Looking back at 2010 and the coming Digital Transformation

If there is a single thought that sums up what 2010 meant to Digital’s impact on business, it should be that it was the year that signaled the next great phase in Digital: Transformation.

  • 360-degree customer contact transforming into 3-Dimensional relationships – 365 days a year through the explosion of location (and time)-based services such a Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla.
  • Conversations about ‘offline digital engagement‘ replacing buzz about the shiniest new app – with a focus on individual human needs and real-world behaviors.  How brands can maintain relevance driven by growth of social shopping, m-commerce, and mobile couponing.
  • Increasing struggle to clearly define Digital (or is it technology?) ownership across IT, Marketing and the Business, with talk of emerging needs for new hybrid leadership roles such as a Chief Marketing Technologist.

  • Companies’ digital strategies expanding from marketing calendars to market disruption, risk management and digitization of the business.
  • Channel marketing becoming more cumbersome as Digital blurs traditional boundaries, evidenced by Kraft’s integration of Digital marketing with Shopper marketing, and traditional B2B companies transforming to B2X as Digital efforts spread across business units, sales, service and innovation.
  • Forrester’s Splinternet being joined by forces of convergence and acceleration that are exponentially increasing complexity while pulling the planning horizon ever closer.
  • This year’s launch of iPad?  An important but expected next step as the Three Screens of TV, Web and Mobile have blurred into 4.5 screens (and counting) that blend Web, social, data, voice, video, communications, applications and communities on the way toward platform-agnostic operating systems such as Sony’s Android-powered TV.
  • Mobile Strategy? Social Media Strategy? Web Strategy?  All inseparable parts of a broadening whole increasingly integral to achieving core business objectives.

And most of all, 2010 was notable because companies and their leaders increasingly recognized that the biggest barrier to Digital growth is often not technology (as challenging as that can be), but their own organizations, structures, processes, people, and ability to transform in preparation for a dramatically changing future.

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