Thomas Friedman, in his 2005 book, The World is Flat, introduced a concept he calls “triple convergence.” Three key factors, he says, help businesses take advantage of the new technologies available: Increased connectivity and collaboration, increased capabilities in a single device, and process and workflow changes. Industries do not, he suggests, see progress in their productivity until all three of these factors “converge” — until all are being used seamlessly in the daily work of the business.
So the question is: Has e-marketing reached its point of triple convergence in order to take full advantage of the technology available to it today?
Well, no, not exactly.
The first of Friedman’s factors, increased connectivity and collaboration, holds that in a mature market connectivity and collaboration enable more people than ever before to work together to successfully develop products and deliver services. The first challenge is around technical standardization. The other issue is that while there is often a reasonable level of connectivity and collaboration along market verticals, there is little of it across market verticals.
Friedman’s second point of convergence involves increased capabilities in a single device. More and more, it’s important to assemble multiple functionality on one e-marketing platform, including data management, search, transition marketing, CRM, social networks, Web site reengagement, branded desktop applications, and analytics. Other possible functionalities include RSS feeds, podcasts, webinars, and mobile technologies.
The third factor in assessing triple convergence, process and workflow changes, grows logically from the second. When new technologies are embraced — rather than simply tolerated — then there is incentive to identify and implement the best possible workflows to take advantage of the technology.
It stands to reason that there is a greater likelihood of convergence taking place when there is a real need driving both the development of technology and the assimilation of that technology.
E-marketing’s culture as well as its way of doing business will change and grow as new technology spreads and triple convergence approaches. E-marketers need to adapt to changes, continually develop and re-develop their culture and constantly consider performing their business in new ways.