5 Trends that Will Define the Future: Digital Disruption and How to Survive It

Virtual reality headsets, modular TV sets, and an electric car that Batman would be proud to drive: For tech geeks, the just-finished Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas offered an interesting glimpse of the future.

For something potentially more relevant to the rest of us, consider instead this list of tech trends that Brian Solis, principal analyst at the Altimeter Group, recently published on LinkedIn. It doesn’t focus on gizmos and gadgets but rather takes a grand-scale view of the societal trends that are having a disruptive influence on the way people live, interact with others, and decide what companies they’ll honor with their business.

The full, 25-item list is worth a read but, in the meantime, here are five trends that clearly apply to the business of healthcare marketing and those who hope to connect with today’s aesthetic consumer:

The New Brand: Experiences Are More Important than Products

Given so many options, consumers will increasingly consider great products (and excellent services) a given, ascribing more and more value to the totality of their customer experience, a trend that will reward providers who engage with them early and continue to do so “after the sale.” This, notes Solis, is especially true for the Millennial consumers who are in the process of dominating the market: “Brands must zero-in on the needs, values, and aspirations of a generation that defines everything radically differently than previous generations.”

The Dynamic Customer Journey Changes Brand Dynamics

According to Solis, “The customer journey decentralizes, becoming a series of non-linear mobile-centric micro-moments, mimicking everyday consumer activity and communication. This sets the stage for relevant brand and product serendipity.” In such an environment, Internet usage becomes more about discovery than search, so producing attention-getting content and distributing it appropriately will take on added importance.

Businesses Must Live by Radical Transparency to Gain Trust and Business of Customers

Combine “discoverability” and “brand experiences” and you set the stage for truly connecting with potential patients — or completely alienating them if they believe you’re being less than 100% truthful. That’s because many people are looking to do business with companies that they believe share their values. Solis cuts to the chase when he says, “Businesses must practice radical transparency or risk irrelevance.”

Mobile-first Behavior Transforms the Web

“The entire Web will be re-imagined for a mobile-first and mobile-only world that is screen, location, context, and intention-aware,” writes Solis. The result will allow for more dynamic, personal experiences that will, in turn, require practices to embrace technologies (e.g., self-scheduling, mhealth, location-based messaging) to satisfy the demand for real-time, personal engagement.

Every Company Undergoes Digital Transformation and Gains Empathy in the Process

As Solis defines it, digital transformation refers to “the re-alignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively compete in a digital economy.” And forward-thinking companies will invest in efforts to improve experiences for all concerned.

And yet, he’s also quick to point out that although the above trends are tech-driven, it’s not a one-way street: “Digital transformation efforts will not be informed by digital trends; instead, social science will help decision-makers better understand how digital trends affect how people work, shop, communicate, what they value, etc.”

In other words, technology, in and of itself, doesn’t automatically create excellent customer experiences but it can help facilitate them. Likewise, doctors who understand what makes a great patient experience and incorporate digital transformation to provide it will be the ones who survive the disruption to come.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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