In a recent blog post I explained the challenging reality of driving omni-channel experiences, emphasizing the need for convergence across the data and technology ecosystems. However, that was a highly myopic view for a simple reason—we are now living in an “era of convergence” where the need to converge goes beyond just data and technology. It is a necessity that exists at the most fundamental “organizational” level driving collaboration in the way organizations are structured and how they operate while engaging consumers.
A frictionless consumer experience that allows brands to engage with consumers across many touch points consistently will only remain a myth unless we look at convergence holistically across three key areas:
Convergence of organizational models
Convergence across data & technology
Convergence in people skills & capabilities
In many ways, a consumer experience is not just an output of creative, copy, data & technology, but rather a reflection of how an organization operates. A fragmented and silo structure will never yield the desired frictionless consumer experience.
So what does it mean to drive convergence within an organizational structure? In many ways it is the “start-up” mindset that is driven by 3 core drivers:
Consumer-obsessed view: Converge towards the consumer, making her equally important to all parts of the organization, regardless of their core capability. Driving consumer experiences, owning consumer engagement is no longer a just a marketing prerogative.
From isolation to collaboration: Secondly, these circles can or should no longer live in isolation. This is true whether it is sales and marketing or marketing and technology or marketing and finance. Either way, the objectives, drivers and imperatives for all these org units are overlapping more than ever before.
T-shaped to Pi-shaped mindsets: The notion of “marketing technologists” is the perfect example to illustrate what I mean here: Brands and organizations can no longer win the race with one-track-minded people. While specialization and going deep in an area of expertise is key, that knowledge and understanding cannot be compartmentalized in just one area.
Some may argue that this is a bit of an exaggeration, but there is no denying that as the consumer landscape matures, the need for “Convergence” will no longer be an option, but a necessity to survive. For brands it will be a choice between a fast-paced convergence or a gradual loss of market share.