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Digital Transformation

Customer obsession: The next wave of competitive advantage


Last week, I was fortunate to attend a presentation by Kyle McNabb, VP of Research Strategy at Forrester. He spoke about how empowered customers have given rise to a new era. “The device is not the problem, the problem is what we can do with the device,” he said.

McNabb continued to tell the audience about how the connected consumer is impacting the way we do business. Here are my notes from the session:

 by Record TV (1)

Early adoption is becoming cheaper and easier

Ten years ago, early adoption meant you were willing to spend $2-5,000 on a plasma TV. You were willing to invest your hard earned money knowing that it might not work out, but it might be fun for a while.

Now that early adopter cost is negligible. The cost of innovation and the cost of consumers to adopt it has erroded to zero. That is what is changing the fundamental dynamics of how we engage with brands.
“Technology is impacting every piece of our lives.”

This isn’t about technology. This is about people and how we are changing.

Forrester has 20 years of history about how people are changing.
This is what’s keeping CIOs and CMOs up at night:
  • 53% of consumers agree that price is more important than brand.
  • 74% of B2B buyers start their research online
  • 41% of showroomers end up buying at another retailer
  • 35% of US adults are interested in digital wallets
  • 14% of US adults track their fitness

Customer-obsession is the next wave of competitive advantage.

We (at Forrester) believe customer-obsession is the next wave of competitive advantage. Everyone can say they’re “customer-centric.” The firms I’m going to show you are the ones that actually do it, because they’ve changed their operating model and are looking at technology differently so that they can become “customer obsessed.”

The CIO and CMO are the primary stakeholders for technology investments. What can you do with technology, systems and processes to get after that customer? Define a new operating model that is fueled by technologies that support the customer life cycle.
At this point, Kyle referred to the Forrester report he authored titled “Top Technologies for your Business Technology Agenda.” The Business Technology Agenda is driving projects, shifting how firms are spending money. What do CMOs and CIOs have to do differently to develop a new competitive advantage in this age?
“Put the customer at the center of their decision-making.”

Companies that define digital transformation

“Don’t be digital to be digital. Be digital because your customers are digital.”

  • by Record TVSouthwest disrupted the airline industry because they care about the customer. Their mission: “We like to think of ourselves as a customer service company that happens to fly airplanes.”
    • They were early adopters of wifi on the plane.
    • Their mobile app attracts you as you make the purchase, 2 days before, day-of and day after your travel.
    • Their contact center knows your full profile and history so they can best serve you.
  • BCBS Florida is trying to identify their consumers’ journeys so that they can be there at the moment of the customer’s need.
  • Lego takes their mission to heart. They are focused on parents too.
  • Farm Credit Bureau of America in Nebraska, serving farmers. They’ve embraced agile, personas and journey mapping to be digital.
 “Stop thinking of marketing as a flash-in-the pan campaign. Instead build a platform others can add to, that lives for a very long time.” – Sona Chowla, CMO and President of Digital at Walgreens
Southwest was killing Delta, so Delta had to respond. Delta changed the experience at the gate – they have computers, serve drinks, etc… at the gates.

Are you focused on growing budget priorities? (are you going where the puck is or where it’s going?) The majority of new projects that get identified and funded inside an organization will be around what the firm is doing to respond to customers.

“Don’t talk about what you do. Talk about what your customers need and how you can help them in their moment of need. ”

Don’t give them a generic view of digital transformation. Help them understand how you can solve their problems and help drive growth.

What’s it mean to you?

  • Growth, customer acquisition and loyalty, and product and service innovation fuel spend today.
  • North American firms simply don’t have the resources to keep pace with their customers.
  • Help leaders accelerate their digital business future.

Digital Transformation Webinar

We are addressing digital transformation in our webinar this Thursday. We will have special guest Nigel Fenwick, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Digital Business Strategy, Forrester Research, included in a live broadcast round table webinar with Perficient’s David Stallsmith, Director, Customer Experience and Digital Transformation and Michael Porter, Managing Principal, Strategic Advisers. Register below or at this link.


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Erin Moloney

As the leader of Perficient's Dallas-Fort Worth geography, Erin is responsible for delivery excellence, sales, marketing, career development, partnerships, recruiting, and community engagement. She was a founding Co-Chair of Perficient's Women in Tech global employee resource group. Erin is a member of the DFW Alliance of Technology and Women and the Texas Women’s Foundation. Our Dallas-area marketing, strategy and technology experts are responsible for delivering a world-class experience for our clients. Erin's goals are to build career paths and professional development for each Dallas-based team member, grow our visibility and business relationships in North Texas, and to foster an exciting work environment for our employees.

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