Have you ever woken up with that queasy feeling in your stomach that something just isn’t right? Like perhaps a growing realization that your business is no longer an industry leader? That would certainly be a jarring brave new world view that you probably never thought you would have to confront.
But imagine that now you do. Without a contingency plan. Without a roadmap. And without the confidence that you know why it happened nor how to regain that position on the top.
Our client, a manufacturer of electronic products used to accomplish specific B2B tasks, woke up to that feeling as they emerged from the pandemic.
After extended research into their company, their competitors, their customers as well as discussions with industry leaders, we discovered many reasons to explain how they involuntarily arrived at that inflection point. Why was it an inflection point? Because the road they were on was no longer the best road ahead. They had to change course.
They needed a new direction and new strategic plan.
One of the more interesting patterns we uncovered was that the users of their products were quickly becoming defined by a digital divide. Users over a certain age (the ‘digital immigrants’ who were born into the analog world and had to learn to adapt to digital) thought about their products differently than the ‘digital natives’ (the younger people who were born into digital).
To define it very simply, older people looked at our client’s product and said, “Let’s see what cool things it can do.” The younger people looked at the product and said “Let’s see what cool things I can do with it. How does it empower me to achieve what I want to accomplish?”
Our client’s product was rich with advanced and previously unavailable hardware features that solved real problems. But it lacked an app-based software component that would empower the younger people’s expected use cases. Competitors had already begun to exploit this difference. And those competitors were gaining traction with the younger audience.
Fortunately, our client subsequently embraced the need to empower their users through app-based software feature development as well as continued advanced hardware product development. They aligned behind the urgent need to redefine the company’s product roadmap so that it addressed the needs of both younger and older customers.
Just as importantly, they are now prepared for the next time the industry changes so that they are not caught off guard.
Because while we don’t know what or when the next paradigm change will be, we do know there is one just around the corner.
And after you have had that queasy feeling once, you don’t ever want it again.