Key takeaways

  • Mainstream adoption of social media and smart phones are driving digital as the ‘new’ normal
  • Digital marketing focused on user experience will dominate the agenda for businesses striving to gain an online competitive edge
  • The agility at which businesses can innovate will determine business leaders.

2012 will be remembered as the year that ‘digital change became the new normal’ driven by the mainstream adoption and everyday use of mobile and social media services.

As reported by Mumbrella, smart phone adoption has surpassed 50% in Australia, in turn creating an ‘always connected’ consumer, hungry for conversation, engagement and information. In addition to this, according to the Nielsen ‘State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012’, time spent online rose by 21% in 2012, with 30% of mobile online usage dedicated to social media.

Through this seeming ‘coming of the digital age’, the divide between digitally enabled versus traditional business models was highlighted – with the latter struggling to accept the challenge to adapt set by emerging local and global market entrants.

These factors will play a key role in defining the digital change agenda for 2013, particularly within the following areas:

Digital marketing will dominate

A continuing challenge will be to build brand trust and equity in a hyper-connected and always engaged digital world. Organisations will be required to make their brands ‘walk the talk’ and be held accountable through social media, considering broader social responsibility implications and brand values.

Digital marketing will face the challenge of leveraging data and insights to underpin context adaptive marketing campaigns. If the marketing message is not personalised and relevant, it will not reach the consumer.

According to Gartner analyst, Jennifer Beck, digital marketing will be one of the top three imperatives for 100% of CEOs in 2013, because it will increasingly lead disruption, create more innovation and drive change.

User experience will be central to successful digital business

Aberdeen recently noted that 54% of organisations highlighted growing competition and the need for differentiation as a top market pressure. In 2013 organisations will increasingly be famous (or in-famous), for their differentiated brand experience. This will challenge organisations to reshape their models and offerings to ensure a consistent brand experience across multiple channels. The need to differentiate and win by delivering a compelling experience, will also force organisations to re-evaluate and transform their digital offerings to be customer-centric, breaking down traditional product focussed silos.

So what defines a great customer experience? Responsive design, easy access and personalisation are common themes that will be critical to providing a fantastic user experience.

Agility and innovation will define leaders

The convergence of emerging technology, changing consumer expectations, regulatory change, security risks and competitive pressures mean that the leaders in 2013, will be those organisations that can continuously learn and adapt within the changing environment. Organisations spend significant amounts of money on change management in an attempt to be more agile, yet 60 to 70% of change programs are not working.

Leaders will be identified through the following key characteristics:

  • Structured innovation budgets (as a percent of revenue) and processes to rapidly create, fund and deliver innovation projects. Much like pharmaceutical companies require R&D funding for long-term sustainability, organisations require a structured approach to innovation delivery that is not encumbered by day-to-day business operations.
  • An integrated approach to accessing the ‘voice of the customer’ to continually ascertain changing market needs and sentiment.
  • Shorter decision and review cycles with a ‘test and learn’ culture that accepts that failure is part of the innovation decision making process.
  • A collaborative culture of continuous learning and improvement where sharing knowledge and insights is rewarded and encouraged.

Surprisingly, PMI’s 2012 Pulse of the Profession In-Depth Report: Organizational Agility report highlighted that organisations reported that they are less agile than they were in 2008, indicating that organisational agility is becoming increasingly challenging in the digital era.

Stay tuned for the second part of this article, containing the remaining two priorities that should be firmly on your 2013 Digital Change agenda.



John Riccio

John is PwC’s Global Design & Deploy, Experience Consulting partner.

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