Technology Don't Care

Every single day lately I am reminded that there is a technology revolution going on. It’s obvious, it’s really easy to see, and equally easy to ignore. As our habits change we evolve, but we may not be seeing this change for what it is: truly revolutionary!

I am sure my parents did not expect to see biplanes of the 20’s become Boeing masterpieces… or expect to see man on the moon, or discover their camera had become their telephone, or that big old V8 replaced by an electric motor. But that all happened no matter what they thought about technology. It was a technological marvel, but the rotary phone still worked, and life went on, all good. Now technology does matter, and life is not going on as usual.

This technology “thing” is all around us. We are accepting to a degree the new gadgets, and we modify our behavior accordingly and get on with life, right?

But the thing is, most of us and most of our businesses are just catching the tail end of change, and this strikes me as very dangerous. What is really happening is indeed revolutionary, and it all centers on how we take in communication. If you are 30 years old and have a young child, be assured he or she will never own a laptop and will never operate a home computer. If you have millennial children this will be no surprise, as they are almost all the way there now.  Mobile devices are deeply infused in life today and are altering the behavioral patterns for all of us.

But its more than “mobile devices,” per se, that we need to think about. Taking communication in a new way has liberated us from many of the old necessities. If you are in a two income family, time compression is an issue. Its human nature to take the path of least resistance…the consequence has been a totally new buying pattern.  Mall closures are very high… there simply is no extra time to “shop.”  Ditto for sports… golf rounds are down… no time.  TV habits are changed… “record it,” skip the advertising, get the “game” the way you want it, quick, easy… fast… no time to waste. Millennials are clipping the cable…why? Because they don’t want to pay for 150 channels of programming they never see or never want to see.  So times are changing and technology is leading us to new, time efficient ways to create opportunities for more important things in life. Time wasting is out. Largess is out replaced by frugality. And no where is it more evident than in our retail businesses. Business is down in almost all retail sectors at the very same time employment and the stock market are at record highs. It's a WTF moment!

So back to the premise, here “Technology Don’t Care.” That's the bitter truth. You can choose to ignore it…unless you are in business. It's a time of revolutionary change: relying on the anti technology dream that “it will take care of itself” is the proverbial path to a train wreck. 

For instance, what to do about Amazon, how to manage a brick and mortar retail universe, or perhaps a brick and click universe are critical decisions that contemporary Brand Executives and retailers are asking themselves right now. 

Let me challenge you Brand managers to answer these questions:
·               Do you have an Amazon strategy?
·               Do you want to service the brick and mortar retail community?
·         Do you want to service both retail and amazon?
·         Do you run a Branded ecommerce center?
·         Do you have a MAP policy for your retailers?
·         Does your own ecommerce center observe your MAP policy?
·         Does your Branded ecomm center report to the Sales side of the business or is it a Marketing assignment?

And for our retail members, do you know your Brand Partner’s answers to the very same questions?  It might not be a pretty conversation, but the time is coming where none of us can conduct a successful, contemporary, forward thinking business unless we can foresee the technological future, get the basics right and choose the contemporary path.

There is a role for SDSI and that's to create a forum for critical C level discussion of all of these challenges and to dialog about solutions. We try to chip away at this every day… all suggestions appreciated!

It's Back to School… hopefully back to better business!