A few weeks ago Cisco brought over 2,000 global partners to Dallas, Texas for Partner Summit 2017 to share our strategy and vision for the year ahead. I want to say a big thank you to our partners for joining us in person, as well as those of you who joined virtually.

For me, the event was the perfect illustration of how we can all OWN the opportunity together as we embrace the new era of digital business. The Cisco Partner Ecosystem is key to building each other’s success, together we are striving for a common purpose, ready to tackle tomorrow’s transition with you— our partners.

So, as we seek a common purpose, we need to step back and focus on the basics, as you may have heard me discuss at Partner Summit. Companies who focus on the “why”, or reason why they do what they do, tend to have the most successful sales and marketing messages that result in deeper bottom lines. Harnessing how we approach our purpose will help us move with the ever changing digital and customer experience, and allow us to win together.

And yet, the digital world around us has already moved on.

Enter the post-digital world

But what is “post-digital”? Let’s start by understanding that digital technology is embedded in our daily lives as consumers, as professionals – as human beings. Things have been changing fast, and the digital era has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Let’s look at the three phases that have brought us to present day:

  • The pre-digital era was characterized by a mass-media centric, one-to-many approach.
  • The digital era ushered in a data-driven, one-to-one approach.
  • And today we’re in a post-digital world, where success will be determined by your ability to focus on people versus clicks, anticipating customer needs and human emotions.

This new era exposes the fact that digital marketing does not currently manage for complex human nature, but simply reduces customers to targets of personalized marketing methods. These customers are then expected to respond in a certain way based on the brand’s desired performance goal. In a post-digital world, this is not enough. We must keep evolving to anticipate the customer’s needs, emotions, and customize for the individual. But where do you start?

Best practice: How to pivot in a post-digital era

  1. Lead with impact in mind: As we continue to see the rise of the “engagement economy”, I believe that we must focus on how leadership and investment approaches are impacting teams. Reflect on how these approaches translate to delivering new capabilities to customers that then allow them to seize new business opportunities.
  2. Lead with purpose: Focus on that “why” behind your strategies, and whether your solutions deliver true customer purpose that will result in a measurable outcome.
  3. Empower the ecosystem: What new capabilities does your solutions deliver? Even if the tactic isn’t completely new, a shift in mindset behind your marketing and sales approach can lead to an increase in customer traction. Utilize the partner ecosystem, build solutions together, and work as one team.
  4. Optimize business growth: A digital business has no limits since you can leverage and transform your data and content in ways that are more targeted towards your audiences, which will optimize revenue opportunities anywhere at any time.

The post-digital world is here, and we’re excited to take this journey with you. Stay tuned for more as I dive deeper into what this new era means, and how we charter this incredible new opportunity for customers, together.