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The Nokia Conundrum: A Cautionary Tale of Companies Who Didn’t Embrace New Technology

When starting a business, there are several things you’ll want to consider. Hiring employees, deciding on your marketing budget, setting profit margins and figuring out how to appeal to your consumer base are all crucial things that you’ll need to get right from the outset.

But with ever-changing technology threatening to make your current approach redundant, small to medium-sized businesses might feel as though they’re staring down the barrel of a smoking gun. I mean, with previous giants like Nokia falling foul to 21st Century powerhouses like Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft, it’s unsurprising that you might be concerned!

However, the rise of technology itself is not the enemy. Trust me on that one. It’s failing to keep up with rapidly altering consumer expectations which is what can lead to disaster.

In a world where AI and basic code can help you automate systems, reflect data patterns, and even create meaningful web content, it promises to be a useful tool for companies of any size. And with the AI market set to reach an incredible $1394.30 billion by 2029, the industry shows no signs of slowing down. So, you’ll need to strike while the iron’s hot to stand a chance in today’s tech-heavy economy.

If you want to avoid the same fate as previously successful companies like Nokia, Yahoo, Myspace, and Kodak, just keep reading. As I promise that this is a cautionary tale that you’ll want to follow with bated breath!

The Importance of Getting in on the Ground Floor – Marketing

It goes without saying that innovation and adaptation are keys to the success of any business. However, in 2022, the pressure is on to invest in research and development that enables companies to get ahead of the pack.

I’m not suggesting that you need to become a complete trendsetter, as that privilege is still reserved for companies with enormous budgets (I’m talking to you, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft!). But there’s nothing to say that small to medium-sized enterprises can’t engage with tried and trusted solutions that make their businesses operate more efficiently.

After all, if there was a chance that you could have purchased stock from Apple at $22 a share back in 1980 – wouldn’t you have jumped at the opportunity? As realistically a return on investment of $1,635,847 is nothing to scoff at!

When you throw in the level of innovation and next-level thinking that came from the brilliant mind of Steve Jobs at the time, the company’s success was virtually assured.

But you can’t simply “follow the leader” and expect everything to fall into place. 

Instead, you’ll need to figure out which strategies will help you reduce churn, personalize your marketing approach, and establish a reliable consumer base that drives your business model forward.

And that’s where the beauty of AI comes into focus.

You’ll be able to glean accurate insights from your data

I’ve already written extensively about effective marketing and customer retention strategies for small businesses. 

But it’s worth reiterating why these tactics are so important in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

It’s true that having a valid CRM system in place will help you track your consumer base and make decent marketing decisions. 

However, AI algorithms offer data insights into purchasing patterns and consumer patterns that humans simply cannot replicate.

Whether that’s tracking customer feedback through nifty sentiment analysis or amping up your personalization efforts with product recommendation tools, being able to work through this data in real time (without sifting through it manually!) is invaluable for most businesses.

Not only will these incredible marketing tools help to segment your consumer base into lifestyle subgroups that will naturally increase conversions, but the prediction accuracy of these tools is now over 96%.

With only 15% of company leaders currently using reliable customer data to make business decisions, you can effortlessly get ahead of the pack with data-driven insights and the right marketing strategies that directly improve ROI.

Great stuff.

So, where do defunct companies come into this?

Well, I’m glad you asked!

I believe that if companies like Myspace had listened to their customers, improved their user experience, and fixed their poorly organized interface that was beginning to show cracks in the 2000s, they might have been able to compete with the triumphant rise of Facebook.

Although it was unfortunate, Myspace simply lost its piece of the pie when it chose not to implement up-and-coming technology.

And it seriously came back to bite them.

In short, that’s why embracing new technology is so important, as being able to surface information in your data that you're currently missing could be utterly transformative in the face of fierce competition.

But you may be wondering “how useful are these tools going to be for day-to-day marketers?”.

My answer? Quite useful indeed.

A study from July 2019 has proven that machine learning models have even found ways to predict simple things like an image’s popularity, leading to increased click-through rates for businesses of every size. For example, this specific model was able to outperform humans, resulting in a 76.65% accuracy in predicting Instagram likes versus the human accuracy rate of 72.40%.

When it comes to outwitting your competition and attracting new leads, those few percentage points could make all the difference.

Better yet, these tools can even help you find the best screencaps to use for marketing videos, YouTube content, and everything else under the sun!

And if you want to improve your user experience more directly? 

Image-tagging software, keyword research tools, and AI content creators can all help you reach an audience in a fraction of the time it once did.

Round and round goes the Carousel of Progress!

So, Where Did Companies Like Nokia Go Wrong?

It's easy to look at companies like Nokia or Blackberry and think that they simply refused to innovate. And this is partly true.

With the rise of smartphones and touch-screen technology, Apple dominated the portable electronics scene and whittled Blackberry’s global market share to a disastrous 0% in the fourth quarter of 2016.

And Nokia? They waited until 2008 to compete in the smartphone market in an attempt to steal a percentage of Android’s market share. Unfortunately, they were simply too late and were forced to sell their mobile and devices division to Microsoft in 2014.

Considering they were the best-selling mobile phone brand in the world in 1998, their downfall is the ultimate cautionary tale for brands that are wary about innovation, new technologies, and adapting to their consumer’s ever-increasing desires.

The Key to Future-Proofing Your Business

I'll come straight out and say that adopting AI is going to be crucial for SMEs who want to experience even a fraction of Big Tech's phenomenal success.

Although there’s no need to overhaul your entire way of working, it’s clear that AI is filtering into every aspect of a company’s business model. From content creation to social media strategy and data analysis, we must accept that AI’s influence is here to stay.

It may seem a daunting task to implement or source AI solutions that’ll accomplish what your company needs. But with established solutions available on the Smarter platform that will effortlessly slot into your existing marketing MO, there’s no reason to fear change!

And to make things even more appealing, you’ll save a pretty penny by forgoing expensive teams of data analysts and opting for tried and tested models that will convert even the staunchest technophobes.

It may be a bold statement, but nothing intrinsically bad comes from data-driven insights and increased knowledge of your consumer base. The only question is – are you ready to embrace the strategies that’ll take your business to the next level?

I certainly hope so.


Fran Benincasa

Fran Benincasa

13 November 2022


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