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Are you a Digital Immigrant or Digital Native - Alan Berg CSP Wedding Business Solutions PodcastAre you a Digital Immigrant or Digital Native?

I’m a Digital Immigrant! This is not a new revelation, but what may be new to you is to understand how today’s Digital Natives, and the generation coming next are communicating. Are you adapting to them, or are you trying to get them to adapt to you?

Listen to this new, 11-minute episode for a combination dose of reality and rays of hope!

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Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at [email protected] or contact me via textuse the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362

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– I’m a digital immigrant! There, I said it. Now, listen to this episode, find out why it matters. Hi, it’s Alan Berg. Welcome back to another edition of the “Wedding Business Solutions” podcast. And on this episode, I want to talk about digital immigrants versus digital natives. Now, the definition of that is a little bit gray, but a digital immigrant, like myself, is someone that is doing business with technologies today that didn’t exist when I started doing business. So when I started in the wedding and event industry, there are technologies that are around now that didn’t exist back then. For instance, if you’re watching this on YouTube, I recorded this on my computer with a webcam, a high-definition 4K webcam. That didn’t exist back when I started in the industry.

I had a mobile phone, but it was in my car, permanently in my car, so it wasn’t portable the same way. I didn’t have an Apple Watch. I didn’t have an iPhone. I didn’t have an iPad. All these technologies. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like technology. Digital immigrant does not mean you don’t like technology. It just means those technologies weren’t around. Digital natives is who we’re dealing with with generation Y, the millennials, generation Z, the ones coming after that, and then I think they’re the Alphas, if I’m not mistaken, are the ones coming after those. And what that means is, people like my sons, I have two sons, they’re both millennials, they’ve never known a world without a personal computer. They’ve never known a world without mobile phones. They’ve always existed. They’ve just never known a world without those things.

Now, there weren’t Apple Watches when they were kids. There weren’t iPads when they were kids. But technology, we’ve always had an office in our home. For all of their lives, we’ve had an office in our home. We’ve had technology in our home. We were that house, years and years ago, we were the house that had a fax machine when it was a separate piece. We were the house that always had a printer. We had a copy machine when that was a separate thing. Now I have this whole all-in-one unit. I have two printers here. One’s an all-in-one unit, so copy, faxing, and printing. But we were that house and my sons have never known a world without that because they’re digital natives. So what’s important is, if you are either a digital immigrant or maybe you’re a quasi-digital immigrant because you’re in-between there where some of the technology was there, some of it wasn’t there, just understanding that the perspective of someone who is a digital native in how to communicate is going to be different than it is for you who, as a digital immigrant, you’re used to things like, “Hey, if I just get you on the phone, we can have a conversation right now in real time. Let’s just do this.” But you’re adding friction to the process with someone who’s a digital native where having a conversation through their fingertips is just normal.

I remember one time driving and my two sons were in the back seat and they were literally texting each other. They’re sitting next to one another and they’re texting each other. And I said, “Just talk to each other. Just talk.” And they said, “We are.” Right, they were, they were having a conversation. Conversation doesn’t mean what a digital immigrant thinks, which is having a conversation is talking to someone in real time where we’re saying words and we can hear each other. But that’s not what a conversation is. A conversation is two people that are having a back and forth about something, and the technology these days says we can be doing that through the telephone, through Zoom, through texting, through messaging, through WhatsApp, through all these different platforms, email and so forth, and that’s a conversation.

So how do we make that conversation feel natural when maybe you’re a digital immigrant doing business with a digital native? Or maybe you are a digital native, but you realize that, hey, it might be easier if we could just get them on the phone or get them in for a meeting or a tour. That would be easier for you. And when it’s easier for you, not necessarily easier for the customer, that’s back to when we’re adding friction to the process again. So, I’m a digital native that came along happily with all the technology. I love technology. I’m surrounded by technology. I’ve always been a little bit of a tech geek there. But for me, they’re tools, they’re not toys. If there are any games on my iPhone, they came with the phone, because I didn’t add them on there. I don’t play games on the phone. If I want to play a game or something like that, I’m going to go into Duolingo and do some lessons because they gamified it, or I’m going to pull out some crossword puzzles and do them. And even those, I like to do in pen. It’s just different. I look at screens all day. I don’t want to look at a screen when I’m doing a crossword puzzle.

Maybe that’s because I’m a digital immigrant. Maybe not. My older son who’s a digital native, he likes doing crossword puzzles by hand as well. It’s just a different kind of an experience. I write books that are e-books, audiobooks, and paperback books. I love paperback books, but I find that they pile up and I just don’t get to read them, so I do audiobooks. I’m a digital immigrant, but an audiobook, which existed back then. I remember my uncle, who’s also an author, I remember listening to his book on cassette type, because that was the audiobook. It was this binder that had a whole bunch of cassette tapes in there to get through the whole book. So there was audiobooks, but I couldn’t just go and download it. I had to go to the store and I had to buy them. That’s again digital immigrant versus digital native. Do I use audiobooks now? Absolutely, I consume so many more books because I’m doing them on audio. So digital immigrant verus digital native.

When you’re dealing with someone who is a different demographic than you, different age than you, understanding people are coming in with different perspectives, forcing them to do business the way you want or communicate the way you want could be a reason why some of them are ghosting you or going elsewhere. Because we do business with people that, of course, we know, like and trust. If you’ve read the book “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg, B-U-R-G, no relation, he talks about we do business with people we know, like, and trust. But we also do business with people who make it easy to do business with us. One of my clients one time was having a meeting, they’re a hotel-based property, and they were having a meeting with a potential client the next day. I was up there for sales training and I said, “Don’t assume that they’re coming to you to change hotels that they’re using because of the number of rooms or the amount of event space or whatever. Don’t assume anything, ask.” And I said, “Ask them why they’re looking for a new provider.” And they were shocked, they told me the day after they had the meeting, they were shocked that the customer said the reason they were looking to change was because of the lack of responsiveness of the other property. It wasn’t the amount of rooms. It wasn’t the event space. It wasn’t the food or anything like that.

The fact that the company wasn’t being responsive to them is what was making them look for someone else. There’s an expectation that if you’re going to do business with someone, they’re going to be responsive, and yet I hear time and time and time again where companies are making it hard to do business with someone instead of easy. I had a call yesterday with one of my venue clients, and they said that there’s a competitor that if you come for a tour, they give you 20 minutes and that’s it, you can’t come back. You get one tour and that’s it, no others. It was like 20 minutes and then you’re done and that’s it, and they let the people basically walk around by themselves, “Do you want to book?” To me, that’s not selling. That’s order taking and not good order taking besides that. But there’s friction. They go to another venue where somebody spends time with someone and shows interest in them, if things are pretty equal, they’re going to go with the company that they felt better doing business with. So digital immigrants, digital natives.

What do your customers expect? What are the companies they do business with? What is it about those companies that makes them come back again and again? Is it a transparency in pricing and the way they’re talking about prices? Is it in the payment terms? Is it in the, just the lack of friction because they’re just making it easy to do business with them at every stage of the game? I still have companies that will send me PDFs that I’m supposed to print out to fill out by hand and then scan and then send back to them, these documents. It’s too much friction. And then you have another company, it’s like, “Oh, here you go, just fill this out online.” Or I’ll get in a bill and I’ll go to pay that bill online and there’s no way to pay the bill online. There’s friction. I had this, I actually had one account, it was a health savings account, I had to get checks because the only way to pay this particular doctor’s bill was by writing them a check, which was just ludicrous.

So, friction. It’ll make you choose somebody else when the friction is there. But what is that friction and that perception could be different if you’re a digital immigrant versus a digital native. So again, digital immigrant doesn’t mean I don’t like technology, oh, forget all this technology. It just means it wasn’t there and we have to learn to adapt, just like we have to learn to adapt to our customers in the way they want to do business. Digital natives, and now there’s a new generation of digital natives with another set of technologies that the world has always had as far as they’re concerned, that the millennials aren’t used to. Like my sons, again, they don’t know about portable phones. They were there, but not originally when they were kids. The iPads, the Apple Watches and stuff, they weren’t there. So this technology came along with them. They’re their own form of digital immigrant, not as much as me. But they’re their own form of digital immigrant. So, just food for thought, just something I jotted down and thought maybe we should talk about. Thanks for listening.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is [email protected]. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.

Listen to this and all episodes on Apple Podcast, YouTube or your favorite app/site:

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