digital partner can make sure you are working with the tide of change, allowing you to fulfill these emerging needs. Keeping your existing customers engaged and happy, and opening up opportunities for new customers to find what they need from your brand.

Don’t fear digital disruption, it may be a powerful surge or an eroding stream for your business right now, but call ChartLocal Digital Marketing Fulfillment and Consulting Co. at 888-826-8060 and let us show you how to ride the wave, not fight the tide.