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Are you about to enshit yourself?

Member Article

Are you about to enshit yourself?

Enshittificaiton: a term coined by Cory Doctorow, a renowned science fiction writer, blogger, and technology advocate. It describes the gradual decline in the quality and user experience of a digital platform as it shifts its focus towards monetisation at the expense of its users' needs and preferences.

At its heart, enshittification critiques the evolutionary trajectory of digital platforms. A platform may initially captivate a vast audience with its superior service or user experience, driven by its usefulness and the high-quality interactions it promotes. Yet, as the platform begins to monetise its user base, it might implement changes like increased advertising, data mining for targeted ads, and algorithmic tweaks that deteriorate the user experience and exploit its users for profit. This shift not only drives users away but also dilutes the platform's original value proposition.

Enshittification: an epidemic?

According to Doctorow, this issue is not only pervasive but also infectious, spreading from platforms to brands, signalling an urgent need to halt its progression.

From a brand perspective, evading the enshittification pitfall is imperative. In a world where consumer trust is delicate and brand loyalty is challenging to secure, opting for short-term profits over lasting customer engagement can lead to disastrous outcomes. Brands that overlook the significance of authentic customer interactions risk descending into irrelevance, losing the core attributes that initially attracted their consumer base. I therefore believe the key to combating this trend lies in data and analytics.

Data and analytics: a way to repel enshittification

Harnessing the power of data and analytics means brands can gain a deeper understanding of their customers' needs, preferences, and behaviours. This insight allows for the creation of personalised experiences that resonate with consumers on a meaningful level, fostering loyalty and engagement.

Furthermore, analytics can identify emerging trends and shifts in consumer behaviour, enabling brands to adapt proactively rather than reactively. This agility ensures continued relevance, countering the tendency towards enshittification.

Incorporating data and analytics into strategic decision-making also empowers brands to measure the impact of their actions on customer satisfaction and loyalty directly. This feedback loop creates a culture of continuous improvement, where decisions are informed by actual user data rather than assumptions or purely financial motivations. By doing so, brands can maintain the delicate balance between pursuit of profit and user experience, ensuring that efforts to drive revenue do not compromise the quality of the brand or the trust of its users.

Through the strategic application of data and data analytics, the phenomenon of enshittification might actually be the catalyst for a new standard for digital excellence that prioritises the long-term value over short-term gains – a win for customers, shareholders and employees alike.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Beyond, Putting Data to Work Ltd .

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