Each year, certain patterns emerge indicating how businesses strive for success. As 2017 is about to enter its second quarter, some of those patterns are in their infancy while others have become mainstream and are being embraced even by companies not quick to change. In that spirit, let’s look at a series of trends likely to shape the way we do business this year and beyond.
1. Business Embraces Millennials
If you’re not a Millennial, then you may think Generation Y is materialistic, selfish, and even lazy. After all, that’s what the Millennial stereotype says they are. However, that typecast is largely steeped in a misunderstanding. This is a generation that wants to change workflow in creative ways. That was met with some — perhaps a lot of — resistance from earlier generations, but now the Millennials are the largest and most influential aspect of the workforce. Change will happen.
2. Validation of New Products and Services via Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is a process through which venture capital is raised. It’s a form of alternative financing, and the financing comes directly from consumers who want that particular product or service to be realized. Even with early success, crowdfunding seemed like an avenue only for entrepreneurs and small startups, but we can look to the video game industry to see how things are changing in business overall. Crowdfunding allowed for titles in genres deemed non-lucrative to be massive successes. So much so that actual industry giants are getting in on the practice to dip their toes in waters that have largely fallen outside the AAA domain.
3. Moving Away from Email
You may remember when email was new and changing the way we did business. Not only is that not the case any longer, email may actually be an impedance. Statistics from the largest corporations in North America show that internal email usage is down significantly and continuing to fall. This is because businesses are finding different and better ways to communicate among teams. These systems allow for channels and support direct messages, calls and whatever else the best mode is for the particular task at hand.
4. Customer Engagement in Digital Spaces
Businesses continue to find new ways to engage with their customers online. Those that lag behind in this area are failing or on the precipice. Even a company like Walmart, which once seemed an untouchable giant, is now beginning to look like a dinosaur. One aspect that has slowed embracing new forms of customer engagement has been how the older consumer base responded to it. However, remember what we said about Millennials earlier? This will be a pivotal year in terms of engaging consumers in the spaces where they’ll welcome that engagement.
5. Customer Data Collection and Informed Targeting
Businesses have always collected data about their customers and marketed to them based on that information. However, this has been changing in significant ways and will continue to do so this year. Consider that a sharp rise is expected in purchases of appliances and other products that are part of the Internet of Things. This isn’t just a matter of trying to track cookies on the Web. This is a matter of customers voluntarily telling companies how they live so that those companies can better meet their needs.