A New Year Full of Digital Globalization Challenges!

Jan 20, 2016

Article ImageWe should all welcome 2016 as a year of exciting trends, challenges, and opportunities. Digital content excellence will play out more than ever before and global expansion will remain a major growth enabler for the next 12 months--and likely beyond. In other words digital customer experience across geographies and markets will be there to stay and will keep global business leaders and players busy, sometimes busier than what they planned or expected last year. Having said that we may wonder what is ahead of us this year and how it is going to impact digital globalization practices and objectives.

No need to be a fortune teller to say that some shifts in the global economy and technological evolution should be taken into account in order to appreciate what 2016 has in store. Let's highlight a few factors that are directly related to digital globalization drivers:

  • The economy is and will be changing in some international markets and sometimes faster than anticipated. Striking examples are to be found in China, Brazil, or Russia. While their economies are seen as slowing down or contracting it should actually lead us to consider additional transformation and acceleration in the way consumers behave throughout their online and offline journey. Engagement will have to be flawless to ensure effective decisions, boost sales, and provide with value adding support. This implies that the customer experience value chain will become more sensitive to accommodate existing and new touch points. There will be no comfort zone internationally, and lingering experience issues will not be tolerated
  • E-commerce will be growing globally, as we all know, and global competition will be increasingly fierce. Winners will be those who design and develop their content - and so make their business - with effective and continuous engagement in mind for their international customers. Content that is simply available for international audiences is no longer a baseline, and will become a serious pitfall. Moreover, recent insights and trends show growth will accelerate in non-urban areas in a number of international markets, posing additional challenges to meet experience expectations from diverse customers in these areas. Alibaba has already incorporated this factor in its plans and priorities in China for example
  • The overall amount of digital content will increase globally, and its effectiveness will have to be ensured and enhanced accordingly. Social media and the Internet of Things will take content to new heights, while more metrics will be generated across objects, platforms, applications, and devices. Therefore digesting, leveraging and measuring all that content in a holistic and customer centric way will matter
  • Customer experience management technology will be critical to deliver on aspirations and requirements around the world. Complexity and diversity will remain whereas levels of speed and granularity should be increased. Content will have to be created, adapted and deployed in a very agile way to keep up with evolving technical and human environments.

There are also a few realities you must incorporate into digital globalization execution both from a strategic and tactical standpoint. Most importantly some key enablers will have to be strengthened this year to achieve more with similar (or fewer) means.

  • Customer understanding will drive content creation on an ongoing basis. Data and insights will be important to global business leaders who need to stay on top of fast paced changes in local experiences and anticipate how products should be designed and developed to keep delighting customers. Customer centricity will start from day one and never end. Consistency, accuracy, and simplicity will remain at the center of seamless experiences just like linguistic, cultural, and functional relevance
  • Automation will enable content agility and effectiveness. Specifically it will help manage larger amounts of content, as well as enable businesses to listen to and understand what international customers really want and deliver well-targeted content and products. Mastering the global content supply chain end to end should be mostly based on the winning combination of streamlined processes and automation tools. The more markets are in scope the more value is going to be generated from this approach
  • Localization will remain a must when it comes to global expansion. Actually smart localization should be the name of the game here (i.e. localization based on clear metrics or projections, cost and time effectiveness as well as omni-channel experience). Hyperlocalization will come up more and more often considering the needs for closer and faster engagement with local customers, and the various platforms and sources of content.

During a recent interview Reed Hastings (Netflix CEO) stated that "We realized we learned best by getting in the market and then learning, even if we're less than perfect." Digital globalization leaders should indeed care about effectiveness rather than perfection. 2016 will be another year to demonstrate it.

(Imager courtesy of Shutterstock.)

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