A Sharing Economy Is the Newest Disruption to Customer Service
customer service
Who truly knows where any of these disruptions came from in the first place. We could go way back in time to when - and even this very topic has found its way into debates - IBM released its creatively named IBM PC (codenamed Acorn). It had a state of the art 8088 processor, a whopping 16 kilobytes worth of memory and utilized MS-DOS. Pretty sure it was totally busy disrupting the game in 1981.

Even though there were plenty of so-called "computers" before the IBM PC, like with anything dealing with technology, there becomes a point when you can no longer truly draw a line and say, "This is where it all started."

We are nearing 40-years since the IBM PCs release - from 16 kilobytes of memory to hundreds of gigabytes (and that's still not enough) - and now our lives are managed by not only tiny gadgets that equal 8,250,000 IBM PC's memory wise, but those gadgets themselves are being controlled by virtual clouds.

Imagine explaining that to your great grandpa back in 1981 when the average middle-class family never even thought about buying a personal computer. This is how much technology has altered our existence.

Who Is Exactly Disrupting Who These Days

The word “disrupt” in all of its beautiful forms have become a total catch phrase. It has come to the point where startups place the word somewhere on their website as default. But seriously, I am pretty sure whoever brought gunpowder to the battlefield first was also a disrupter; or we can go even further back and call the guy who discovered fire as a total disrupter.

Either way, one industry that isn’t too fond of disruption is marketing. Working in the marketing industry is hard enough without everything you just learned last month getting all disrupted by some new startup that just had to come along and revolutionize the customer experience. Then, again, is it really these startups or new disruptive technologies that are responsible for changing the customer dynamic?

When we look at the sharing economy model, was it companies like Airbnb that created collaborative consumption/peer economy movement? Was it Uber that forced consumers to rethink how they commute? Or is it those debt consolidation companies who have adopted state of the art analytic tools in order to help save their clients more money? Is it the companies that are causing the disruptions or is it consumers who are disrupting how enterprises do business for once? If you were to ask me, it is the latter.

Think of the sport basketball. Was it the basketball shoe that forced people to take up shooting hoops? Of course not! Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Around 50 miles away was a company called Colchester Rubber Company, which was the first company to design a basketball shoe prototype. Later on the company would be bought out and it would become Keds, which is still popular today.

In way can we say that it was the basketball shoe that disrupted the world of sports and so the game of basketball followed. In the same way, we as marketers, business owners and entrepreneurs must stop being reactive, flinching at every fad that pops up and given itself the title of disruptive.

Rather, we should be fully in tune with the ever evolving consumer. Maybe one would have been correct to say that businesses can’t be at every corner of the world waiting for the next Naismith to create the latest social trend. Yet, isn’t that the issue cloud and business intelligence analytics came to solve for us?

The Secrets of the Marketing Universe Lie Within the Cloud

How can you know within a short period of time whether your marketing team has an understanding of how they will convert shoppers into buyers and loyal customers are to ask them a simple question: If I want to be a disrupter, how would you help me develop the product needed to be so?

If it was 20 years ago, I definitely would expect the usual old, dried up solutions for answers. Why, heck, even five years ago I would expect much of anything that would actually help my company take over - not from the marketing team. Nevertheless, we live in the here and now.

Your marketing team should give you an answer somewhat like this:

In order to be where the customer is headed before they even decide to head there, we need customer insights from both a historical and real-time view. No longer can we only focus on analytics to determine the right audience, channel, content, and timing for our campaigns based on backward-looking data. Nor does real-time analytics suffice.

Cloud analytics must be married to Artificial Intelligence in order to predict where consumer trends are headed. In today’s market, it isn’t good enough to be a savvy marketer, with or without a college degree. Today’s smartest marketers cannot compete with Artificial Intelligence.

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