My daughter Frida is 5 years old – and I am totally sure, that she is the most beautiful and adorable creature in the world (like any father should be).
Besides that, she teaches me a lot about the way to look at “digitalization” and all the confusion around it: For example, it is completely normal for her to hear her favorite audio books via Audible or Spotify – either as download or as stream. Although she is not yet really able to read, she manages most of it on herself (by viewing the pictures and icons or by commanding her older brother or her parents to help her). She is digitally literate by her date of birth. For her it’s no USP to have it all at her fingertips. It’s the other way around: if an audiobook or a song, that she wants to hear, is not digitally available, she gets angry and disappointed.
The USP (Unique Selling Proposition) becomes a UFP (Ultimate Frustration Proposition)!
In this respect she is completely digitalized. And she won’t be very impressed by technical improvements of the service. She expects them!
When it comes to drawing – which is her most beloved hobby – the (her) world is a completely different one. She insists on using her colored pencils and white paper to paint her flowers, princesses, unicorns and treasure maps. She also could use one of the many drawing-apps we have on our family-iPad. But that is not even an option. After trying them (with notable results) she put the iPad away and return to her pencils and white paper. And she had no difficulties to explain why: “If I draw on paper it’s much easier to make a gift to you, Mama or Henri (the brother). Besides that: I love the smell the of the pencils and the paper.”
In this respect she stays completely analog. And she won’t even care for technical improvements in the digital world.
Apart from my daughter’s habits of listening to audiobooks and drawing pictures – what is the lesson we can learn? My daughter is very much like all of us. In some areas she expects state of the art digital service – in other cases she doesn’t even care. Transferred to marketing that means: digitalization and digital excellence is essential. But there’s no “either… or…”; analog excellence is (and remains) just as important – at least if it is for your target group(s).
So today’s imperative (at least in my view) is not to force each and every thing or service into the digital transfer and forget about everything else. This is in obvious contrast to many discussions I observe e.g. in the financial services industry, where “FinTec” or “InsureTec” are regarded as the (only) solution to prepare for future challenges. No question: digitalization is essential to stay (or become) competitive in the future of marketing. But it is just needed to play – not sufficient to win!
Today’s imperative is to integrate digital and analog. So digital transformation should just be the prologue of digital integration. And digital integration is a first chapter in a book of customer centricity. Being or becoming “just digital” in most cases is as wrong as remaining “just analog”. And waiting to adapt to today’s challenges until the digital transformation is completed would be a major mistake. Not at least because technical progress will eat current concepts for breakfast within months.
Last not least a personal – and maybe a little moralistic and pathetic – remark to all of us, who have little children: probably we are the last generation of parents in the western world that has enough own experience of a world without digitalization. Let’s inspire our sons and daughters to taste the smell of pens and paper, to get dirty in a football game or just to play with each other – while letting them become more and more literate in the digital world!