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Welcome to Your Digital Future – Ready or Not (Thinks Out Loud Episode 309)

Welcome to digital future: Woman interacting with VR

Last week’s show looked at why digital will drive the next decade of business growth. So welcome to your digital future… whether you’re ready or not. New research shows that "…the pandemic collapsed into three months a process of adopting e-commerce that otherwise would have taken 10 years in the US." Yes, that’s a wordy sentence. True, tho…

What does your digital future look like? What does it mean for your business? And how can you make sure you’re ready? The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud looks at your digital future. And, more importantly, how you can get ready for that digital future to drive the next decade of your business growth.

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

Thinks Out Loud Episode 309: Welcome to Your Digital Future – Ready or Not Headlines and Show Notes

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Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

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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 14s

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Transcript: Welcome to Your Digital Future – Ready or Not

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 309 of the big show. And I don’t know about you, but if you are like me, you’re consuming reports about changing customer behaviors the way Baby Yoda consumes frog eggs.

We are living through a crazy time — and I’ve said this before — I don’t mean to make light of it in the sense that obviously if you are struggling or your business is struggling or the like, I’m certainly not making light of it. I think it’s also true that we need to put on a brave face and maintain the sense of optimism. And I think there’s a lot of data that suggests we should be optimistic.

Obviously, a couple of weeks ago we had an announcement that Pfizer had a vaccine in the pipeline that looks really effective and is going to start to help as we get into spring. It was just announced today that Moderna also has a vaccine that is going to help, and they’ve already been manufacturing these. So the faster these get into market, the better off we’re all going to be. And as I talked about last week, I want to build on what we talked about last week, where digital is going to drive the next decade of economic performance for businesses. There was a study that McKinsey did that the Wall Street Journal reported on that showed we’re into a whole new world here, we’re into a new normal. And I know I’ve said before that there is never a new normal in digital and that it’s still true, but we’re starting to see real changes in the way customers behave. And the likely outcome is that those are going to stick.

How Customer Behavior Shapes Your Digital Future

So this McKinsey study said that three out of four people have tried a new shopping method due to COVID-19, and that more than half intend to continue using curbside pickup and grocery delivery afterwards. Almost seven out of 10 consumers intend to continue buying online for store pickup. And my favorite quote in this Wall Street Journal report about the McKinsey study is sort of a restatement of two of digital transformation in two months. We’ve been living through two years of digital transformation in two months, but the way they said it was, and this is a quote, "The pandemic collapsed into three months, a process of adopting e-commerce that otherwise would have taken 10 years in the US." Now yes, that’s slightly wordier than "two years of digital transformation in two months," or for that matter, "the next decade of economic performance for every business will be defined by the speed of the digital transformation," as I talked about last week. But you get the idea.

The idea is that we’re starting to see a whole new set of behaviors, and the assumption is, and needs to be, that those behaviors are going to last possibly for forever. As I said last week, we’re never going back to the old way of doing things. And this kind of made me think about my dad, and I realize this is going to come from left field, but hear me out on this. I’m the youngest child of a man, guy who got a late start in life in terms of getting married and having kids. And so even though I’m young, middle-aged — I’m not 20, but I’m not 60 either — my dad was born during the Depression. And his behaviors to this day, as an almost 90 year old man, were shaped by what he lived through, what he experienced for the first 10 to 15 years of his life. And we’re going to see a lot of that as we go forward in terms of thinking about how the current reality is shaping the behaviors of people at all stages of life, and especially of those who are younger.

Crises Are Shaping an Entire Generation of Customers

Think about the realities that everybody’s dealing with. And I’m not trying to put those aside, but especially let’s talk about younger folks. Students, college students, high school students, younger kids. They’re not in school as much, or at all, as they were prior. They can’t hang out with their friends in person as much. They’ve lived … If they’re old enough, if they’re in high school, they’ve got lots of uncertainty based on having lived through the Great Recession and the current downturn. They’re growing up in a world vastly different than the one I did, and that in all likelihood you did, and their behavior is going to be different. And I think that’s true of lots of different generations. I’ve talked about why adults under 40, or millennials, as most people call them, are important, and that millennials will play a key role in the recovery. But it’s also going to be true of Gen Z. And these are folks who’ve lived through this while they’re young. So the likelihood that these behaviors are going to stick increase, because they’re in quite literally their formative years. It’s not like they have tons of behaviors that they’ve had for decades to unlearn. They’re learning what the world is like.

Millennials and Gen Z Have Always Lived Through Crisis

And this is one of the things that I talk about a lot with regard to millennials, with regard to Gen Z and other generations is they take the world as it is. If you’re a Gen X-er like me, or you’re a boomer, you kind of have lived through lots of change, and it can be easy to assume the world works the way it did when you were younger, whereas the world does work different. We’re all adapting right now to the fact that the world is different. And for people who are younger, this is the way the world has always worked. They don’t know any different. And they’re not wrong to assume that the world works this way and will continue to work this way.

Those Crises Will Shape Behaviors in the Future… Forever

So you have to think about some of the behaviors that are going to change. And I can’t tell you all of the behaviors we’re going to see a difference on. I do think there are a couple that seem likely both based on what we’re witnessing and on other consumer behavior reports. For instance, younger folks and many folks are now taking digital and delivery for granted.

How DoorDash and Amazon Respond

Look at the DoorDash IPO that’s coming pretty soon. If you look at their data you get a real sense of how their business works. You’re getting deep insights into their business, how their business works. And the funny thing is restaurant delivery actually isn’t all that great for them. It’s tough for them to be profitable. Which is ironic because it’s also not great for the restaurants. But I’d strongly expect DoorDash — I don’t expect this, DoorDash has been kind of clear about this — that they want to deliver a lot more than food because they recognize the more things they can deliver, the more that they can aggregate local supply and bring those various supplies to people, the more effective, the more profitable, the more successful they’re going to be.

I would strongly suspect that DoorDash is trying to become the Amazon of immediate delivery. I also fully expect Amazon to try and make sure the DoorDash or anyone else does not become the Amazon of anything. Amazon is going to say, "We already are the Amazon of that." And so I think that’s going to be a battle to watch as we go forward.

Emergence of Cashless Payments for Everything

I also think we’re going to see the growth of cashless payments. People aren’t using cash right now. They’re not going to go back to doing that. There was a Facebook study that showed that people are really getting into and getting comfortable with using credit cards or alternative payment systems, PayPal, Venmo, things like that, more regularly. I haven’t talked about why I’m bullish on cashless payments on electronic payments, mobile payments in a while. Actually episode 156 I think of the last time I did that. So that’s several years ago. But it’s pretty clear it’s now having its moment and that moment is likely to continue. So given these things, what can you do? What should you do?

How You Can Get Ready for Your Digital Future

Well, the first is kind of obvious. It’s recognizing that digital isn’t a nice to have. It’s a need to have. Your customers want to access the information they want, wherever they happen to be, whenever it happens to be. And don’t want to have to use lots of different ways to get what they need. If you haven’t already, you need to start turning your content into your 24x7x365 customer service representative, and your 24x7x365 sales person. And you can check out some past episodes that I’ll link to in the show notes on how to do that. They include things like how you can make digital do your heavy lifting, and digital transformation first step, and it’s follow up two key steps towards digital transformation world, which were episodes 294 and 295. As well as an episode called How to Build a Digital Company, which was episode 302. Those are all going to be things that you should look at.

Improve Payment Experience/Add Payment Types

You should start to look at can you add payment types, varying payment types to your business? We’ve seen for years that as you add payment types, your conversion rates generally increase. So that’s a good thing. You need to start thinking about how customers expect to work with you in this new world in which we’re living.

There is Never a New Normal in Digital

I know I’ve said before that there’s never a new normal in digital, and yes that’s true, and yes we’re going to see increasing change or more change over time. It’s also true that whether or not this is a new normal, it’s certainly a place that we’re never going back from. We’re only going to move forward. And so you need to put in place the ways to actually accommodate the needs of your customers in the reality that we live in.

Assess Your Digital Maturity

And the last thing you need to do is you need to start to map out your digital maturity. I have a digital maturity matrix that we put together, that the team put together that you can download in the show notes. It’s free. You don’t need to give an email address. It’s nothing. It’s yours to use to start to take a look at where you are and where you need to go. Because the last thing you need to do is recognize that the world has changed and you need to change with it. There’s an old joke. Sure you know it. That says, if you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging. That’s kind of where we are right now. If you’re not particularly digital, if your company is not particularly digital, you don’t need to climb out of the hole today, but you certainly can not afford to make it any deeper.

Your Digital Future Conclusion

As that McKinsey report said, the pandemic collapsed into three months a process of adopting e-commerce that otherwise would have taken 10 years. So we’re living in a new world. You’re living 10 years in the future, whether you want to or not. So welcome to it.

Episode Credits

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. I do 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 going to Again, that’s Just look for episode 309. You can also click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes that you find there to have things out loud delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, Overcast, wherever fine podcasts are found. 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.

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Thinks Out Loud on Social Media

You can also find things out loud on Facebook by going to You can find us on LinkedIn by going to And you can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @TCPeter. And of course you can email me by sending an email to Again, that’s

Sponsor Message

I’d also like to thank our sponsor, SoloSegment, for continuing to sponsor the show. SoloSegment is such a cool product. They use machine learning, natural language processing and anonymous behavioral data to connect your website visitors with the content they need to help them accomplish their goals, which then helps you accomplish yours. SoloSegment does this by protecting customer privacy. They’re using the anonymous data. They understand that most of the people who come to your site don’t want you to know who they are, and so they simply use the data available, the behavioral data to personalize the experience and drive better results for your business. You should check them out. They’re at Again, that’s

Show Closing

With that, I want to say again how much I appreciate you tuning in every single week. I know I say it every week, but it means so much to me. I wouldn’t do the show if you weren’t listening, I wouldn’t have near as much fun if I thought you weren’t listening. So it just means the world to me. I hope you stay well, I hope you stay healthy, I hope you stay safe, and I hope you stay prosperous. I hope you have a great rest of the week, a wonderful weekend ahead. And I will look forward to talking 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 is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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