Apocalypse soon: D-Day prophecies, solutions from Adobe's Ram Seshadri

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Ram Seshadri, Adobe's head of digital strategy and solutions, unleashed a a shock treatment to businesses.

He said 50 per cent of businesses will not be in the picture in the next five years.

"In 10 years, 90 per cent of you will be out of business. What's more, nine out of ten of the companies will not be great business," he said delivering a keynote address on Innovations & Digital Transformation.

But Seshadri also offered a panacea.

Entrepreneurs can avert a doomsday scenario if they get four vital things right - fundamentals, customer experience, product story and customer knowledge.

"None of the digital transformation or disruptive technology is going to help as long as the business fundamental is not secure," Seshadri said.

Are you able to clearly articulate what you are standing for? If you want to stand out in a crowd, how can you do it? Do you have the right business differentials that will make you unique? He asked.

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Customer experience, he said, was critical. Again, he has a slew of questions.

"How do you give your customer a superlative experience. How do you differentiate your experience from your competitor," he said. "People buy experience, not products," he said. Quoting Steve Jobs, he said business should start with customer experience and work back toward technology.

And customer experience pays, Sesahdri said, in more ways than one.

Here are just some of the ways in which it pays: brand awareness, average order value, return on ad spend, customer lifetime value, employee satisfaction, customer retention, customer satisfaction rate, and faster revenue growth rates.

But then to offer the experience, the uniqueness has to be sold.

And this can be done only by the art of telling a nice story.

"Clearly articulate your vision. Make sure that you are able to tell story in a manner that connects with the audience. They will return the favour," Seshadri said.

He said that there are three aspects to story telling. Art, which refers to the narrative that you create for the product. Science, which is the data you use to reach out to the right set of customers. And media, which is the platform that you use to tell the story.

This brings us to the need to know the customer. "Find out the customers who had come back to you," Seshadri said.

"Have you ever probed whey they have subscribed to your channel, or why they have kept engaging with you," he added.

This is important because Seshadri said that if this was not done an entrepreneur would be ignoring a new set of opportunities.

He took the example of Facebook to emphasise the need to actively involve with customers.

"I am sure the founders of Facebook had never thought that advertising would be their main source of revenue when they started out," he said. He said constant interaction with customers would help in refining strategy.

Seshadri said that it was also important to understand what he termed as 'customer journey". By this he meant, the trajectory from a customer becoming aware of a problem, to her discovering a series of products that could satisfy her needs, her search to zero in on the right product, her conversion to a single product, and then to ensure her loyalty.

These priceless insights from an Adobe top honcho which would indeed spur businesses to do some soul searching.

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