When it comes to buzz words like “social media” and “digital business”, my dad’s acumen compares to that of New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick.
My dad owns Sports Heroes, a baseball card and memorabilia store in Cranston, R.I. After 30 years in business, I am confident in saying that my dad has built a successful business on the backbone of developing meaningful relationships with his customers over the years. However, over the years there has constantly been one area of the business that I feel that we have been struggling in: our digital presence. Since the baseball card arena is built off of nostalgia, it was difficult for us to determine how to enhance our digital capabilities and reach our customer base in different ways.
Our first breakthrough came in 2011 when I was able to convince my dad to let me create a Facebook page for our store. For the past 7 years, I have maintained and updated our page with news about new and upcoming products. This has been a great way for us to keep in touch with our customers and drive growth within the business in a way that wasn’t present in our portfolio prior.
A few years ago, we took this initiative one step further and set up a Constant Contact account for our business, allowing us to send out biweekly newsletters to our customers about product releases and news within the hobby. This application allowed us to track our customers’ open rates on our messages and determine the best time to send our emails in order to optimize their effectiveness.
For the past few years, I have had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors for Cranston Western Little League. My role on the board has been to maintain the league’s Facebook page and brand new website and online registration portal. Both the website and Facebook page have been instrumental in keeping families informed and excited about youth baseball in the City of Cranston. Being able to serve as the behind-the-scenes voice of an organization that is so deeply entrenched in the community has been a rewarding experience.
While these experiences have been great opportunities for me, I understand that they are both micro-situations that don’t truly speak to the impact that digital capabilities can have on big business. Through simple trial and error, I have learned a lot growing up about how to engage with a consumer base digitally and drive growth within a business in today’s ever changing landscape.
I experienced a massive culture shock in terms of digital business this past summer as I stepped out of my family business and interned at Fidelity Investments. Considered to be one of the financial services firms on the cutting edge of digital integration, I was constantly amazed at the innovation taking place at Fidelity on a daily basis. The one thing that I kept hearing from my coworkers was the desire to be ahead of the curve and the willingness to stay ahead of competitors, much like Professor Kane’s blog Digital Transformation: it is a process that never comes to a finite finish, but rather constantly evolves.
Taking a course involving social media, emerging technologies, and digital business in my final semester at Boston College will serve as a unique transition into the workforce. For my generation, our impact and ability to succeed in the workforce will be defined by our ability to adapt to the constantly changing landscape of how business interact with consumers. While people are still trying to learn about buzz words like “bitcoin”, “blockchain”, and “the cloud”, they are already impacting the way business is conducted daily domestically and globally.
I don’t expect to be an expert in any of the fields mentioned above by the time the semester ends, nor should anyone else in this class. Part of what makes today’s technological landscape so unique is that it can and is changing at the drop of a dime. Since I sat down to type this 45 minutes ago, a technological advancement has been made somewhere that will impact the way in which in the language of business will be spoken in the future. Here’s to hoping we can work together to keep up.