Don't Put Digital Lipstick On A Pig

Did you ever wake up on your birthday as a kid with that sense of excitement about getting the latest and greatest toy that all the kids were playing with? Cabbage Patch Doll? Transformer? My Little Pony? He-man figurine? (Guess my generation)

It's a pretty safe bet that it wasn't long before the sheen and new toy smell wore off. More than likely it wore off about the same time the the next big thing came along. Or maybe you found yourself returning to the tried and tested toys and activities. Those that gave endless enjoyment?

Fast forward to the present and digital technologies are the new toys for businesses. Driving sales and engagement. Delivering a better experience. Helping drive down costs. What's not to like?

Well, there is a hidden danger here. Digital and emerging technology initiatives are often developed without enough thought for the bigger picture. Does having a mobile app actually improve your customer's experience?

Let's do a pop quiz. If you're a bank (sorry Mr Bank) and customers are expecting mortgage pre-approvals to be close to instantaneous. Do you:

A) Build a shiny new mobile app so you can apply for a mortgage when you're out looking at houses. Leave the mortgage approval process as it stands with 3 week pre-approvals?

B) Look at improving the mortgage approval process to reduce the approval timeframes and customer experience, then consider adding a mobile experience to this?

C) Na na na na nahh (hands over ears)

Obviously this is a simple, contrived example but it highlights one important point. Don't put lipstick on a pig. Digital and emerging technologies are commonly rolled out at the point of customer interaction without enough consideration of the whole picture. What's most important to the customer here? The pre-approval timeframe or the fact that they can apply for pre-approval while out and about?

So you might ask why we'd talk down digital and emerging technology. Don't get us wrong, it's still important to play with and explore emerging technology. It's also prudent to think about the bigger picture and how these technologies can contribute to real and sustainable business improvement. We're just trying to avoid the shiny new thing syndrome and make sure digital and emerging technology initiatives give long lasting benefits (and enjoyment).

Are you putting lipstick on any pigs at the moment? What needs to change?