Industry 4.0 - What Is It and Is Your Business Ready?


The Third Industrial Revolution brought digital capabilities to billions of people. The rise of electronics, telecommunications and computers allowed mass markets to gain knowledge and insights like never before.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is now here. The new technological phenomenon - digitalisation - is now the driving force to which we can create a new virtual world which directly influences the physical world. This new approach sees businesses achieving results that were not possible ten years ago thanks to advancements in technology.

Technology is fundamentally changing the behaviour of everything, from Governments, to businesses and individuals.

The uncertainty of where this latest movement might take us a society is creating significant risks for brands. Businesses are adapting to levels and speeds of change like they've never seen before so to mitigate risks they need to be continually reviewing underlying trends and responding to consumer behaviour.


Forces of Change

The new era of digitalisation has created interconnected forces of change which are enabling brands to build more meaningful and engaging customer experiences.

1. Advances in technology

The digital world has created new ways for brands and consumers to communicate. Social media platforms, online forums and live chat, to name just a few, have opened up spaces for the mass sharing of content and a place for consumers to express their opinions on brand openly.

This new technology has also given businesses the ability to gain intuitive predictions of current and future customer needs. Understanding this data is one of the primary jobs of digital marketers and is a necessity if a business wants to survive in today's ever changing marketplaces.

2. Increased scepticism and expectations

Consumers of today are becoming more empowered by the internet and in-turn, are increasingly questioning brand messages and their motives. The advances in technology give them this space to do so and allow them to be involved in shaping how a business provides it's product, customer service and marketing messages.

3. The interconnected world

Businesses can no longer rely on profits to determine their success. In the ever changing market of today, customer loyalty is scarce due to the increase in transparency created from digitalisation. With the increased scepticism, factors including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) measures are becoming ever-more important in demonstrating commitment to local communities and to build trust with particular groups such as Millennials and Generation Z.



Breaking down traditional organisational structures

In order to take advantage of these changes, brands need to look to new organisation structures and practices that bread down silos in traditional businesses, so to help facilitate an online customer experience.

There are two primary routes businesses are taking to tackle the challenges of change and optimise their organisation structures:

The Orchestrator Approach:

Marketing leaders within a business act as orchestrators of combined internal and external teams with different specialities.

These teams have three types of capabilities:

1. Think

These individuals are data and analytics focused, seeking out insights to measure ongoing performance. They also use real-time data to optimise ongoing projects to make changes where required.

2. Feel

This group are focused around consumer engagement and put the customer experience at the centre of everything they do. They are continually adapting the marketing and business strategy to meet and exceed customer expectations with the goal of building long-term, trusting relationships.

3. Do

Content and production focused, this team is vital due to the amount and the variety of content required to fuel today's often long customer success journeys with multiple touchpoints to optimise.


Content Team Approach:

The second route a business could take is creating content teams in order to manage the wide variety of content required for complex customer journeys.

In this structure, content teams works in pods underneath dedicated team leaders, allowing for agile working but also for clear accountability and responsibility.

These pods can be allocated to specific customer journeys to ensure optimum customer journeys at each touchpoint. They could also be organised into teams that manage certain marketing goals, or organised according to types of marketing channels.




Summary

If you're looking to build strong brand experiences this year - and you should be - it is important that you continue to monitor key trends that are influencing your target audience.

You can you tools such as Google Trends or over here at Fortifi, we really like Neil Patel's tool Ubersuggest. Insert your key terms, your website URL or competitor details and see what is trending in your circles at the moment.

Final top tip!

Continually include customer feedback opportunities at every touchpoint in your customer journey. Not only proactively seeking out opinions through your customer service points or through online reviews, but also listening to unprompted comments through social media channels.

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