Thriving in the digital age

We keep hearing about the importance of adapting to our ever-changing world, but what does that mean? Entrepreneur recently published an article called 4 Critical Skills for a Changing World, in which author Steve Tobak looks at the effects of digital society and the skills necessary to ensure we adapt accordingly. 

What is most interesting about Tobak's commentary is that it points towards the fact that in some ways technology has complicated society rather than making it simpler and easier to function within. For example, social media may at times take away the effectiveness of real time engagement and discussion. People are also more distracted than they've ever been before and need to find ways of sifting through what's important and what's not. Critical thinking is more important than it has ever been before. The internet holds an exorbitant amount of information, but this can be dangerous if not used with discretion.

It's impossible to deny that along with technological advances has come an entire host of new challenges. But is Tobak right in arguing that people should adapt their behaviour to accommodate the rise in digital media? Or should we be viewing the matter in an entirely different light?

Do your customers invite you in?

The problem with marketing in today’s cluttered advertising environment is that just as you are attempting to engage with your customers and get the word out about your brand, so are 5000 other companies. Author, speaker and consultant Steve Yastrow proposes turning traditional marketing models on their heads: focusing less on getting the word out and more on letting the word in. 

Ultimately, what Yastrow is proposing is a process that matches the way in which customers make purchasing decisions by putting the power in their hands. It’s a trend that is fuelled by the Internet (where the consumer makes all the choices), but is not limited only to Internet searches. Ultimately, it’s the acknowledgement that customers make the decisions about what marketing messages to let in, and which to ignore. 

Traditionally, customers have been seen as the passive recipients of brand messages. But today’s consumer is far more savvy – they are active, purposeful and deliberate participants when it comes to what information they engage with. They have the power to decide – and they use it.