In Conversation With: Avijit Arya on Digital Disruption changing the face of business

Let’s start with the basics. What is digital disruption?
Disruption is a very loosely used word in our industry. Anything that changes the status quo is called disruption. It has happened as far back as history goes. From every phase of evolution something has changed in our lives. Right from the way we walk and talk. But life takes a full circle, I’ve heard of a time we spoke in symbols in caves. And now with emoji’s, we are doing that again- just on a different device. Disruption is an over hyped word. Digital disruption is happening. We are losing more and more jobs. People who did not see the future coming were not able to survive. The age of digital disruption is upon us. It’s coming to us much faster. Change is coming to us at 8x of speed that it came earlier on. 5 years from now will be 8 times busier than what we are today. The only way we can survive the next years ahead is through technology.

What steps should you take to harness digital disruption?
Social media is changing. There are new features coming in every day. Every month millionaires are born on the internet. That means every month people are discovering newer ways and means to understand the internet. People from every age group from 9 to 60 are trying to discover means to leverage it around their business. Trying to understand relevant hashtags for their businesses, how to utilise FB live, what role consistency plays in marketing and what kind of blogs to send to what audience to make that additional income and how to survive in this new age when everybody is going online.

India is at a very nascent stage. Yes, we’ve got millions and millions of people on the internet, but e-commerce has just about started. We have a lot of offline assisted online shopping right now. As Indians, we prefer to get a look and feel of things before we buy something. We choose to get our products delivered before we decide to pay for it. The real future that awaits us is when everything is ordered through Alexa. I see that happening in USA all the time. Voice search is coming; this is the future. Which means podcasts will be popular. Which means you need to have a podcast around your business because people are going to search online for voice. A lot of people don’t have the time and patience right now and don’t understand how important voice search is going to be. If you feel you are passionate about your business and any relevant subject, you must create a podcast around it, upload regularly, it’s like doing a radio show every week. You’ll be surprised at the opportunities available for podcast, especially in Asia. I always call these opportunities as land grab opportunities. Imagine buying land in London, New York, New Delhi in 1960- this is that very opportunity that is coming straight to your doorstep! We are missing it. I see a lot of people not investing in education and online courses. These are not expensive- they’re anywhere between $10 to $100. But people are not investing the time to learn. And if you don’t do that- that’s when disruption is going to be a bad word. Every time the word disruption is used, I tell myself I need to prepare myself for some change that is coming. And if I’m ready, I’m going to use that opportunity positively to make an impact on my life and the life of my business and employees and eventually the customers that we work with. So, don’t take disruption as a scary word; you will only if you don’t invest the time to change.

How has digital media changed the marketing industry?
The single most important thing that it has done is that it has democratised business. Which means doesn’t matter legacy business or new business. Today you and I both have the power of a phone in our hands. If you invest time and money to understand digital marketing; then you have the opportunity sitting in your room to connect with audiences all over the world and tell them about my business and service and how I can use it to make an impact. I don’t need the middle man, I don’t need the TV or the radio station. I can do it on my own. THAT is how it has changed the industry.

Are digital platforms rewriting the rules of innovation?
Once you understand human experience offline, everything was done to try to change the experience online. Even now Hyperloop’s are coming which are offline but are disrupting the market. So, it’s not changed the rules of innovation, but the changes are very dramatic and you see it happening way faster.

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