How to understand the digital technology evolution required by marketers
Utilization of digital technology based on the Internet environment is evolving in various aspects of corporate marketing activities such as research activities as well as sales activities and sales methods, grasping and training prospective customers, managing existing customers and strengthening relationships. .. Effective use of these is a major issue for those involved in marketing.
However, not only that, but by grasping changes within a larger framework, such as business strategy and business model, or the value chain for delivering value to customers, new impacts that digital technology will have on marketing can be seen. Of course, how to deal with issues related to daily marketing operations such as digital marketing and marketing automation is important, but in this column, we will take a look at the changes in the business that is the premise of marketing and think about future marketing from there. I want to try.
The essence of business transformation as seen on smartphones
IoT and AI are becoming buzzwords these days. However, these are just means, and we should pay attention to what kind of innovation will occur in the business by utilizing AI technology for the data accumulated by IoT. What is important for corporate management is the promotion of business transformation utilizing them. The meaning of change is to create new value with the power of digital technology. What I would like to emphasize is that the value created by the digital business transformation is different not only in its content but also in its creation. Let’s look at the aspect of such value creation that is already happening.
The major difference between smartphones (smartphones), which are indispensable in our daily lives, and conventional electric appliances is that the functions are separated from the hardware. After each purchase, each consumer installs the app to get the desired function. Traditionally, the manufacturer of the final product has internalized important functions in advance. In other words, the value enjoyed by consumers was fixed at the time of shipment of the final product from the factory, whereas the value was released from the state where the smartphone bundled the value with the hardware. The value was unbundled. The operating system and carriers that support value are also separated and independent from their functions. Then, in the purchasing behavior of the consumer, selection is made for each of them (although the OS and hardware are integrated). There are multiple companies that are the main players of marketing for each role such as hardware, carrier, application, etc., but they are not independent of players such as companies that play other roles, but they are strongly linked It’s not something to do. And in order for such a loose cooperation mechanism to function effectively, it is necessary to have the existence that is essential, and in the case of smartphones, the carrier is the main structure.
New value creation approach
Such value unbundling is the ideal way of creating value only with digital technology. Value is added and enhanced by processing and assembly, and it is different from consumers choosing and enjoying the value included in the final product. And it is thought that such an approach will spread not only to smartphones but also to a wide range of markets in the future. One example is the smart home initiative, which is called a “connected home” that provides comfort and convenience by utilizing the Internet environment. In addition, the value provided by connected cars called connected cars is extremely diverse, including the design and functions of the body, driving performance, safety performance, packaging, apps, maps, and user interfaces. Value is provided by more players than smartphones, where content and hardware functions and usability are the main values. A wide variety of players are involved, including the OS, carrier, AI, security that supports them, as well as road administration and related organizations. Automakers in Japan and overseas are looking for various self-reforms because they are essential in vehicles in the “connected” era that transform into such an industrial structure.
The sharing business, which is attracting attention due to the rise of various business models, has a structure that is clearly different from conventional value creation. The share of cars, parking lots, accommodations, clothes, etc. can be said to be an effort to effectively utilize the Internet environment and digital technology by focusing on the latent needs of consumers and the creativity of business model development. It is a mechanism in which a platform company that promotes the business co-creates value with the providers of goods and spaces, and consumers who are users. In terms of consumer purchasing behavior, the platform operator and the provider of the service provided there will be the two choices. What is interesting is that consumers can be users of sharing services as well as providers of things and spaces to share. This raises the question of whether it is sufficient to consider the target as a “buyer” in marketing to consumers.
A new market composed of multiple layers of value
As we have seen, in new businesses that utilize digital technology, the way companies are involved in creating value is different from the past. By collaborating with multiple players, the value created by leveraging the strengths of their respective roles will be bundled together to create higher level (meta) value such as “connected” cars and homes. Each player must be indispensable through the various roles that make up that “meta” value. This is how new value is created in line with business transformation in the digital age. Such a group of companies, and in some cases (for example, infrastructure and systems that support urban life) with the participation of government and academia, is called an ecosystem, which means an ecosystem.
This multi-layered structure of value creation may occur in other markets in the future. For example, the value of food may be unbundled, and the “meta” value to consumers of eating fresher and tastier food may be provided differently than processed foods based on traditional value chains. .. That is, a group of companies with strengths in raw material production/procurement, cooking appliances, retailing, logistics, communications, internet, and applications participate in processed food manufacturers, and each plays a variety of roles to realize “meta” value. Will be realized through a new ecosystem that carries the “micro” value of
Even without envisioning high-level value creation from the beginning, large companies are engaged in open innovation and collaboration with venture companies, and while seeking to utilize their technologies and know-how in a wider range of business, A pattern may be considered in which an ecosystem that creates value is formed.
Then, what kind of changes will marketing require in businesses that take the value creation approach described above?
- Extend the idea of target
It goes without saying that targeting, which is one of the basic marketing strategies, is generally the “buyer” of consumers or customer companies (in the case of BtoB business). However, in businesses where new value is created using digital technology, we believe that relationships with partners that form the ecosystem should be considered as one of the marketing issues, and the creation and evolution of collaboration should be promoted. In order to enhance the attractiveness and presence as a partner in a new market, it is required to market the ability of the company while being aware of the relationship between the “meta” value and the role that the company plays as its component. In addition, for companies that aim for the core of the ecosystem, it is also a challenge to gain the confidence that many potential partners are worthy of their positioning, and to encourage them to participate in it, leading to the enhancement of the ecosystem. When addressing these issues related to building relationships with partners, it can be said that the concept of marketing, which is based on “customer origin” and “value thinking,” is significant. The method requires some ingenuity, but it is desirable to confirm the appropriate understanding, penetration of impressions and evaluations at a fixed point through research, as in the case of consumers, and use it for studying countermeasures.
For consumers, it is necessary to develop relationships not only as “buyers” but also as value-listening partners who are worthy of listening, and as resource providers as in the case of the sharing business mentioned above.
- Incorporate the context of social significance into the provided value
As can be seen from the market groups discussed above, the “meta” value that enables the unity of the abilities of various players by utilizing the “connection” in the Internet environment has a wide range of impact. Newly created values are often shared with society as a whole. By pushing this point to the forefront and enlightening “meta” value, it is possible to permeate the status and reality similar to social infrastructure, not only to increase consumer demand but also to socially evaluate the ecosystem itself. I think that there is an effect that brings. In addition, companies that aim to be the cornerstone of the new market will be able to position the aspect of social change in new markets as their corporate mission, and take actions to lead that change with their thoughts, thereby becoming a company that partners can trust. The concept of thought leadership, which advocates and enlightens the social significance of the value created by business, and implements and promotes active and socially-oriented efforts, deserves reference for a wide range of companies.
The social significance of the new market, and thus its recognition as being equivalent to social infrastructure, has the power to encourage members of the ecosystem to take a positive approach to value creation. Internal marketing with the social theme of the new business as the core theme is also worth considering, as it will motivate each and every employee.
- Providing appropriate communication opportunities and opportunities