Reflecting Upon a New Era as Our Digital Marketing Agency Turned Seven Amidst a Pandemic — One that’s Accelerating the Importance of Digital Customer Experiences and Calling for New Thinking
Transcript by Justin Cerone, Lincoln Digital Group Founder, Chairman & CEO
This is Justin’s Cerone. Founder and CEO, Lincoln Digital Group. It’s May 13th, 2020. And what follows are my reflections on exactly 7 years since forming Lincoln Digital Group in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois in 2013.
If I had to point to an overall theme to our 7 years in business, it’s that in the very recent past, digital has truly become your business.
Be it through payments, communications, automation, customer fulfillment delivery. These are all now ways that digital is the current backbone of our economy — putting aside all the IT infrastructure that has been at the core of business for many decades now.
This is the dawn of a new day when digital is no longer a division or a unit within your business.
It is your business.
It is the underpinnings of how you do business.
It is how you deliver a customer experience.
It is your customer experience in most customers eyes now certainly the younger, more digitally native segment of our population.
It is “be all, end all” of your brand to them.
Of course, this raises many questions for the future.
How are all the ways I can serve your customers? How are all the ways it can be used against you?
How are all the ways your competitors could potentially do digital better than you?
But the bottom line is in the midst of this, and it’s crazy how it’s worked out this way — almost seven years to the day — the outbreak of the coronavirus has I think illuminated, magnified, emphasized — whatever word you’d like to use. It has been the Tipping Point and made digital the new business.
This is the day your business became digital.
And what I mean by that is, if you look around the businesses that are thriving and excelling in becoming noticed in the marketplace because of how they’re doing things differently, they all offer a unique and exciting digital experience in one form or another.
First evening first. This does not mean that you have to have the nerdiest people hired a bunch of software Geeks whatever, you want to say about it, to do this effectively. It means the Strategic thinking, the planning, those are the core elements now how you delivered to the customer. Those are the core elements of how we must be thinking now, and what it means for how they interact with us, moving forward.
Digital is no longer just marketing.
“Digital” is how you do all these things to create demand for your product: capture that demand for your product for fill that demand for your product follow up on the demand for your product like the payment on the demand for your product deliver your products, market your product… it is now all of those things.
Digital is far more than simply marketing at this point. It is the entire customer experience.
And this means your business must become proficient at digital learning, digital knowledge, and must have an underpinning of digital understanding and fundamentals for how it can drive your business to the top of its category.
It must have a creative capacity to do certain things digitally on its own as far as quick graphics, response-type situations. A good example now probably would be in the face of the crisis.
Presumably, many businesses found it easier and faster to make their own sort of coronavirus response faster Graphics than Consulting with their agency.
But what I think this means for agency’s going forward is that we must offer different practices, different business lines, and provide enhanced focus in the areas in which they choose to compete. And that’s why evolving to a model that that’s also supported by e-learning, consultancy and advisory services, digital media, data and information, products and more.
And that means our business is a more multi-pronged, and ultimately stronger, Lincoln Digital Group. It will mean a more focused practice in all of our divisions.
It will mean that all of our divisions will all be distinct.
Because we are at the beginning of a new day in business. Our business must also evolve our focus on the entire digital experience in order to thrive.
And taking this approach, being built upon numerous distinct divisions and digital revenue streams, will make us a stronger, more modern and more nimble, evolving business because we will be able to monetize and pull levers on some key underpinnings of the post-Covid economy.
While this will present challenges and new needs, and will not be a quick or easy evolution, it creates new opportunities.
And the future has never been brighter for digital because again, when you look at the businesses that have thrived — especially compared to those that have barely survived — the ones that have done digital right have been the ones that have come out 8 weeks after this all began stronger, more robust and able to be more aggressive for future growth than the ones who did not recognize digital’s capability to help capture, fulfill, or otherwise logistically support key areas of your business.
Lincoln Digital Group will not be positioned to capture and support a bigger portion of businesses overall digital spend in light of these changes — and the future has never been brighter for us.
Taking all I’ve shared, it’s time for us to execute on the planning we’ve laid and act on these opportunities, not only as an evolved organization, but with an evolved slogan reflective of our current and future: Lincoln Digital Group — The Digital Experience Leaders.