Jeanne Ross, Director & Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School’s CISR
In a digital economy, companies are constantly faced with opportunities, challenges and threats. Business changes are critical to successfully navigate in this environment, but there are plenty of pitfalls to watch for along the way.
Some companies, like those in the media space, are probably closer to the head of the pack in addressing these issues. They’ve either survived or not at this point. Others, in areas like retail and financial services, are in the eye of the storm, while industries like oil and gas and consumer goods see this more as an issue on the horizon.
Regardless of where they are in dealing with digital disruption, everyone’s assumptions about what is necessary to succeed are being shaken up. Digital disruption comes at you in unexpected ways, and businesses need to be prepared. MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) has been studying this issue for years through case studies, interviews and surveys. Based on that research, we’ve identified five propositions about thriving during digital disruption.
In 1895, John Deere, the agricultural machinery company, debuted a slight publication called The Furrow targeted at farmers and ranchers. Back then, The Furrow was a simple newsletter containing pen-and ink-drawings, articles about farming techniques, ads for new plows, and a section tailored for women readers that featured products like cream separators. Fast-forward 118 years to today: The Furrow is still published – albeit in glossy form, complete with its own website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. It has circulation of 1.5 million.
The Furrow is one of the earliest examples of content marketing, an approach that involves creating, distributing, and exchanging information to attract, engage, and retain a clearly defined audience, with the ultimate goal of driving sales. According to a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 91% of North American B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their current marketing strategy.