Lincoln Digital Group 7 Years Later
WHEN DIGITAL BECAME YOUR BUSINESS
Welcoming a New Day – “The day digital usurped everything”
NOTE: As the month of May and Lincoln Digital Group’s 7th corporate anniversary approached, I was envisioning a very different type of content for this milestone. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that reason was to force me to reflect on how my craft has changed in the go-forward economy.
NOTE 2: This post says we turned 7 years old in May. It’s July. You’re probably wondering “what gives with the delay?” More on that below…
Do You Find Yourself Here?
Does your business need solutions to mounting problems? Are new opportunities dwindling? Is it a challenge to reach your prospects where they are? Or, to even find them at all?
Worse yet, is it difficult to actually fulfill your sales in today’s environment?
We’ve all been “there.” Many are still there. Many more are wondering how to get the hell away from “there.”
“There,” of course, is the beginning of the Covid economy. As Lincoln Digital Group turned 7 years old on our corporate birthday of May 13th, the coronavirus had thoroughly ravaged the world — turning business on its head and societies looking inward toward the future like never before.
Still, some businesses (thankfully including those of our clients) thrived in the midst of unprecedented times. Intuitively, I knew the world had changed.
My observations forced me to challenge my pre-existing beliefs to uncover what reliable future growth may look like.
You Say Digital Marketing. Your Customer Says Digital Experience
In my humble opinion, you, me and nearly every other human love to be “WOW’d” by a business.
You feel “WOW’d” when the business thoroughly understands what you want, makes it as easy as they possibly could for you (and goes beyond that), and then, during your path to payment, creates magic moments that make you feel absolutely awesome about giving them your hard-earned money.
We’ve all been there as a consumer.
This is still what many consumers expect from their purchase experience.
But now, many expect it (and often love it) to be digital…
…which takes strategic thinking, planning, and creative and development capabilities to fulfill experiences for the customer in a way that can “wow” them.
Delivering an exceptional digital experience in the post-covid economy does not mean hiring the most “digitally native,” “influential” or “Google certified” people you can find.
An exceptional digital business now does all of the above. Creating demand for your product, capturing that demand, fulfilling/delivering on that demand, collecting payment, and following-up on the experience to drive loyalty and referrals.
Digital: The Intersection of Modern Consumer Life AND Today’s Business Engine
Below are modern examples of how “digital” has, and can continue to, serve as a customer experience platform. Many of them are likely familiar from your own experiences:
- Order Status
- Sales fulfillment / item delivery
- Recommendations and enhancements (ie. “We think you’ll like…”) or related accessories (ie. “Related Products…”)
- Augmented or virtual reality
Only one of the seven points above is directly related to marketing — meaning 85% of them can be more directly beneficial to other aspects of a business.
More than Marketing — But Still the Most Effective Way to Go-To-Market
Wise businesses won’t soon forget how digital acted as a growth platform and opportunity engine for their business by deploying the following capabilities:
- Awareness creation
- Customer consideration
- Demand stimulation
- Sales conversion (direct sales)
- Subscription sales
- Educational resources and materials
What next, and where’s it going?
After deep consideration, my view with LDG @ 7 years old is that coronavirus and its impact on business has firmly entrenched digital consumer capabilities — we’ll collectively call this “the digital experience” — as the premier capability and potential advantage of any business with plans on leading its category.
A “look around” reveals businesses that are thriving, excelling and being discussed in the marketplace. They all offer a unique, exciting digital experience in one form or another.
And, those digital capabilities are a primary reason why some businesses have been able to press their leadership position in the post-Covid economy, seemingly with less effort than you may think.
Familiar Brands, New Digital Customer Experiences
Brands like Amazon and Dominos have leveraged digital to create enhanced order, payment and loyalty experiences since the mid/late 2000s — and are still going strong. onsider what’s happened to these businesses competitors in the meantime.
As one recent example in the midst of the pandemic outbreak, Dominoes used digital to accept and fulfill deliveries without customers providing a physical address (!!!).
Known as HotSpots™, they fused customers’ smartphone location services with public drop-off points in order to create an entirely new pizza fulfillment experience that is not takeout or delivery. Not only is it a brand new digital experience, the entire purchase process from awareness
Old Sales via New Experiences
More recently, well-known startup / D2C brands in the eyeglasses/home goods/apparel spaces have exemplified it as well.[Shameless plug: We too launched a similar experience for one of our clients that used digital to enable 2 broader shopping experiences for their audience: Sizing Guide and Storefinder.]
Hell, even something as old school as choosing a paint color is now a digital experience. With their ColorSnap app, Sherwin Williams digitally-enabled consumers to place any color directly on any wall of their home — without ever painting a sample.
Your Business of Tomorrow is Here, Now
Businesses that become proficient in all forms of digital knowledge and skillsets are preparing themselves to thrive in an environment like we’re in today.
Today I’m proud to announce we are re-focusing some efforts, expanding others and adapting our structure to match. A variety of practices — such as a consultancy, “Next commerce” services, and standards and auditing services for digital reports — are all now apart of the go-forward Lincoln Digital.