Digital Transformation in Real Estate

In the last five years, however, the paradigm of real estate transactions has gone through a major change with digital transformation of our societies being at the heart of this change.

Every aspect of our lives has changed drastically in the last two decades and much of the change has been fuelled, catalysed and necessitated by the increasing digital awareness and ubiquity. The Real Estate industry, although, much slower to adapt to this change has since picked up pace and is now at the forefront of some of the cutting edge innovations.

As our lives are more connected, and there is greater financial freedom with easier movement possible, a greater value has now been found in attempting and executing phone system transactions online. There is less apprehension and greater confidence being shown by buyers, sellers, brokers, lessors in deploying digital mediums to conduct their real estate business.

The National Broadband Network in Australia is set to take this transformation into a much higher terrain as improving connectivity and access will bring about better transmission of data, improved transparency and a much larger populace into the online phone systems fold. Consumers will be able to view and evaluate properties from far and wide, while developers will be in a position to pitch them to a more varied audience. The brokers will find themselves being able to create unified platform for the interaction of both buyers and sellers.

Digital transformation in the real estate sector also means that there is an improved coordination and liaison amongst the various parties involved. Virtual meetings, conference calls and video conferencing means that physical presence is no longer the clinching requirement to close a deal. Digitization also moves the land records and ownership documents to the online sphere, this reduces fraudulent transactions and improves confidence amongst buyers.

Thus, we see that the actual transformation brought in by increasing digital presence in the real estate industry is to increase transparency and improve confidence amongst buyers. This has in turn allowed for a greater organization of the sector. Real estate brokers are now no longer regional players but can scale their operations with considerably decreased costs. For the buyers, there is a greater sense of security in real estate transaction. They have greater access to information which in turn provides them a clearer picture of the property in question and the sellers on hand. For the sellers, the new digital age has opened up new market avenues hereto non-existent. Wider scope, better targeting and improved conversions have helped bottom lines.

In conclusion, digital transformation has been a holistic and all-encompassing phenomenon that has helped each one of the stakeholders in the telephone systems chain.

Success in the Digital Age Requires Extraordinary Retail Leaders

Retail leaders in the digital age

Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal 1. But how can retailers lead and influence their staff during this digital disruption? Maybe it’s time to challenge retail leadership says Ken Silay, Partner, Innovator’s Equation. Ken suggests writing for Innovative Retail Technologies that “The truth is retail is run by old thinking and old metrics” and “difference between the old and new thinking in business creates a gap in retail leadership that will continue to get wider”.

Dr Ganesh Shermon, Managing Partner for “R for C Talent Management Solutions” (North America) recently highlighted the challenges retailers face. He said that retailers are confronted with dramatic managerial changes, given the convergence of the human mind, (Intellect), behavioral psychology (Cognitive), smart machines, and deep learning science and knowledge (Neural networks) as the basis for management actions. That’s really a mouth full!

The truth is that the old way of leading a retail business does not work anymore. But what should retailers do to get their businesses on par with the digital age?

Strategies that leaders should consider in the Digital Age

Prof Kamal Kishor Jain, Head of HR and Business Psychology Department at IIM Indore, recently said digital age leaders need to acknowledge the limits of their expertise. Additionally, the leaders should build a reliable network of knowledgeable experts to help them navigate through their choices. Prof Jain suggests the following:

Speed – is the most distinguishing characteristic of the digital age. No matter how fast you are moving to transform your business; the depressing reality is that you still probably aren’t moving fast enough.

Knowledge creation – we need to become more right brained to compete and survive. Leadership is not a noun, it’s a verb. The real charismatic leader is one who disseminates knowledge into his subordinates.

Primarily leadership qualities – leaders should be daring, caring and sharing. ‘Failing fast’ and ‘falling forward’ are critical precursors to success in the digital era. Such disruptive change requires leaders to be caring about people are affected by such changes. It is only by caring that a leader can elicit support from followers.

The Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, an initiative of IMD business school and Cisco, and HR consultancy metaBeratung, have identified four competencies (HAVE) that business leaders need in order to excel in the era of digital disruption:

Humble – in an age of rapid change, knowing what you don’t know can be as valuable in a business context as knowing what you do. Therefore, digital leaders need a measure of humility, and a willingness to seek diverse inputs both from within and outside their organisations.

Adaptable – in a complex and changing environment, an ability to adapt is critical. The global reach of digital technologies has opened up new frontiers for organizations, shrinking once insurmountable continental divides and erasing traditional boundaries between territories. Dealing with the cultural and business impacts of this requires adaptability.

Visionary – in times of profound disruption, clear-eyed and rational direction finding is needed. Therefore a clear vision, even in the absence of detailed plans, is a core competency for digital leaders.

Engaged – painting visions for the future, successfully communicating these visions and being adaptable enough to change them, requires constant engagement with stakeholders. This broad-based desire to explore, discover, learn and discuss with others is as much a mind-set, as it is a definable set of business-focused activities or behaviors.

How can leaders change their retail business to digital?

It is impossible for retailers to change overnight from doing their things the old way to embracing the digital economy. Indeed, the process must get started and in quick time. Therefore, the ability to digitally re-imagine the business is determined in large part by a clear digital strategy supported by leaders who foster a culture able to change and invent the new 3. Kane et al proposed the following strategies for retailers to use getting their business to the digital age:

Create a strategy that transforms – when developing a more advanced digital strategy; the best approach may be to turn the traditional strategy development process on its head.

Get the right people for job – just as important as developing talent is reducing the risk of losing it.

Take risks – to boost risk taking in their companies, executives need to change their mind-sets.

Sparking new ideas – many new ideas arise through collaborative efforts among people of different backgrounds.

Telling the story – storytelling is becoming a popular means of gaining employee buy-in and organizational traction for digital transformation.

After all, it will probably require an extraordinary retail leaders to facilitate the move of their businesses from analogue to digital.

Why It’s Important To Digitally Transform Your Business

“Digital Transformation” isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a core concept of my business model, and I hope by the time you’re done reading this you’ll know why it should be a core concept of your own business.

In essence, digital transformation is the process of transitioning your entire business from an old stale platform to a new digitally efficient and exciting model. There are so many different things that go into this but let’s look at how it works for sales and marketing.

Digital Transformation many times can bring your sales and marketing from the physical world of phone calls, fliers, and mailings to the Internet. These older “analog” techniques are still valid, but they are becoming much less effective over time. Why is that? E-commerce technologies have reached a point that they’re blowing physical advertising out of the water.

People are still buying things more than ever though, but where are they doing it? They’re buying on the web instead of walking into a store. Have you heard of “showrooming”? This is a term that retailers use for people who go to a store to get an experience with a physical product then search for the best price online. Best Buy in particular had this happen so much that they’ve made this part of their business model, hoping to push people to buy the product in the store through the Best Buy website. (Smart thinking Best Buy, way to digitally transform instead of continuing to fight it!)

What if you have a service business instead of a retail business? You’re still in trouble. Customers aren’t letting their fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages anymore. Instead they’re turning to Yelp and Angie’s List. Yelp and sites like it have a big advantage over older methods of service advertising. They not only can display more information, but they provide the social proof of customer reviews.

Customer reviews are the major force in demonstrating reputation in the online world. We used to call this word-of-mouth advertising, but now sites like Yelp allow a single person’s voice to reach your entire market (at least the ones who check Yelp, 132 million monthly visitors in Q1 2014 according to the site) and color other people’s perception of you for good or for ill. We like to call this “digital-mouth” advertising.

Basic Online Presence Is Not Enough

Perhaps you think you’re ahead of the curve. You have a website and some social media presence. Isn’t that enough? Sadly to say it isn’t. Many business websites don’t have much more information than a standard Yelp page. Social media is treated more like a billboard than a customer interaction platform. Worst of all, if a visitor wants to convert they have to go back to things like the telephone or basic email to get in touch with you. They violate one of my four pillars of digital transformation, the digital hook.

The mobile web has made it so easy to convert visitors that websites shouldn’t be called web sites anymore. Instead, I call them “customer acquisition engines.”

The key shift is that your online presence needs to move from a purely marketing standpoint toward both sales and marketing. Not only that, but customer data should be tracked over time to generate an ongoing relationship with an individual visitor, urging them to convert again and again until they become loyal customers.

Impossible you say? I assure you that with today’s technology it is quite possible. You may have seen some of the tactics yourself. If you use Facebook and don’t have an ad blocker on, try visiting a few business sites or talk about a topic a few times. Notice what ads you get on the side bar. Most of the time, you’re going to start seeing ads that relate to what you saw or talked about.

In fact, by merely visiting a site, companies can now start to get marketing data on you immediately. Technologies like tracking pixels can trace an individual visitor as they come and go from a site. This allows you to push ads about your business to them on other sites. When they come back, that information can be read and let the visitor pick up where they left off in the sales cycle.

Digital Transformation is Vital Now

With decreasing retail sales, more people buying online, and new sales and marketing tactics smashing competition through the digital space, the old business models can’t compete for much longer. If this article has sounded a chord of panic in you though, don’t worry because knowledge is power. Get started today and start the transformation now before you get out-transformed by your competitors!

Digital Marketing Trends for 2013

Digital marketing is ever-evolving, and as we move into the year 2013, it is evident that the technology to deliver the enterprise with digital at its core is here now. The challenge is to lead and marshal the talent and innovative culture needed to make it a reality. Given below are a few trends to watch out.

Increase in the number of Digital Marketing Agencies or Consultants

The digital revolution has forever changed the balance of power between the customer and the organization, putting customers in charge of the relationship. The pace of decisions and deployments for marketing automation software and services is booming. However most marketing teams are not yet ready to deal with the complexity of marketing automation nor are they capable of fully leveraging the digital transformation that is required. Due this and the unprecedented demand is contributing towards the increase in the number of Digital Marketing agencies or consultants.

Small and medium businesses are also realizing the power of content marketing and need consulting services to help with the proliferation of the marketing tools and technology available, so more and more organizations are turning to digital marketing agencies to preside over these efforts.

CMO and CIO Departments to strengthen their partnership

Technology is rapidly remaking marketing departments; marketing campaigns are morphing into enterprise digital media projects that encompass. Marketing budgets are growing to meet IT demand, it is critically important for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to collaborate in new ways and transform their organizations to drive business growth.

The Year of Mobile

Consumers are spending more time and money on their mobile devices than ever before; there are encouraging evidences which support consumer engagement via mobile. Brands are keen to leverage location technology, social media and other behavioral data to orchestrate their mobile marketing as it is generation lot of attention.

Integrated Marketing Campaigns

As marketers aspire to leverage cross-channel digital campaigns to deliver real-time results at a lower cost, integrated channel campaigns will take dominance. An integrated tool set that can convert unknown traffic to known traffic will leverage competitive advantage to most companies.

Data Driven Marketing

Data driven marketing will take prominence in the year ahead. An average B2B company uses, on average 6 different Marketing automation tools to manage a single marketing campaign, and all these tools provide the bulk of actionable data. Moreover, a company’s social network can now range into millions of potential unique contacts. The sheer number of people, accounts, and permutations in the data make engaging with that audience very daunting. At the same time, companies are under intense pressure to drive revenue, and tight budgets are forcing marketers to make informed data-driven decisions. Tools that will enable marketers to extract the insights from the detailed bulk data will actually serve modern marketing needs.

Optimized Cross Channel Customer Experience

This is what all marketers’ are focused on delivering. The customer journey should be seamless across channels and each should play to its strengths. To achieve this all your digital platforms must talk to each other and in sync with the overall marketing strategy.

Content marketing

The trend in Content Marketing is to focus less on preparing content that will sell and more on content that will educate. Instead of pitching products or services, delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent will work. Content writers and bloggers will be distinguished by the content they create and their influence reaches, not by their titles. There are a host of new decision engines, social curation platforms, content provisioning and production technologies and services emerging (e.g. Story stream, Smartology, iTrigga etc). The demand for content curation rapidly increasing, there is an interesting new set of platforms and services appearing that will enable new content models enhance content delivery by enhancing existing CMSs.

Other trends:

· email marketing will continue to growing at astonishing rates

· Paid search for B2B companies will become less popular as new ad platforms will emerge

· Google will continue to dominate the B2B search market

· The big four of the internet will be Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.