Just the phrase “digital darwinism” is enough to send shivers up ones' spine. It implies that the digitally “weak” among us—companies that aren't embracing the latest technologies fast enough—will be left behind, doomed for extinction.

Brian Solis, in his latest book, "What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences," tackles those fears, showing a way to move into the digital realm, which is portrayed as a new world brimming with opportunities as opposed to a scary survival-of-the-fittest environment.

For insurance companies working to make the transition to digital business models, Solis provides some helpful points to ease the journey.

For example, he points out right up front: technology is not the answer, it's part of the answer. “Many experts believe that mobile and social networks are the new channels for engagement,” Solis says. “They place their bets on the number of users each network boasts, as well as by the amount of attention press and bloggers pay to what's hot ... It's not enough to know consumers are changing how they communicate, connect, discover, and in turn, purchase. It's not enough to adopt the technologies and networks they are using. It's not enough to even fight for attention for these new networks.”

Rather than getting meshed-in trying to understand the technology and the platforms, it's important to understand the customer. “If you collect and interpret the data and behaviors of your customers, they will lead to insights and the confidence necessary to convince the skeptics and the fearful,” Solis explains.

First, he adds, stop looking at customers as parts of individual segments—be it Generation Y or X or Boomers. Rather, the key is to engage with “Generation C”—in which “C” stands for “connected”—and building products and services that meet their individual requirements. A Generation C member may be any age—from 12 to 92—and they engage with technology and devices in a number of ways.

Solis also talks about the new purchasing patterns arising from Generation C members, what he refers to as the “zero moment of truth.” This is when decisions are made, often moments before actual purchase, using a multitude of online sources. The average consumer these days, he relates, goes to more than 10 sources of information before they make a final decision.

The process begins with the zero moment of truth, but ends at the ultimate moment of truth, when that consumer share his or her experiences with your company across social networks.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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