By Lone Beacon Co-Founder John Capuano. This article originally appeared on WealthManagement.com

There are still firms in the financial industry that are barely dipping their toe into the digital space. The notion that engaging in digital is an option and not a necessity today is dangerous. Whether we recognize it or not, we’re all in the digital business and we live in a digital world. But still it remains intimidating and even seems unattainable for many businesses.

New Technology Has Created Winners Since the Discovery of Fire

Fire was a new technology a few hundred thousand years ago, and I bet even then, some feared it and avoided learning how to wield it. But as those who harnessed fire started to cook, survived winters more comfortably, and built communities and eventually cities, those who couldn’t use fire were left as nomads while the world progressed around them.

Flashback to 2023, and here’s what is standing in the way of financial advisories finding success in new technology.

  • Too ambitious. New digital platforms can be overwhelming, and the possibilities are seemingly endless to a newbie. But we are believers in starting with a small, manageable playbook.
  • Unrealistic timelines. Data gathering can be quicker than you think but gathering quality data and learning from it takes time. So, use smart benchmarks to measure real progress.
  • More work than you anticipated. Anything new requires time and attention. Creating successful digital platforms is no exception.
  • Haven’t found the right firm to help them. There are many firms that can offer “digital help” … but finding the right one for you could be tricky.
  • Trying to do it yourself. Unless you have made a significant investment in hiring and training a digital team, DIY will likely not produce the results you expected.

Because of these challenges, organizations decide it’s easier to participate only marginally, or just go through the motions. Jumping back a thousand years, I bet there were cavemen who thought building a fire was too difficult and just decided to wear thicker pelts, spend more time in their caves during the winter, and eat more raw meat. They might have even known fire existed but didn’t fully “embrace the technology.” These cavemen missed out on the benefits of society such as education, literacy, political and economic success, overall increased quality of life, and a spot in the history books that their fire-wielding counterparts claimed.

Digital Technology Is the New Fire

It’s not so different from the digital transformation we’re seeing today. Those who embrace the digital landscape now will have a greater claim to success as the financial industry slowly realizes the opportunities digital marketing provides.

The advisory firms and institutions that recognize the world around them by learning how to adapt are winning outright. Those same firms aren’t necessarily looking at “transforming,” rather they simply see the playing field that we all share as something that requires constant evolution for them to stay ahead. They know that resiliency is a requirement in everything they do. And while they win, many of their competitors just watch.

Think about the fate of the fire-makers of those who watched.  It may have taken a long time to get the hang of building a fire, but those who figured out how to spark that fire thrived, while those who didn’t struggled to survive.

John Capuano is co-founder of Lone Beacon.

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