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The key takeout from the interview is that the digital revolution has changed the way business is being done. Never before has the ability to fine tune the brand to the customer been so great and never before has it been so necessary.
Digital has resulted in a new approach to sales and customer service. The speed and density of information has increased the speed of interaction across the entire spectrum of customer relations. It should no longer be the goal to “own” customers. The customer can easily move on to someone else and will stay with a certain brand only as long as his or her needs are addressed. Brand loyalty is now achieved by fine tuning the brand to the customer’s needs on an ongoing basis. Modern business is less about being relevant to the customer at all times and in all ways than about being there and fulfilling the customer’s needs in real time – being really, really relevant in the moment.
Here are some of the highlights from the chat.
When Ash asked what Dave what digital trends he thought would have the most impact in the next 12 to 24 months, he replied that new technologies would put the customer at the centre of the brands experience. The growth of a digital ecosystem comprised of various devices had created a much more personal relationship between brand and customer. He also pointed out that the speed of modern communication meant that companies no longer “owned” their customers. He said, “It’s less about owning you and more about sharing you with other services which make your life better.”
Dave also pointed out that, “You now have the ability to go to market with an n=1 offer.” When asked what an n=1 offer was he replied that it was an offer that completely met the customer's need right at that moment. It had less to do about personalisation and more about relevance. It was an approach that made the company completely relevant to the customer right at that moment.
Ash then asked Dave, “What is the best advice you have ever received as a leader?” Dave answered,”To make myself redundant.”. Now this is not an uncommon response of top level executives, but Dave gave it his own unique explanation. He explained that one should never occupy a position past the point where you are no longer growing or allowing others to grow. And when we find ourselves just “doing the role” we should move on. Its about delegating to people who report into you and going to those above you and looking for opportunities to develop yourself.
When asked about information and helpful materials for day to day decision making, Dave didn’t hesitate in mentioning the books ‘The Second Machine Age’ by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee as well as ‘The Flash Boys’ by Michael Lewis. He also recommended the YouTube video ‘Humans Need Not Apply’. Also, when asked what people he is currently following he mentioned Jeremy Rifkin and NYU professor Scott Galloway, both offering courses that he would be very happy to partake in, no matter his age.
If Dave could go back in time he would have no hesitation in counseling his parents , :”to introduce me to the world a bit later. I would love to be about twenty-something now. Last year I came across the University of Technology Sydney, Degree called Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation and I just want to do it.”
Spoken like a man who loves a new challenge.
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