By Faisal Khan
Ever since the internet invaded our lives, we have seen a new normal evolving. Nowadays, instead of talking we chat, we broadcast our meals on social media before we eat them and our entertainment is derived not from the company of colleagues or friends, but from devices we own. Although conventions may have changed ‘drastically’ with the people we are serving, the reality of marketing is still the same; interrupt and buy attention. According to this new normal, the digital medium eats the world’s attention and businesses are developed on the back of digital infrastructure. It expects digital being at the core of how we conduct our businesses. It is the area where brands are expected to differentiate themselves from others and create value for their target audience. In the new normal, the product is the message. Either you innovate, transform, disrupt or become obsolete and fade away.
Definition of Digital Business Models
Products and services that are facilitated through the internet and fulfilled by the help of technology. Some examples in Pakistan are Careem, Food Panda, 14th Street Pizza, Hazir, Sukoon and EasyPaisa.
In the coming future, every company will be a software company. We can already see that 4 out of top 5 fortune 500 companies are technology companies. The reach of the internet and low startup costs allow new businesses to explore industries easily and come up with better offerings at a lower cost. We all saw how easily a relatively new startup, The Dollar Shave Club, forced Gillette to change their pricing model and offer products on subscription instead. Similarly, companies in every industry, be it media, FMCG, electronics, personal care, banking, telecom etc. are at risk of being disrupted by digital-savvy startups. Brands that possess digital dexterity will be the only ones that have a chance to see the future. It is highly probable that the startup wave backed by international funding in the form of Venture Capital will revolutionize the industry. While other foreign tech companies such as Rocket Internet with an attitude to transform and disrupt or incubators like Y-Combinator that nurture innovators and entrepreneurs at a grassroots level, will make companies based on traditional service models look like dinosaurs. Innovation has to happen at the business level, where you are constantly experimenting and pivoting on your value proposition.
For instance, telecom has lost and will significantly lose share from telephony in coming years since customers are getting the same value from the internet through apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Line. Banking will be dependent less on locations and more on mobility and convenience, through mobile banking. Personal care products with better prices will be bought online versus in stores. Media consumption will shift from large screens to small screens and content will be harder to monetize, especially with the lack of copyright regulations. Most of these things are already in place, we just need to come out of this ostrich syndrome.
Brands in every industry need to pivot their business models and marketers need to act as entrepreneurs by stepping out of their offices to spend more time with their customers. It is critical for brands to rethink their current product offerings and reinvent themselves, keeping technology at the core. Every brand manager should think like a startup entrepreneur and design their business around digital. We can’t settle since technology is inseparably a part of our craft now with the continuously changing demands of customers opening limitless possibilities, giving our businesses an opportunity to go beyond what we are doing right now. In this evolution of ‘normals’, either you are a part of the revolution or a sitting duck. The choice is yours.