Earlier this month, I attended Forrester’s Digital Transformation event in Chicago. Aside from being in my old stomping grounds for a few days, it was interesting to hear different perspectives on how companies are trying to keep pace with rapidly evolving customer expectations.

Representatives from the NBA, Bloomingdale’s, Nespresso, AIG, GE, Visa and many others were kind enough to share how they’re working to embrace change across their business. Of all the examples presented, these two stories particularly stood out to me.

  • Home Depot had originally allocated several hundred million dollars for digital transformation, but upon realizing the full scope of change needed, its CEO asked the board for more than a billion dollars in order to transform almost every business function within the company. This level of investment reminded me of what another major company, Disney, did when it invested $1B in its MagicBands initiative – something that has completely changed the customer experience for every visitor to a Disney property.
  • Based on what it learns over the course of the previous 30 days, Tesla updates the software in its cars every month to improve the driver’s experience. In other words, the cars become more personalized over time. I may be late to the game on this – I don’t own a Tesla – but not only is this pretty cool, it’s totally unheard of in the traditional automotive industry.

To be sure, many of the conversations at the two-day event were lofty and not all were applicable to the attendees, but there were several recurring and noteworthy themes.

Here are my top four takeaways from the 2017 event.

1. No Business Unit is Safe from Change

As alluded to in the Home Depot example above, the scope of digital transformation can’t be compartmentalized to a single business unit, department or objective. To fully embrace the inevitable, your entire organization needs find ways to improve – from marketing to IT, from procurement to customer success, etc.

2. Customer Expectations Keep Rising

As I wrote about before, every time a customer has a great experience – regardless of where that experience occurs – his or her expectations rise. It’s not enough to keep pace with your competitors. Even if you have a banking app, you need to know what Uber, for example, is doing.

3. Be Customer-Obsessed

We’ve probably all learned since we took our first jobs that it’s all about the customer, so this should come as no surprise. However, as marketers, IT professionals and customer success representatives, we use business-facing metrics to monitor and evaluate our performance. Conversion rates and sales are undoubtedly important, but companies need to develop customer-centric metrics too (e.g., how easy is it to switch a flight, check a rewards balance or contact an agent).

4. The Fast Beat the Slow

We no longer live in a world where big companies consistently beat small companies. Rather, fast companies beat slow companies. As such, businesses can’t afford to build every technology solution themselves and plan for three-year rollouts. Being successful in digital transformation requires that companies take chances and embrace startups and partners to help expedite results.  

Looking Ahead

At Evergage, we believe that the companies that have invested in truly transformative personalized experiences will be the most successful. According to Forrester, 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience. And our own recent research found that 96% of marketers agree that personalization helps advance customer relationships.

If your company wants to be more customer-centric, appeal to customer expectations and move quickly, we should talk. Our real-time personalization platform – used by leading retailers, financials services companies, technology providers and others – can enable your team deliver true 1:1 personalized experiences that exceed customer expectations.

To learn more about Evergage and how it can help your organization, request a demo today.