Your New Competition: Everyone Who Charges for Digital

Last week’s announcement of YouTubeRed, an ad-free subscription service to an enhanced YouTube experience, is just one recent example of how technological convergence has forever disrupted the formerly separate industries of telephone, television and Internet services.

As consumers, we want to watch our favorite TV shows or the latest blockbuster movies whenever and wherever we choose. Our smartphones don’t simply connect us to our friends and family. They enable us to do our banking, refill prescriptions, find a taxi, record video, and hundreds of other tasks.  Not only do our mobile telephones do things that don’t require us to talk, but many of us — myself included – spend more time doing non-talking things with our phones than actually using it as a phone.

That’s how wireless phone carriers quickly became digital subscription companies. Cable companies, no longer using the public airwaves to deliver television, became digital subscription companies too.  Internet radio, VoIP, audiobooks, some media companies and video content providers like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go are also digital subscription companies.

This digital convergence has been disruptive for the formerly separate industries of telephone, television and Internet service providers. Broadband/cable and traditional phone companies are having to diversify to compete in new market spaces. But the current regulatory environment means providers must follow specific guidelines for each type of service. This makes it extremely difficult for many companies to market a coherent bundle of digital services. Yet that is precisely what customers demand. 

With the digital world converging all around us, businesses have the option to adapt or fail. The unprepared will be left behind. Here are two factors that will help determine your company’s chance for success:

1.      Having the right systems in place, and

2.      The speed with which you can bring changes to market.

First, the systems. You need the right infrastructure to cost-effectively offer highly customized bundles across services. Bringing together different pricing structures and policies requires visibility and connectivity. You’ve got to be able to see your customers even if they exist in disparate systems.

A holistic, or 360° view of the customer will show you the services they have, and the offers they have responded to, so you can build better bundles that will attract and win more business. Sales and customer service reps must be empowered to make the right offers to customers at the right time. Systems built for convergent business processes will make this possible.

Second is speed. Every day there are new competitors and new bundled services being advertised. How long before these forces start to erode your customer base? Fortunately, the cloud helps when it comes to faster execution. Consider a Software-as-a-Service solution that can be up and running quickly.

When digital competitors are all around you, there is only one way to stay in the game: innovate and execute faster. If you’d like to talk more about this, just give me a call. Or text. Or email. In this converged world, it all works!

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