As a business owner/president/manager, you’ve probably noticed many of the core business ideas and strategies stay the same year after year. However, throughout the last couple of years technology and a surplus of information has changed the landscape for businesses. We can now reach our audience in essentially every corner of the world, anytime we want. And, we not only have the resources to connect with our audience, we also have the means to create personalized content for them.
Because of how quickly technology and information spreads it’s more important than ever to make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest business strategies, like the following five business strategies…
1. Think Mobile First
In 2014, research showed that smartphones and tablets made up 60% of total digital media time spent - which was up 50% from 2013. This upcoming year we can expect mobile usage to continue to increase. Between tablets making a surprise comeback and smartphones decreasing in price, it’s anticipated that there will be around 2.97 billion mobile internet users, approximately of all 91% internet users, by 2017.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, then you need to fix that immediately – remember, over half of your online visitors are doing so on a mobile device. Going forward, you need to keep mobile users at the forefront whenever you create a new webpage or marketing campaign. As small business expert Susan Solovic suggests on Business 2 Community, you should also “consider an app, beacons, QR codes, and more. Set aside time to study the topic and find the best ways for your business to take advantage of mobile and local marketing initiatives.”
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2. Improve the Customer Experience
As Andrew Reid, founder and CEO of Vision Critical, stated perfectly on Entrepreneur;
“Customers are beginning to understand that their true value to companies goes well beyond their wallets. This is the age of the empowered customer, when a single complaint on social media can cost a business millions of dollars, an online review can shape the fortune of a restaurant and feedback can significantly affect business decisions.”
That’s why in 2015 you should be implementing strategies that will enhance the overall customer experience. Some of these strategies include:
- Get Personal - connect with customers personally and listen to their feedback.
- Customization - by knowing your customers, you can provide customized experiences, products, and services.
- Build Clot - As Reid states, “clout encourages friendly competition, creates a sense of ownership and keeps customers coming back for more.” Make sure you reward loyal customers and earn positive reviews from consumers.
- Entertain - Offering entertainment is a great way to spread brand awareness, attract new customers and retain customers.
3. Go Back to the Basics
While it’s tempting to follow every newly-released marketing trend, Susan Solovic insists that you need to stop chasing trends. Instead, “in 2015 small business owners will look at the big picture and design their own ‘marketing blend’ that includes several” marketing strategies. This means merging traditional tactics - like direct mail – with Facebook ads, content marketing, SEO, and automated CRM.
Pam Didner, Global Integrated Marketing Strategist at Intel Corporation, adds on the TopRank Blog:
“Digital marketing will continue to morph and promotion channels will be further fragmented. The major change for 2015 is NOT about digital marketing. The major change will come from marketers by going back to basics: reevaluate the target audience, determine what works and what doesn’t. Re-prioritize and be smart about resource allocation and investment.”
4. Content Will Be Treated Like a Product
Arnie Kuen, CEO of Vertical Measures, recently shared his thoughts on the future of content marketing on Marketing Land. While each point and piece of advice is spot-on, his prediction that content will be treated more like a product is what I really took away from the article.
Kuen states “content isn’t just words or images on a webpage – it is information your audience is looking for.” In fact, “your content itself is a product.” Because of this, we can expect “more corporations creating content brands instead of branded content.”
As Kuen concludes, “By creating a content brand, companies enable users to have an enhanced experience with the first product they come in contact with: content.” This will enhance the experience of your audience, which will increase revenue.
5. Invest in Training and Education
Research conducted from last year found that: “US spending on corporate training grew by 15% last year (the highest growth rate in seven years) to over $70 Billion in the US and over $130 Billion worldwide.” As Josh Bersin notes on Forbes, this is “a very good indicator of economic activity,” but it also proves that organizations have a “skills supply chain” challenge.
While the bigger picture behind this research shows companies should train team members if their industry is lacking in certain fields, it also means you need to ensure your employees are productive members of the team overall. For example, since Bring Your Own Device is a thing, you should take the time to educate team members on how to use their devices effectively and securely – you don’t want a Sony-like situation on your hands.
If your employees aren’t up-to-speed with the latest technologies or strategies, then how can you expect them to develop business strategies in the coming year?
Forbes.com | January 19, 2015 | John Rampton