In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our podcast conversation with German Ramirez, digital pioneer and entrepreneurial mind with over 20 years of experience and a proven international track record of creating and building leading concepts, ideas, brands, new products.
Welcome to Growth Interviews!
Welcome to Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth. Our mission is to provide valuable insights from the eCommerce arena, and each episode is a fascinating quest into the best-kept business secrets and money-making strategies of an insightful world-class expert.
German Ramirez is a passionate, creative and out-of-the-box thinker, who pioneers new business fields and markets, acting upon consumer insights and responding to market trends. He is a dedicated and inspirational leader that recruits, builds and coaches international multifunctional high performing teams. Book author and seasoned speaker in conferences and seminars, on topics like digital transformation and social media, German Ramirez is a marketing strategy wizard, completely dedicated to innovation in digital marketing and blockchain.
An expert with lots of experiences to share, German spoke to us about the latest trends in digital marketing fully disclosing his frameworks on developing and executing fully integrated marketing and communication strategies. You couldn’t wish for a bigger Christmas gift!
Here are the biggest takeaways:
- Milestones of a tech expert’s career – 03.10
- The connection between e-Commerce and blockchain – 05.38
- Will blockchain change the internet? – 08.03
- The theory of a decentralized economy – 10.19
- How technology is affecting humanity – 14.35
- The reason companies fail – 17.55
- Opportunities for growth in 2020 – 20.38
Future Implications of Blockchain
Blockchain is fascinating the world and everyone in digital is thinking about the future implications of this technology. German Ramirez, one of the best blockchain experts in the world, told us in our last Growth Interviews podcast that blockchain is going to be a field in which everyone will have to be patient with the development. New applications will extensively be utilizing this technology in different areas and will eventually reduce the human implication at the low and middle level of expertise in many fields and will accelerate transactions.
Blockchain technology looks very promising. “At the end of the day blockchain up the technology needs to be embedded into our everyday lives and provide benefit to people using it. And that is something that will take a long while.” – told us Ramirez continuing that he considers most interesting in the context of this technology is that if the internet provided humanity with freedom of access to information blocking technology is posing an interesting challenge which allows people to be governed by collective intelligence, the networks being opposed by a centralized system.
The Theory of the Decentralized Economy
The implications of blockchain technology could go very deep into the present societal organization. The ability of humans to self organize and take over the responsibility and to basically take the economy into their own hands is not possible in the near future. Big economical players, giant companies will not disappear overnight and the vision of a completely decentralized society will not be possible very soon because society is not ready yet to take that step. Nevertheless, in Ramirez’s opinion “it’s a very interesting conversation and exercise to start thinking about, and maybe, to some extent will allow some playing field and provide more inclusion.“
How Technology is Affecting Humanity
There are so many questions for which German Ramirez is trying to find the best answers. What are the most important trends that we are currently experiencing and how to deal with those trends? What is artificial intelligence and what might it mean for the industry? Why does personal branding become so important? Why should customer experience be at the core of what companies focus on, as opposed to product or service delivery?
The most important aspect in his opinion is that “companies sell products or services but people don’t buy products or services. People buy a promise, people buy a brand, people buy an experience. The focus should not be on the object but more on the value that the object provides you with. And that is an experiential value.”
Most of the companies are focusing on a purely traditional approach where everything begins with research and development and then continues with production and marketing and packaging. Then the product is brought to the market and this entire process just takes out the customer from the equation.
By putting this entire process upside down, by putting the customer in the middle of the process with all that includes customer expectations, needs, beliefs, psycho-demographic information and so on, only then companies will be able to reengineer backward the whole process and start seeing what they are bringing into the market as an experience as opposed to a product.
The Reason Companies Fail
In spite of the many discussions in the digital landscape, there are not so many genuinely customer-driven companies out there. Most companies out there still today are structured in a traditional value chain thinking in spite of the many proofs that the old systems are failing. Becoming customer-centric requires a profound transformation in the way of thinking and in all the structures any company has.
Profound change is dictated by a new mentality and a completely new set of daily functions completely dedicated to excellence in customer service, no matter which department we are talking about. In order to succeed, companies should adopt the mentality where everyone is serving the client, and where everybody is facing the client.
We are witnessing a democratization of channels where the battle for the customer’s attention is getting harder and more expensive than ever without any guarantee that the products advertised will be even remembered. Technology changed the paradigm and shifted the entire process. Brands are not imposing themselves anymore on customers through broadcasting but customers are imposing themselves on brand by the power of choice.
In German Ramirez’s view, together with the systemic transformation, companies must entirely review their communication so that everything that was offline to be correctly perceived in the digital environment, too. “That transformation means metamorphosis. If you stick wings on a caterpillar you’ll have not made a butterfly but that’s what we do very often. We take a process and transform it into a digital one or we deploy it on a digital channel but that is not a transformation. That’s basically the digital version of what you already had. That’s just digitalization.“
Three Opportunities for Growth in the e-Commerce World of 2020
Data is crucial for understanding the business, the customers and most importantly, the relation between the business and the customers. Collecting data is one important aspect any digital company, especially e-Commerce should do on a daily basis but everything must be planned ahead and made with intention.
During our talk, German Ramirez told us: “First of all, rather than just collecting data, try to understand the data you’re collecting and try to understand how your business is being experienced. We are still utilizing very typical profiles, we’re collecting all sorts of data, but we’re not putting it to use to explain our business logic and to transform our business logic. We’re just putting it very often in dashboards and in reports.”
More important than the data itself is the result of reading and utilizing that data with the purpose of change and improvement of the customer perception and experience.
A second growth opportunity not to be missed is the coordination and synchronization of all the channels of communication and customer touchpoints into one single coherent message. “Whether you’re a pure e-commerce player or a hybrid player of online and offline sales, you have your social channels, you have your brochure, whatever, all of your communication materials, everything contributes to your brand and product or service experience. Try to bring that into one major symphony.“
The third and maybe the most important growth advice German Ramirez has for anyone in business is to continuously change and adapt, trying to bring in new and innovative ways of thinking and working into the organization.
No matter how business leaders chose to understand and further communicate the core values of their companies, most important is the willingness to change so that the entire organization, from top to bottom, understands and serves the client the way the client needs.
Customers are no longer just consumers. Customers are a company’s public, digital users, visitors and they are more attentive and more demanding than ever judging through a very complex lens the company, its products, the brand and its communication making them active participants of the change aspect that does require a profound transformation of the way companies approach their change and transformation.
“Start questioning things like your organizational diagram and the roles and functions that you have in your company, how you work and how you operate and try to become significantly more project versus role driven, more agile, more flexible, more experimental than you currently are and try to transform and enable a culture of learning-failing-standing up and continuing as opposed to what you are currently continuing to do. Focus on data from the inside, focus on consistent experiences from the outside and in the meantime try to profoundly transform the way you operate a central organization to make yourself future proof.“
In the big picture of what blockchain technology is and what are its implications, there is a very interesting and relevant discussion around value governance, inclusion, empowerment democratization, emancipation, and more. This is more an ethical and political one rather than technological, that will start playing an important role in the whole conversation of blockchain technology adoption. We are all looking forward to it.
We hope you enjoyed our video interview with German Ramirez!
For more valuable insights, make sure you come back to check out our next Growth Interviews as well.
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