Differentiate with digital

Meet The Digital Disruptors

James L. McQuivey
Vice President, Principal Analyst
October 27, 2011

As I write this blog post, somewhere in the hotel below me our Forum team is busily preparing for the opening day of our 2011 Consumer Forum. There I will take the stage as the opening keynote presenter and, although I'm going to be talking about the future, it makes me think about the past. Because in 1999 I stood on a similar stage and offered my first Forrester keynote address, entitled "Meet the Digital Consumers."

Back on that stage, with the help of Forrester's Consumer Technographics survey data, I explained how consumers — once digitally enabled — would forever alter the way companies serve them. It's now 12 years later, and everything I said then came true, plus some. I didn't know then about YouTube, Facebook, or Groupon. But I did know that digital consumers would want more benefits, more easily, than they received in an analog world.

Today I'll stand on the stage and introduce people to a new entity: digital disruptors. Because while disruption is not new (just as consumers have always been with us), digital disruption is more powerful than before. It allows more individuals to bring ideas to market more cheaply than ever before. Below is a sneak peek at a key slide from the presentation I'll deliver in an hour's time.

Digital product disruption is better, stronger, faster than before

Digital disruption will fundamentally alter the economics of every business on the planet, not just those that make or sell technology products and services. That's one of the points I have to make today. I started last night by posting a Mashable piece entitled "Beware the Digital Disruptors." In it I make the case that industries as analog as the weight loss business can be digitally disrupted. Quite handily, it turns out, as the case study I present in the post makes clear.

We're simultaneously releasing our report about how to compete with digital disruptors, called The Disruptor's Handbook: How To Innovate Your Products Before Someone Else Does (subscription required). We're going to add new case studies and market data to this stream of research quickly, because unlike last time around, we do not have 12 years to stand back and wait for digital disruption to happen. Depending on your industry, you might have two years, four years, maybe as many as six. We want to help you assess your disruption vulnerability as well as your disruption readiness. Take our 5-minute disruption readiness survey (forr.com/digitalreadiness) and we'll report back to you how you compare to others. 

Ready or not, your only solution will be to become a digital disruptor. And once you sign up to digitally disrupt your own business, you can't get off of that roller coaster. It doesn't stop. It's the new mode of doing business, constantly seeking the next adjacent possibility and working to quickly deliver product experiences that satisfy the digital consumers, the same ones I first introduced in 1999 but that have since exceeded even my own expectations. Good luck out there, you're gonna need it.


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