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July 7, 2020

A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now (Thinks Out Loud Episode 294)

July 7, 2020 | By | No Comments

Digital Transformation First Step: Woman seeing into the futureLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


Digital transformation is a process, not a destination. So, even though we’ve seen “two years of digital transformation in two months,” don’t feel like you’re late to the party. You have plenty of opportunity to improve the experience you provide customers using digital right now. Or, you do as long as you take your first step towards digital transformation.

What tools exist to help you on your journey? How can you begin to create great experiences for your customers? And how can you take your first step towards digital transformation for your company, right now? This episode of Thinks Out Loud is here to help you get started.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you.

A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now — Headlines and Show Notes

Thinks Out Loud is sponsored by SoloSegment: SoloSegment increases large-enterprise, B2B website conversion with easy-to-install software that automatically connects website visitors to the content they need to see to achieve their goals. SoloSegment does this using anonymous data and machine learning ensuring privacy compliance, addressing the many anonymous visitors, and improving the efficiency of marketing teams. Visit SoloSegment.com.

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 06s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Transcript — A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now

Well, hello again, everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter, this is episode 294 of the big show, and thank you so much for tuning in. I hope you had a great holiday weekend or a long weekend if you celebrated. I know I did; tanned, rested and ready and looking forward to, you know, a really cool conversation today.

So, you know, there's a lot going on, right. We're at the midpoint of the year and it seemed like a good time to talk about what's going on right now. And to talk about what you can do right now.

Difference Between Strategy and Tactics of Digital Transformation — A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now

When we talk about digital transformation, when we're talking about digital strategy, when we're talking about digital marketing, or things along those lines, a lot of the time I'm talking about the big picture. I mean, the name of the show is Thinks Out Loud, right? These tend to be the bigger view, the strategic view. And I thought it made sense, especially with everything that's going on right now, to talk a little bit about the more tactical view, what can you do right now. Because we have to remember that digital transformation is not a destination, it is a process. It is a thing that you will keep getting better at as your company, as your business, as your brand becomes more natively digital.

And I talked about the key drivers of digital transformation a couple of weeks ago. And as you well know I will link to all of these in the show notes that you will be able to find at TimPeter.com/podcast.

Importance of Customer-centricity — A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now

But one of those key drivers is customer centricity. And especially with everything going on at the immediate moment, it's really worthwhile to talk about what's important to your customers right now. What is top of mind for them, what is driving their behaviors and their buying patterns and their hopes and their concerns? I mean, we're in weird times. I know you've heard that probably ad nauseam over the last, you know, three months or so.

To that point, my friend Mark Schaefer talks about how in a great post that again, I will link to in the show notes — a great ebook actually — that he put together that's really worth your time — free ebook, no registration required or anything — he talks about how right now we are in the lower part of Maslow's hierarchy. You know, if you think about Maslow's hierarchy, it's a the hierarchy of needs, what is important to you?

And right now your customers care about the things that are fundamental. They care about the things that are most critical to living life. They care about their wellbeing, you know, food, shelter, sleep, they care about their safety, their security, health resources, right? Do they have money and that they seek belonging and yes, they seek love. They're not just concerned about these things for themselves. They're concerned about them for their family. They're looking for a sense of connection to other people, to other human beings.

I mean, think about what's driving all those streaming concerts and all the social media activity that's been going on. Ever since people started quarantining, you know, whether it was their sourdough starter or new cocktails or anything, they just want to belong to a community. So your customer's needs, and let's be fair your needs right now, are fairly fundamental. We're talking about the base level stuff: wellbeing, safety, belonging, love food, shelter, security, health, money, family. Pretty straightforward stuff.

Tools to Assist You — A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now

And the evidence suggests that Mark is right. Now, there are all kinds of tools that you can use to discover why that is. You know, I talk about why data is the crown jewels a lot. Here's a perfect example of using data. And I want to be clear. There are all kinds of tools you can use. Many of them are paid tools. But I'm going to talk about how you can do this for free. It's going to take 5-10 minutes of your time.

Just go to Google, do a Google search for a term that's important to your business and then do the same search, adding the words COVID or coronavirus.

Now I want to be fair. I rant about Google all the time and the threats that they pose and the challenges that they pose. And let's be fair. I will do that again in the future… possibly as soon as next week. But as I heard someone say recently, we can argue about the color of the drapes when the house isn't burning down. So for right now, let's use Google for what they're great at, and let's use their data to help us understand our customers more effectively.

So pick a term that's important to your business and then do a search for it right on Google. And then on that page, check out, they will have a box either somewhere in the middle of the page, maybe near the top of the page, certainly at the bottom of the page that says something like common searches or related searches and take a look at what it says.

You can also check out question databases, like QuestionDB.io, or AnswerThePublic or use social listening tools like BuzzSumo or Mention. Obviously there's all kinds of tools you can use, like SEMrush or Ahrefs or Moz. But just start with the free stuff, because these are all free and they'll give you some good answers quickly.

Data for Your Customer Journey — A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now

So I did two different searches; I want to give you two different examples. I chose restaurants for one of them because it's something we all can relate to. And among the popular searches are restaurants near me that are open, restaurants near me open now, restaurants near me that deliver, restaurants near me with outdoor seating. Notice a pattern?

You know, just to mix things up. I did a search for digital transformation. One of the suggested alternatives was "digital transformation COVID" and that had a bunch of ideas like digital transformation post COVID or after COVID, digital transformation due to COVID-19. Again, you get the idea.

What do the searches or social listening tools that you use for your brand and your business tell you about what's important to your customers right now? I'm pretty confident. It's going to show you just like we talked about that they're kind of at that fundamental level. Maybe they have questions about what's in stock or how to actually get your products or services right now while they're distant or maybe they have questions about cleanliness. Maybe they're uncertain about payment terms, given the state of the economy. The point is that your customers have very real questions that are fundamental to their wellbeing for the products and services you make.

Are You Necessary for Customers? Can You Make Yourself Necessary — A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now

Now it's possible because of what you do, it's possible that you, what you do isn't necessary. This is a great point in Mark Schaefer's ebook, and I highly encourage you to read it again, I will link to it in the show notes. But it's a great point because if you're what you're offering is not fundamental. Maybe the evidence will suggest that you need to start thinking about how to be more fundamental. And if you do offer something that's necessary, but you're not answering their questions about these fundamental problems, you're not in the game.

You have to take a look and say, do you have the content that answers the questions that customers care about? You know, I just talked about "data is the crown jewels." Well, obviously content is king, right? Yuo need to be there. You don't have to create all the content. You can link to public health sites or partner with others in your community or your industry who can answer the questions that are top of mind for your customers.

Importance of Website and Digital Presence — A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now

But it's incredibly necessary, it's critical that you're helping your customers with the challenges that they're facing in this moment. We've talked about trying to use digital to do the heavy lifting. Right now, it is a 24x7x365 salesperson. It is a 24x7x365 customer service person. You don't have to worry about it getting sick. You don't have to worry about it getting ill. You don't have to worry about it taking a day off. But you do have to make sure you're providing the answers to the questions your customers have. And when you're doing that, you're demonstrating that you are a valuable resource. You become necessary in the day to day lives of your customers. And that's true, whether you're B2C or you're B2B, because they've got very real needs. They've got very real challenges. They’ve got very real struggles.

Again, I started that, kind of started the show, by talking about the fact that we're all getting fed up by hearing about, "Oh, these are difficult times." Yeah. They are. Great. What are you going to do about it? And more importantly, what are you going to do for your customers about it? Because that's how you use digital in the real world to transform your business. You use the data that your customers create to learn about what's important to them. And where needed to adapt your products and services to meet their needs. And you allow digital to assist them wherever they are in the journey, whether they're just learning about you, whether they're comparing you to alternatives, whether they're thinking about buying, whether they're buying, whether they're using your product, wherever they happen to be. And that means both in the physical world and in their journey where they happen to be.

Conclusion — A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now

So, yes, I love thinking about the big picture. I love talking about the big picture. We talked about the big picture a lot here, and obviously you want to make sure you're not chasing one thing if it's a short term situation only. But the current situation likely isn't short term. I mean we're three months in and it doesn't look like we're going to be out of it three months from now. So what you have to do is make sure you're setting yourself up to execute against what your customers need.

Use data to learn about what your customers need. Use content to support them. And use digital as a complement to all of the other things you do so that you're helping customers and ultimately helping your business too. Remember it's a process, not a destination. And the only way you're going to get there is by taking the first step. Seems like now is as good a time as any to do that.

A Digital Transformation First Step: What You Can Do Right Now Show Outro and Wrap-Up

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. But I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode, as well as an archive of all past episodes. By heading to TimPeter.com/podcast. Again, that's TimPeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 294.

While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Overcast, wherever fine podcasts are found, you should be able to find us there. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud or Thinks Out Loud. We should show up for any of those. I would also really appreciate it while you're there if you could provide us a positive rating or review. It helps new listeners find us, helps them understand what the show is all about, and it makes a huge difference to the podcast.

Also, you can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter. And of course you can email me by sending an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that's podcast@timpeter.com.

I'd also like to thank our sponsor. Thinks Out Loud is brought to you by SoloSegment. SoloSegment increases large enterprise B2B website conversion with easy to deploy software as a service that automatically connects website visitors to the content they need to achieve their goals. SoloSegment does this using anonymous data and machine learning to ensure privacy compliance, address the needs of your anonymous visitors and improve the efficiency of your marketing team. You can learn more by going to SoloSegment.com. Again, that's SoloSegment.com.

With that. I want to say thanks so much for tuning in. I very, very much appreciate listening. I know I say it every week. I know it. But I would not do this show without you listening. I very much enjoy getting a chance to speak with you every week. And I so appreciate the time you take to listen.

So with that said, I hope you have a great rest of the week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead. And I'm looking forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then please be well, be safe and as ever take care of everybody.

Tim Peter

By

June 24, 2020

The Five Drivers of E-commerce and Digital Transformation for Your Business (Thinks Out Loud Episode 293)

June 24, 2020 | By | No Comments

Drivers of digital transformation and e-commerce: Woman interacting with mobile deviceLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


The Five Drivers of E-commerce and Digital Transformation for Your Business (Thinks Out Loud Episode 293) — Headlines and Shownotes

We’re seeing an enormous shift to digital during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the pandemic is only accelerating that shift. The fact is, we’ve been moving this way for some time. And regardless of what’s most important to your business right now, there are five drivers of e-commerce and digital transformation that will shape your business even once the pandemic is gone — whenever that happens to be.

What are the five drivers of e-commerce and digital transformation for your business? How can you put those drivers to work? And how can you build a plan that sets you up for success now and in the longer term? This episode of Thinks Out Loud takes a look at the five drivers of e-commerce and digital transformation and offers answers to your key questions.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you.:

Relevant Links — The Five Drivers of E-commerce and Digital Transformation for Your Business (Thinks Out Loud Episode 293)

Thinks Out Loud is sponsored by SoloSegment: SoloSegment increases large-enterprise, B2B website conversion with easy-to-install software that automatically connects website visitors to the content they need to see to achieve their goals. SoloSegment does this using anonymous data and machine learning ensuring privacy compliance, addressing the many anonymous visitors, and improving the efficiency of marketing teams. Visit SoloSegment.com.

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 25m 06s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Transcript — The Five Drivers of E-commerce and Digital Transformation for Your Business (Thinks Out Loud Episode 293)

Well, hello again, everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter, this is episode 293 of the big show, and thank you so much for tuning in. I very, very much appreciate it.

Introduction to the Five Drivers of E-commerce and Digital Transformation

So I was having a discussion the other day with a client about their digital transformation project and we got into pretty lengthy discussion about the similarities and differences between e-commerce, the shift towards e-commerce, and digital transformation efforts more broadly. And to be fair, both e-commerce and digital transformation share the same five key drivers.

There are differences between them and those differences are meaningful. And I want to talk about those a little bit in just a minute or two. But I also want to talk about what connects them and what's driving them in all cases, in both cases.

Economic Challenges Facing Companies

The big reason that both are so important is because of the changes in the way that you need to operate your business and how critical those changes are right now with the number of people struggling with reduced incomes because they've been laid off, and the lack of business, travel and conferences to drive sales. And the decline in customers that result from those realities. You know, there's data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) , the United States Congressional Budget Office that expects that U.S. consumers will spend on average about $340 billion less each quarter through the end of 2021 than the Congressional Budget Office was projecting just this past January. The same CBO projections — and I will as ever link to these in the show notes — suggest that businesses will invest about $160 billion less each quarter during that same period. So we're talking, you know, a decline of about a half a trillion dollars per quarter for the next 18 months. That's a huge deal.

So whether your business is selling to consumers directly or to other businesses, whether you're B2C or B2B, there's clearly less opportunity than there used to be. And that means you have to find more effective and much more efficient ways to reach whatever customer demand does exist in your market or markets.

Why Digital Matters Right Now for Your Business

And that's why lots of businesses are putting more emphasis on their digital channels: to generate sales and to generate revenues. That's why we're seeing an explosion of e-commerce efforts. That's why we're seeing, as you know, Microsoft said a couple of months back, "two years of digital transformation in just two months."

I know a marketing director from a Fortune 500 company who told me recently that they're spending as much money on their website and on their digital experience this summer as they spent all of last year. Because they need to. A small business owner who I know just hired a full time digital marketer for his team for the first time in this company's history, because they need to be more effective at driving revenues online if they're going to be around, you know, six months from now, 12 months from now.

So I'll get into the distinctions between digital transformation and e-commerce in just a second. But it's important that you realize they share the same five drivers in both cases.

The Five Drivers Explained

Customer Centricity

First and most importantly, they are driven by customer centricity. If digital has created one massive change more than any other, it is that the customer is in the driver's seat today in a way that they never were 30 years ago, 40 years ago. It is all about the customer. Everything you do must be all about the customer. You have to be fast. You have to let people accomplish what they want to accomplish and get back to the rest of their lives. Because if you don't, their ability to check out a competitor of yours is literally and figuratively one click away, right? One tap on the screen away. So customer centricity matters most of all. And companies that understand, these are the ones who are doing well. They're the ones who are saying, "We must listen to our customer. We must learn from our customer. And we must support our customer at every stage of their journey if we're going to survive, thrive and succeed in the long run."

Mobile

The second big driver, and this is one I've talked about a lot — I actually referred to it as Trend Zero — is that "mobile is not a trend." This is really about the continuum of connectivity that customers now have available to them, you know, from mobile phones and tablets and smartwatches to sensors that are embedded in the devices that we interact with and carry with us and ride around in all day every day, whether it's, you know, fitness, trackers or cars or TVs, or other less visible tech. That simple reality of constant connectivity and carrying the internet in our pockets, wherever we go, or on our wrists, wherever we go or in our cars, wherever we go is a massive, massive change that makes a digital focus for your company necessary. And that's especially true of customers who've grown up with mobile and grown up with digital all around them, millennials — or as I call them adults under 40. They take this for granted because it's literally the way the world has worked all of their lives.

Radical Transparency

After mobile, the third driver is the rise of radical transparency. It is a simple fact that customers can find the information they want about your products and services or your competitors' products and services everywhere. All the time, whenever they want wherever they want. It has created a reality — and I've said this many times on the show — where your customers know more about your products and services and prices and features and benefits than most of your employees do — because it matters more to them. This radical transparency cuts in the opposite direction too, because we now have more data about customers than at any other time in history. We know more about their behaviors and their preferences and their actions. Then any marketer in history ever could have known, 50 years ago, a hundred years ago. And this has created complete insight into what our customers want and need just as they get complete insight into what we offer to fill those needs.

Data-Driven Decision Making

The fourth key driver is data driven decision making. If we are collecting all this data and not using it to actually make better decisions, we're wasting one of the most valuable resources we have available to us as marketers and as business professionals overall. It's a huge, huge difference because again, the data exists and the tools exist to interpret that data in an effective way in a useful way. I talked about this on the show a couple of weeks ago about the number of marketers who do not use data in their decision making, or do not always use data in their decision making and why that's such a huge mistake. You know, 10 years ago, I used to order food from a local brew pub and would always want to talk to this one bartender who knew me really well and knew what I liked to order and would ask the right questions because they'd always get the order right. But I had to talk to that one person to be sure I'd get what I wanted. Today, you know, when I call this local restaurant near to me and get takeout, they know who I am, the moment that they answer the phone, because they recognize the phone number in their system. You know, it's screen pops on their POS and says, "This is Tim and we know what he's ordered in the past." And they get my order right every single time. They're using the data to make decisions about how to serve the customer.

Using Data to Enable Business Process Automation

What I just described is really the fifth driver to a certain degree, which is using that data to enable automation. When we think about AI and machine learning and big data and all the other buzz words that go around a lot they're really about letting machines do the heavy lifting on your data to make decisions that can be automated. We're not outsourcing thinking. We're not outsourcing asking the critical questions that drive our businesses. But we are outsourcing answering those questions. You know, I call this show Thinks Out Loud, and I think of you all as "Big Thinkers." And the fact of the matter is you think big thoughts, you think smart questions. And, you know, as recently as six months ago or a year ago or two years ago, to get the answers to those questions could require incredibly, incredibly heavy lifting from your team and from the people who worked for your company. And frequently today because of more intelligent systems, you can essentially get the answer to your question at the press of a button. And obviously when you scale up to really good sized data sets and data science and the like you can get deeper, richer answers to those questions because you're automating the process of getting the answer.

So those are the big drivers, regardless of whether we're talking e-commerce or whether we're talking digital transformation, it's the same five drivers:

  1. Customer centricity
  2. Mobile
  3. Radical transparency
  4. Data driven decision making, and
  5. Using that data to enable automation.

Difference Between E-commerce and Digital Transformation

Now I started at the beginning by saying how e-commerce and digital transformation are different. So where do they differ and why is this difference important? Well, when we talk about e-commerce, you're really talking about how do you improve the customer experience through your sales channels, through your online sales channels. You're really thinking only about one or maybe a handful of touch points for the consumer and mostly during the purchasing process. Whereas digital transformation is really about re-envisioning your business from the ground up.

You know, e-commerce doesn't necessarily drive changes in, for instance, your HR policy. By contrast, digital transformation really cuts across the people, your processes, your platforms, and your products. It's not just a technical thing. It's not just a one channel thing. It's using digital to improve all the areas of your business and addressing all of the financial and legal and cultural and human aspects associated with those.

Now, why does this distinction matter? Because it's important that you recognize whether you're transforming sales and marketing or whether you're transforming your business as a whole.

Definition of Digital Transformation

I'm generally fond of saying that companies like Google and Facebook and Amazon and Netflix and Uber and Airbnb and all their other digitally native brethren don't have a digital transformation problem because they all came into being at the same time that digital became a way of life for companies and customers alike they are, as I just said a moment ago, digitally native. And most legacy companies — actually by definition — legacy companies are not. And so digital transformation is the process of envisioning and enabling what your company would look like if you were just starting business today, if you were the proverbial couple of folks in a garage. What would your company look like if you were starting from the ground up right now?

And that's really the difference that we're talking about. Now to be totally fair. I'm guilty of, of conflating the two terms myself. Episode 13 of this humble, this very podcast from Oh God, seven and a half years ago (!) was called "It's All. E-commerce," which has long been my mantra for explaining the fundamental shifts that digital has caused over the last 20 years or so. Because when customers are interacting with all kinds of elements of your business, using whatever tool is available to them, whatever digital tool is available to them, your facilitating a deeper, richer customer experience that meets their needs when and where they are. Which leads to more loyalty, which leads to more sales, which is why it's kind of all e-commerce right.

And certainly when we talk about, you know, offline sales, we know today that they're heavily digitally influenced. So "it's all e-commerce." And let's be really fair, many digital transformation efforts have started within companies because of e-commerce experiences exposing holes in your system or in your processes or in your overall customer experience. And that means you have to improve back office stuff or fulfillment or supply chain or products or HR, or the people processes that support those so that you can actually fulfill on what your customers want.

Why You Must Respond to the Five Drivers of Digital Transformation and E-commerce

Of course, at this point, it's fair to ask. Why do you need to respond to these drivers, to these five drivers, whether it's e-commerce or whether it's digital transformation, why is it important you respond?

And the simple answer is because your customers expect you to. As I said a few minutes ago, your competition is simply one click away or one screen tap away. The reason the big guys are winning or a big reason the big guys are winning — and by the big guys, I mean the Apples and Googles and Facebooks and Amazons and Microsofts and Netflix's and Uber's and Airbnb's and the like — are winning is because they understand these trends and have adapted to them, or have built themselves from the ground up to do well. They're investing heavily and they've set themselves up to reap the rewards. Now I've talked about it all the different ways they do that in the past. And I will link to them all in the show notes. But the most important thing for you to take away is that you can do the same thing.

Those of you who have listened to the show or read the blog regularly over the years, probably you're thinking, well, you're probably going to say "Content is King. Customer Experience is Queen. And Data is the Crown Jewels." And, yes, those are incredibly important. They come later though. They're a set of guiding principles you can use to respond to those five drivers. You know, they're kind of key to your response to the five drivers.

How to Respond to the Five Drivers of Digital Transformation and E-commerce

But I think for many people and really the crux of the conversation I was having with a client the other day is how do you get started? Yes, we know content is king. Yeah, we know customer experience is queen and yeah, we know data is the crown jewels, but where do you begin? And like any good strategic initiative, there's really a very simple process for how you deal with this.

Define Your Objectives

First, you have to define your objectives. Whether you're talking a commerce or whether you're talking digital transformation, what are you trying to accomplish? What does success look like for your business? Are you trying to simply survive or you trying to thrive? And let me be abundantly clear. Given the current state of the economy that I talked about at the beginning of this episode, there is nothing wrong with simply surviving right now. As my friend Mark Schaefer says, if you don't get to the other side by definition, you cannot thrive.

You also need to be thinking about the longterm to what are your longterm objectives? Where do you want to be in 10 years time? Do you want to be in three years time? What is success over an extended period, look like in addition to what does success look like for the next six months? How do you ensure you're still in business? So first again, you have to define your objectives.

Assess Your Current State

The second is you have to do an honest assessment of where you are right now. You know, start with where are you so good that customers would be foolish to choose your competitors? And then ask, where are your people and your products and your processes and your platforms lacking. You know, where are you weak enough that customers would be foolish not to choose your competitors? If you can't do that honest assessment — if you don't do that honest assessment — you won't be able to understand the gap between what those objectives are and where you are at the moment.

Identify Obstacles Preventing Your Digital Success

And then once you understand those two things, take a good look at what's preventing you from moving forward. Just like the second one, you need to be really honest with yourself. And in that honesty, be aware that, you know, time and money aren't really true limitations. I've done work with six current members of the Fortune 100 in my career, half of whom are in the Fortune 50. And I can tell you that none of these massive organizations ever once said to me, "Oh no, we have all the budget and all the time and all the people we could possibly need to accomplish everything we want to do." Everyone has that problem. Look first at the things that truly stop you. Are your competitors winning the war for talent? Do you lack skills in certain key areas? Have you under invested in new technologies or capabilities? Be clear on what's actually hurting you, what's actually preventing you from reaching your objectives so that you can actually develop a plan that will get you ahead.

Define Your Plan to Close the Gap

And then once you've defined those objectives, once you've assessed where you are, once you've taken a good look at what's stopping you from moving forward, that's when you can put together the successful plan. You can say, "What are the things that get in the way of where we are? And what will help us close the gap between where we are and where we want to be?"

Start with your priorities. What can you do in the next 90 days to fix what's hurting you, what's most important to your business and to go back to one of our drivers, what's most important to your customers?

Summary — The Five Drivers of E-commerce and Digital Transformation for Your Business

So as you think about digital transformation, as you think about e-commerce for your business, you know, recognize that there are these five key drivers customer centricity, mobile, the rise of radical transparency, data-driven decision making and using data to enable automation. Take a good long look at where you're trying to get to where you are today, what prevents you from getting from where you are to where you want to be, and putting together the plan to close that gap. And whether your objectives are to get through the next three to six months or whether it gets through the next three to six years or whether to get through the next three to six decades, e-commerce and digital transformation together are going to help you get there. And they're going to help you get there as long as you do the work to address the reality of those key drivers and create the kind of business that your customers expect. And more importantly given the kind of challenges that people are facing right now, to create the kind of company that your customers need.

Conclusion — The Five Drivers of E-commerce and Digital Transformation for Your Business

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. And before I tell you all the things you need to know about how you can find Thinks Out Loud and subscribe to Thinks Out Loud and all the stuff we talk about week after week, I do want to let you know that I won't have an episode for you next week. It is the July 4th holiday weekend here in America on next Friday. It's a short week. I suspect lots of folks in lots of places will not be listening to podcasts much. So we're going to go on sabbatical for a week. I will be back the first full week in July.

But with that, I do want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode and as well as an archive of all our past episodes by going to TimPeter.com/podcast. Again, that's TimPeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 293. While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Overcast, again, whatever your favorite pod catcher happens to be, you should be able to find us there. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or Thinks Out Loud. We should show up for any of those.

I would also really appreciate it while you're there if you could provide us a positive rating or review. It helps new listeners find us, helps them understand what the show is all about and makes a huge difference to the podcast overall.

You can find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter. And of course you can email me by sending an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that's podcast@timpeter.com.

As ever, I'd like to thank our sponsor. Thinks Out Loud is brought to you by SoloSegment, SoloSegment increases large enterprise B2B website conversion with easy to install software as a service that automatically connects website visitors to the content they need to achieve their goals. So those segment does this using anonymous data and machine learning to ensure privacy compliance, address the needs of your anonymous visitors and improve the efficiency of your marketing team. You can learn more by going to SoloSegment.com. Again, that is SoloSegment.com.

With that I want to say, thanks so much for tuning in. I really appreciate you listening. I know I say this a lot, but I would not do this show if you weren't listening. I enjoy getting a chance to speak with you every week. And I really appreciate that you take the time to listen.

So with that said, I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week. I hope you have a great weekend and I'm looking forward to speaking with here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please, especially in these trying times, be well, be safe and as ever, take care everybody.

Tim Peter

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June 16, 2020

There is Never a “New Normal” In Digital (Thinks Out Loud Episode 292)

June 16, 2020 | By | No Comments

There is never a new normal in digital: Woman reading on her mobile phoneLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


There is Never a “New Normal” In Digital — Headlines and Show Notes

If you’re anything like me, you’re getting tired of everyone talking about the “new normal” of the post-COVID world. We’re a long way from “normal” and aren’t likely to get there soon. However, the current state of dynamic change, rapidly evolving customer behaviors, and competing priorities isn’t a “new normal” for digital professionals. It’s how we’ve worked for years. We were made for this moment. That’s a good thing — and one you want to use to your advantage.

The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud looks at why there’s never a new normal in digital and how you can use that fact to benefit you and your business.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links — There is Never a “New Normal” in Digital (Episode 292)

Yep. It’s a Recession (AKA It’s Always Darkest Before It’s Pitch Black)

  • We’re in a Recession. What Should Your Marketing Team Do? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 291)
  • Rapid Pace of Change (AKA There is Never a “New Normal”)

    The Frightful Five (AKA AGFAM) are Taking Advantage

    Millennials (AKA Adults Under 40)

    How You Can — And Should — Respond

    Thinks Out Loud is sponsored by SoloSegment: SoloSegment increases large-enterprise, B2B website conversion with easy-to-install software that automatically connects website visitors to the content they need to see to achieve their goals. SoloSegment does this using anonymous data and machine learning ensuring privacy compliance, addressing the many anonymous visitors, and improving the efficiency of marketing teams. Visit SoloSegment.com.

    Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

    Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

    Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

    Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

    Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

    Running time: 14m 43s

    You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

    Tim Peter

    By

    June 9, 2020

    We’re in a Recession. What Should Your Marketing Team Do? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 291)

    June 9, 2020 | By | No Comments

    What should your marketing team do in a recession: Woman shopping on tabletLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


    We’re in a Recession. What Should Your Marketing Team Do? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 291) — Headlines and Show Notes

    Well, the news we’re all been looking for is finally here: We’re officially in a recession. That of course is on top of the existing bad news about the global pandemic, social unrest, and a contentious political environment in the US — as well as many other places around the world. So, what should your marketing team do?

    The good news is that there are a number of things you and your team can do. And they all start with the simplest of tasks: listening. This episode of Thinks Out Loud looks at how you and your team can listen to your customers more effectively, why that’s so important when we’re in a recession, and what will happen if you don’t do the right things with that information.

    Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

    Relevant Links — We’re in a Recession. What Should Your Marketing Team Do? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 291)

    Thinks Out Loud is sponsored by SoloSegment: SoloSegment increases large-enterprise, B2B website conversion with easy-to-install software that automatically connects website visitors to the content they need to see to achieve their goals. SoloSegment does this using anonymous data and machine learning ensuring privacy compliance, addressing the many anonymous visitors, and improving the efficiency of marketing teams. Visit SoloSegment.com.

    Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

    Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

    Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

    Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

    Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

    Running time: 17m 22s

    You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

    Tim Peter

    By

    June 2, 2020

    Why We Need to Use Digital to Listen (Thinks Out Loud Episode 290)

    June 2, 2020 | By | No Comments

    Why we need to use digital to listen: People using phones to take photosLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


    Why We Need to Use Digital to Listen (Thinks Out Loud Episode 290) – Headlines and Show Notes

    If you’re like me, you’re probably confused, angry, and sad at the moment. With the killing of George Floyd, the subsequent protests and riots, Covid-19, and recession all happening, it’s a challenging time for everyone right now. Business concerns seem trivial compared with these much larger challenges we face.

    At the same time, it’s important to do what you can for your community. And digital provides some opportunities to make small, positive steps. One of its greatest strengths: its utility as a listening tool. And listening is probably the first, most important thing we all need to do right now.

    This episode of Thinks Out Loud looks at why we need to use digital to listen. And how, maybe, if we listen, we might be able to make some positive changes in the lives of our customers — and more importantly — our communities.

    Relevant Links — Why We Need to Use Digital to Listen (Thinks Out Loud Episode 290)

    Thinks Out Loud is sponsored by SoloSegment: SoloSegment increases large-enterprise, B2B website conversion with easy-to-install software that automatically connects website visitors to the content they need to see to achieve their goals. SoloSegment does this using anonymous data and machine learning ensuring privacy compliance, addressing the many anonymous visitors, and improving the efficiency of marketing teams. Visit SoloSegment.com.

    Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

    Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

    Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

    Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

    Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

    Running time: 12m 56s

    You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.