Updated: May 30, 2018
Business trends can be tricky especially in the technological times we currently live in. Media continues to evolve and the popular mediums ebb and flow like the tides. Something that has worked for years at a time may become phased out in a matter months with the introduction of new tech.
However, it doesn't always take a new medium to create a shift in the industry. Sometimes consumers control what’s popular and what isn’t. For example, video has been on the rise for years and many businesses are finding the value in it, especially on the internet. Video has replaced text as people’s attention spans are now shorter when surfing the web. Video can be a quick & accessible way of getting your information out there.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve it’s about finding those fringe trends, and jumping on them early. Not everything you try will catch on, but as we say, no stone should go unturned. If you jump on a business trend early you could end up being a thought leader in that realm, if you’re in on it early enough and provide solid & useful advice for others.
Here are three emerging business trends that we feel will have an impact on industries everywhere in the next few years:
Everyone wants to talk about the importance of video as a company, yet nobody wants to talk about audio. Now, I am absolutely not saying video is unimportant or obsolete, but this is an article about overlooked trends, and most people understand the value and importance of video by now.
But audio. Audio is a very interesting area for a business. When I say audio I don’t mean radio commercials or anything like that. I mean podcasts, alexa skills, audio books etc. Content that can be transmitted from you to your audience for as little cost as possible and with as least friction as possible. Your biggest priority as a business is to streamline yourself to the end user.
Technology makes most things easier, but can also complicate things. Humans do not consume the way we used to. Because of this we will slowly move away from things that take our attention away from that at hand. Due to shorter attention spans and instant gratification, we skip through videos faster than ever. Highest consumers for video are between 50-80 years old because they actually consume the content, i.e. watch the full video. Millenials are all about blocking out the extra noise. It has come to a point where we may be watching a video and not even taking in the message it is portraying or we are simply swiping away faster than we can even understand the message.
It comes down to one thing; time. People don't have time. We are always constantly trying to make more of it. Videos take time to watch and consume. It’s tough to multitask while watching, where as audio fills that gap. Listening to podcasts or books on the go is part of many people’s daily routines now.
This is huge when it comes to voice activate products. Frictionless = seamless. Everything will be controlled with audio and it’s a huge, huge hole to exploit.
Live streaming. Your smartphone might make you think that people prefer social media vs. in-person interactions. However, top companies realize that building great communities engenders long-term brand loyalty. Nothing drives strong communities better than in-person and live interactions. Even live video engages better than recorded video. Just look at the popularity of Facebook Live.
Smart companies realize social media and technology do not replace the need for in-person interactions, social media can actually make in-person interactions more valuable. Since consumers are already connected in the virtual world, in-person relationships can be built at a rapid pace because you already feel as though you “know” the other person.
Whereas video itself has become a necessary component for successful businesses, customers are no longer content with impersonal, generic marketing. Customers demand real connections, with real people. Video is the most viewed content, and live video is the most effective way to engage with your audience.
According to Nick Losq, founder & chief creative officer at StarBeast, "Video is the most easily digestible form of media in a landscape now dominated by smartphones. And when a business starts adding a "live” component, introducing real people, in real time, it has the power to connect with consumers in a personal and honest manner, allowing businesses to separate themselves from their competitors. Live video has the ability to give many businesses a face AND a soul.”
Serving the community, not the buyer.
Buyers are not always buying. But they are always consuming. Always learning.
The notion of the buyer’s journey was used to describe the path that your potential customer would take when making a purchase. However, today’s customers are sophisticated, savvy consumers who do their research. They vet companies by scouring their websites, reading online reviews and putting feelers out to their social networks. By the time consumers reach a salesperson, they are fully aware and informed about your company’s product features, options and prices. They have done their due diligence and narrowed down their options.
As a result, the old ‘buyer’s journey’ has given way to more realistic models that takes into account this new reality. The journey buyers and prospects take is no longer linear or even neat, it’s more unpredictable and fluid which poses a big challenge to marketers. As we enter 2018, we will continue to see these models get updated.
One thing you should note is that transparency is key in all three of these trends. Consumers don’t necessarily buy your product anymore, they buy into your story. The more you project about your brand’s background the more receptive consumers will be to it. Storytelling is a major key and these trends will help you develop your brand’s story.
So get after it, and start developing and telling your story to connect with customers today!