Could Your Business Become a Victim of Digital Darwinism?
What Is Digital Darwinism?
Digital analyst, author, and speaker Brian Solis coined the term “Digital Darwinism” to make businesses acutely aware of the changes in marketing trends. Businesses that wait on the sidelines instead of taking the leap to embrace new marketing trends and enhance their customer's experience will be hindered in their success while their competitors prosper.
In his words:
Each business is a victim of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than the ability to exploit it. Digital Darwinism does not discriminate. Every business is threatened.
It's More Than Just Technology
Digital Darwinism isn't limited to the lack of keeping up with evolving technologies but includes the failure of keeping up with the evolution of consumer and society behaviors. Solis observed that the group of consumers deeply connected to technologies, whom he defines as “Gen C,” shares no specific demographics of age, ethnic group, education, or income level. Their behaviors and what they expect from companies have changed from the expectations of a typical consumer from previous years. Whether a teen or a senior, those in this new group expect instant results. For example, when using a rideshare app, if the wait time of rideshare company A is a few minutes longer than the expected wait time, the Gen C consumer will open rideshare company B's app to check for faster service.
Digital During the Pandemic
Due to the lockdowns, everyone needed to interact with the digital world in one way or another. Consumers who had been slow to embrace digital technologies were suddenly forced to learn how to order food and other products via Internet, work online, and participate in virtual meetings. As a result of 2020, those not living foremost in the digital world are among the minority. Consumer habits changed. With gyms closed, trends evolved toward the purchase of sporting goods equipment and exercise machines. Gen C began having more expectations about businesses, such as their values and trustworthiness. Customers developed new shopping habits. Of these, many were introduced to new businesses that had been at the forefront of digital technology, and 75% of those customers say they will continue patronizing these businesses even after the pandemic.
A Perfect Example of Digital Darwinism
In the 1980s, before the days of Internet genealogy, the go-to for genealogists was Everton. Besides their library holdings in Utah of rare and other genealogical materials, they began publishing The Genealogical Helper in 1947. The Genealogical Helper was a hefty magazine of about 250 pages, profiting by high annual subscription rates, ad sales, and family queries genealogists paid to list. They also profited from genealogical workshop seminars they held across the U.S. Meanwhile, a seemingly insignificant rival to this magazine was a small newsletter introduced in 1983. By 1994 this rival company's newsletter, which bore the same name as the company, evolved into a bi-monthly 68-page magazine.
Then the arrival of the Internet. Genealogists discovered they could post their queries online for free, with instant results. Advertisers found they could advertise online and reach a larger quantity of potential customers. Subscribers could read similar information online instead of paying $50 for an annual The Genealogical Helper subscription. The technological and consumer landscape was changing.
Everton didn't keep up with this change. By 2010 both Everton's library and its magazine were extinct. The small rival also ceased publication in 2010. However, by that time, it had more to offer its customers. This company embraced the digital world, taking advantage of the technological and consumer changes as the 21st century approached. And still today it constantly reinvents itself with the arrival of each new technology. Few today may recognize the name of Everton or its magazine. But today, even non-genealogists will recognize its once insignificant rival: Ancestry.
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