10 imperatives for success – particularly but not exclusively in the digital economy

Rolf Hansen, simyo founder and CEO, started Germany’s first mobile no-frills provider. Based on his experience he formulated ten rules that are constitutional for success, particularly but not exclusively in the digital economy.

“The first and most important imperative for any executive in the business world is to be prepared the “dgital revolution “. This means to be informed about all developments in your particular business and in the broader business segment and to be ready for major, sometimes disruptive, changes.

Just as important is the second rule: engage with your customers. They can become everything from sales force to evangelists, but you have to be gentle to them and understand and serve their desires and needs. Always!

No matter how successful you are: avoid hybris. This is rule number three. You should never overestimate your own capabilities and search to cover all parts of the value chain – focus on your core competences and partner with the best.

The fourth rule to accept the marketing paradigm shift, instead of ignoring it. Executives should consider new media and new formats and use the power of (online) co-operation with other companies instead of prevailing in the old world of classic media mixes.

Rule number five: technology at any costs – do not take that bait! Solutions and user interface are king. If the product is complex and there is no joy of use – forget about it, as the customers will not approve it either.

Traditional advertising is no longer the best choice. Managers should be aware that customers are equal to them in terms of access to information and that they want to be treated accordingly. It´s the age of the adolescent customer – and the ultimate end of bullshitting in advertising. So rule number six is: quit traditional advertising now!

The seventh rule is to think “no frills”, to concentrate on real value at reasonable prices and to focus on serving the basic customer desires.

That leads to rule number eight: do not overstretch the internet-expectations as needs and desires will not be changed by technology. Consumers still want to consume – and they expect easy and fun solutions.

Rule number nine: trust is mission critical. It is hard (yet so easy) to build trust – but it is essential, as the age of the internet does not forget a single lie.

The last rule is to always act “human centric” not technocratic. One of the most important understandings for digital businesses is that human impetus and desires remain unchanged, and that the “analogue” aspects of human life will never disappear, no matter how much we love digital.”

What do you think about those imperatives, do you approve? What are your suggestions for companies in the digital economy? What is the key to success in your opinion – today and in the future? I am looking forward to your comments.

About Rolf Hansen

Rolf Hansen is CEO and Founder of Simyo GmbH in Germany. Rolf Hansen (1966) studied at the European Business School and Münster College of Higher Education, obtaining a degree in economics (specialist subjects: marketing and finance). From 1990 to 1993 Rolf Hansen was employed by Hutchison Mobilfunk GmbH in Münster, where he attained the post of Marketing Manager. In 1993 he joined Deutsche Telekom Mobilfunk DeTeMobil GmbH in Bonn, where he played an active role in the founding of the company and headed the Marketing Services Division up to 1994. Parallel with this, Rolf Hansen was a co-founder and director of ABC Marketing & Consulting Partners GmbH in Horstmar until 1995. In 1995 he became a co-founder and managing partner of Skillnet GmbH in Hamburg, before setting up his own Rolf Hansen Management Consulting GmbH in 1997. In 1999 he was appointed to the management of the ProSieben Media AG / MGM Media Group in Munich, with special responsibility for multimedia strategy. From 1999 to 2001, Rolf Hansen was both manager and director of Letsbuyit.com in Munich, London and Amsterdam. He was then appointed managing director of Spectrum Strategy Consultants in Düsseldorf, where his clients included Barclays Capital, Bertelsmann and Vodafone D2. In 2002 he founded Rolf Hansen Management Consulting GmbH in Meerbusch, serving clients such as T-Online International and Otto Versand (Mail Order). In his capacity as a consultant, Rolf Hansen headed various projects for Vodafone D2 GmbH in Düsseldorf between 2003 and 2004. Rolf Hansen is both the founder and managing partner of simyo GmbH and has been in charge of the company's market entry operations since April 2004.

2 thoughts on “10 imperatives for success – particularly but not exclusively in the digital economy

  1. Thank you for Simyo and for sharing your principles.

    As customers we don´t like to study complex contracts or technologies. We want simple and economical solutions that keep up with changing markets and technologies. We don´t like to change our service providers. We only change providers when they stay behind. I hope Simyo will stay ahead.

    Other markets will become much more efficient too, thanks to the internet and mobile divices.

    Simyo is not only the best mobile phone service provider in Germany but has also one of the best and most informative websites.

    Simyo is an example for things to come.

  2. Great post. I think you have created a concentrated, excellent guideline. Will be very useful. Maybe the transparency issue could be added, but of course it can be seen as part of rule 9.
    Thank you for this.

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