The Globe and Mail
By. HARVEY SCHACHTER
Jun. 09 2013
Ctrl Alt Delete. Twenty years ago that would have been gibberish for many people. These days it’s instantly familiar – the three-key shortcut to interrupt computer functions and reboot your machine.
It’s also a convenient metaphor and title for a new book by Canadian digital marketer Mitch Joel, who believes we have to reboot our businesses.
The future we have been told about is here, as technology dramatically changes the lives of consumers, and as businesses that have found the social media and mobile era as puzzling as Ctrl Alt Delete once seemed must again get up to speed.
“It’s here. Deal with it,” Mr. Joel said in an interview.
He breaks the challenge down into five trends that business leaders must embrace:
1. Direct relationships with consumers
Manufacturers used to leave dealing with consumers to retailers.
These days, there can be a hot competition between business partners for a direct connection to the consumer – what Mr. Joel calls “a bizarre love triangle.”
He points to Sony and Future Shop, each of which may play a role in a consumer’s evaluation, purchase and need for follow-up service with a product (along with Facebook, where information might be shared).
You can’t sit back and leave the consumer connection to the other business. You have to provide as much value as you can, directly, to the consumers, so you “own” those relationships and they have a strong, positive connection to you.
Mr. Joel urges you to deliver something they value before your competitors do; be open in dealings with the consumer; and be clear and consistent, building bonds gradually over time rather than grasping for the big, dramatic flourish.