As a digital leader, if you are sitting there with an outdated content management system (CMS) or a roll-your-own application that you have duct taped and bubble gummed until all that exists anymore is the tape and gum, do not fret. First off, you are not alone, there are numerous companies, and even organizations seen as digital leaders, that are in a similar situation. In fact, through our close partnership with Sitecore, we believe that nearly 60-75% of the Sitecore installs are at least one major version behind the current release, if not two. That’s a ton of companies that are not taking advantage of some amazing advances in marketing technology. The good news is that options exist! Digital savvy organizations are those that recognize and admit they have a problem. Being self-aware is the first step and half the battle. I will elaborate more in future posts on the “Digital Prescription,” but for now let’s discuss this digital lag phenomenon and the impact it is having on your ability to effectively market to your customers.

Companies that fail to adopt new technologies early tend to have a stigma of being “old fashioned” or uninventive. However, this is not always the full story, and in fact these late adopters can have some advantages over their predecessors. Early adopters have the obvious advantage of being the first to use a technology and so the novelty of the tech will give them some boost. However, many times when new technologies emerge, the real value in that technology is not realized until it has had a chance to mature in the market for a while.

For example, virtual reality is already being adopted by many huge brands and is only in the infant stages of how it can be utilized. Pepsi Co., is using virtual reality to promote its new Mountain Dew line, Kickstart, through the use of virtual reality experiences. While this might get someone’s attention for the novelty of the idea, it does not really provide value to the brand through engagement with the intended audience directly. Commercial and residential real estate markets might be an area where VR begins to mature; imagine taking virtual tours in a true virtual environment where “visitors” can get a real feel for the size and dimensions of a room or building.

While early adopters have the advantage of being the first to use a novel technology, they also become the guinea pigs, discovering all the right and wrong ways to implement and utilize that technology – paving the way for a much smoother road for those that come later. Especially with complicated systems like customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, ecommerce applications and web content management systems (WCM / CMS), making the wrong choice in how you choose to implement your marketing stack can have costly ramifications for years. Being one of the first to deploy these new technologies means you don’t have previous examples to guide your best practices. Being a late adopter has the advantage of accessing resources such as online communities, user groups, articles and tutorials on development and implementation. Late adopters have a distinct advantage of getting things right the first time without the trial and error that many early adopters have to go through.

There is also the concept of the “leapfrog” effect; a company that lags behind their peers in marketing can quickly bypass them and become a marketing leader through the adoption and implementation of mature technologies. As the technology matures on its own, there are also secondary applications and markets that develop around it that can provide a smoother implementation and greater functionality than early adopters would have had access to.

For the reasons mentioned above, if your organization is sitting there cobbling together HTML to support its marketing campaigns and it cannot seem to get ahead of unyielding support tickets and functionality requests, there is a digital prescription available. Do not be afraid to ask for help because after self-awareness, doing something about it is the second step to digital recovery.