Recent books reviewed: Digital Connection: “The Improved Customer Journey with Smart Technologies” by Tanja Kruse Brandão and Gerd Wolfram.
Smart technologies, together with the Internet of Things, are profoundly changing the customer journey, and present companies with new challenges. In their latest book, Tanja Kruse Brandão and Gerd Wolfram show what opportunities companies have and how they can successfully shape their digital connection strategies.
The advance of digitalization and smart technologies is dramatically changing our personal and professional lives. In particular, the Internet of Things (IoT), which interconnects devices (with each other as well as with people), is making possible huge growth in new applications and business models. In addition, it offers extensive opportunities to collect data and evaluate it in a purposeful manner. For example, you need only think of wearables such as fitness trackers, which are becoming increasingly accepted and sought after (Bitcom, 2017), or the integration of devices for Near Field Communication (NFC) in textiles. The individual, as a customer, is permanently interconnected and uses mobile media in all situations. In the process, data and data tracks are left behind, from which comprehensive insights can be obtained. If this information is used systematically and sensibly, the customer can be offered a convincing, individual, exclusive and long-lasting brand experience. This is increasingly critical to the success of companies that orchestrate and strategically manage an increasing number of touchpoints between the brand and the customer for the purpose of a seamless brand experience. “The traditionally used funnel model has had its day,” say Brandão and Wolfram. Instead, the goal should be: Excellence at every touchpoint.
A practical approach
Digital Connection is therefore intended as a how-to manual for practitioners, acting as an introduction and guide to the digital transformation of marketing. The book describes the principal smart technologies such as NFC and RFID, and provides concrete application advice.
The well-structured compendium is subdivided into four sections, which, over ten chapters, address the following questions:
Why is digital connection a new marketing approach?
What components are necessary to make a digital connection successful?
What are the best practice case examples?
How do you make a successful digital connection?
In section 1, the authors deal with digitalization and the Internet of Things, as well as their influence on society and various industries. Building on this, they show how the customer journey is changing in the digital age.
Section 2 presents the fundamental elements of digital connection architecture, the mobile end devices which form an essential base, together with new and emerging smart technologies. Brandão and Wolfram argue that differentiated deployment decisions can only be made on the basis of an accurate understanding of the technologies, as well as of their advantages and disadvantages. New technologies lead to new touchpoints and content-types, and these are outlined in the book. Finally, the authors give a selected overview of the features, limits and possibilities of IoT platforms.
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Section 3 provides exciting practical examples from different industries, which are presented clearly according to a prescribed structure – objectives, technologies used, application description and benefits achieved: for “inspiration, imitation, and own implementation.”
In section 4, the authors reveal how companies can develop and implement digital connection strategies, and outline what challenges and success criteria exist.
Smart technologies are changing customers and revolutionizing the customer journey. The appropriate technologies are already available and enable new contact points. According to Brandão and Wolfram, this leads to a fundamental paradigm shift in the relationship between brands and consumers. This comprehensive and insightful book shows how companies can successfully design this relationship, and provides decision makers with a well-founded theoretical section in addition to a large selection of current cases.
Tanja Kruse Brandão, Gerd Wolfram, Digital Connection: Die bessere Customer Journey mit smarten Technologien – Strategie und Praxisbeispiele (Digital Connection: The Improved Customer Journey with Smart Technologies – Strategy and Practical Examples) Springer Gabler Fachbuch, 2018, €59.99
Tanja Kruse Brandão is a Business Strategist and Service Design Manager, Founder, Partner at Digital Connection, and Head of the BVDW laboratory “Proximity Solutions.”
Dr. Gerd Wolfram is CEO of IoT Innovation & Consult, Partner at Digital Connection, and a renowned pioneer in the field of digital innovation.