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Second in a two-part series. Click to read part one.


In 1980, when UK punk band The Jam sang “the public gets what the public wants,” they were—in true punk spirit—questioning how much a person really benefits from policies made in the interest of “public value.” That is, can across-the-board rules that are created by a powerful minority and based on what they believe the average person needs really serve everyone? That’s my interpretation of the lyrics in “Going Underground,” anyway.

The answer more than 35 years ago was “no,” and it’s the same today. However, the difference between then and now is that consideration for the individual is no longer flatly dismissed as a radical punk ideal, but instead is regarded as the key to business success and longevity. Who knew punk was so visionary?

In business, evidence of the individual’s growing influence is everywhere—including the consumerization of technology, and in the emphasis on personalization and customer experience.

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In a recent post, we explored how we got to “today,” and what that very personalized “today” looks like. But what about the future? How can business leaders ensure their organizations stay competitive? Here are four things to consider:

1. Behold the “Me Generation”

With regard to customer experience, the power today is no longer just in the hands of those rich enough to buy it (to paraphrase The Clash circa 1977). The Voice of the Customer will become the Voice of Me, and personalization will lead to more bespoke experiences in the enterprise.

The Voice of the Customer will become the Voice of Me, and personalization will lead to more bespoke experiences in the enterprise.

With the wealth of data available and use of predictive modeling, companies (like ours) can gain a deep understanding of their clients, but also of individual customers too, and can anticipate their needs with better precision.

2. Analytics will create competitive advantage

Data, on its own, does not provide the advantage. It’s what you do with it that makes a difference. Analytics can provide you with an understanding of actual customer behavior and needs, but it can also enable you to predict with a high degree of accuracy what customers will do next. Companies that take steps to incorporate analytics into every business decision will have the competitive advantage.

3. Apps will soon become the end-to-end arbiters of customer experience

More than 2 billion people worldwide will have a smart device in 2016, and those users will spend the majority of their time using apps. However, simply having an app is not enough. Companies must provide meaningful mobile experiences—they need to build apps that are based on sound mobile strategies and a deep understanding of customers. An app should be easy to use, and should provide relevant content and capabilities.

Companies that meet the Me Generation’s expectations will stand out. Those that fail to do so will fade.

4. Wear your heart on your sleeve

Not only are people getting mobile, they are also increasingly wearing their tech. Recent research suggests that over the next several years, we will continue to see double-digit growth in the number of Americans using wearable devices. Currently, about 16 percent of the U.S. population uses wearable tech—that figure is expected to double by 2018. Organizations will need to work toward bringing consistency of services across multiple digital connection points.

Although the world has changed considerably since The Jam released “Going Underground,” the song’s message is as relevant in 2016 as it was in 1980, perhaps even more so. In today’s world—in the enterprise and outside of it—one size fits very few. Rather, the individual increasingly holds the power. It’s time for business leaders to start recognizing it.

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