How to make the most of the digital economy


So how do you make the most of the digital economy?

That’s the issue debated by leading digital pundits Robert Scoble, Shel Israel, Brian Solis and Tapan Bhat at the 2013 Australian Digital Summit in Melbourne and four key themes emerged.

(Robert Scoble is one of the world’s best known tech journalists.  Shel Israel is a Forbes columnist, consultant and presentation coach.  Tapan Bhat is the Chief Product Officer at Lithium. Brian Solis is a digital analyst at the Altimeter Group.)

The age of context

This is driven by five forces: mobile, social media, data, sensors and location.

Context sets the scene and the relevance of the conversations, opinions and networks of influence that radiate from the thousands of individuals and companies talking on the social web. The more you engage, sell, respond, and be a part of these conversations, the more advantage you gain over your competitors who don’t.

In any case, the days of seeking to talk to those predisposed to talking with you, and seeking to convert those who don’t, get ever closer.

It really is a case of “when”, not “if”.

Being able to identify these individuals, analyse their points of view and their conversations, and the motivations that sit behind them, becomes pivotal to the age of context. As with any conversation, you have to be able to listen first. With the social web, this becomes a task on a colossal scale.

As messrs Scoble, Israel and Bhat noted at the conference, “context” means knowing your customer very well and pinpointing your marketing to them in a more personalised way.


The future of business is about competing for relevance in an increasingly crowded market.

As many as 78% of executives and managers agreed that digital transformation will become critical to their organisations in the next two years, according to a recent survey by MIT Sloan Management Review and Cap Gemini Consulting.

Digital transformation means listening, engaging, inspiring and transforming your customers.

Chief Digital Officer (CDO)

Twenty-five per cent of businesses will soon have a CDO.  This is someone who understands marketing, customer experience and technology.

That individual will need tools to connect the social web, in all its unstructured glory, with corporate databases and marketing engines, in all their structured glory, all with a CFO carefully monitoring returns on investment, effort and engagement.

Finally, the concept of a “loyalty leader”, those people who are your super fans who you can recruit as part of your scaled-up and scaled-out marketing, communications and selling organization.

What we heard at the summit was that organizations can now understand their customers, prospects and advocates better than ever before, thanks to the availability of context about their behaviour, being driven by technological change and the social web.

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