Tech trends that affect every business
You’re already on email, probably on Twitter or Facebook, you probably have smartphone, and the “cloud” is no longer an elusive concept. There are five major trends right now that every business must know, no matter the industry: mobile, social, big data, apps, and the cloud. In the following presentation, ten stats are revealed for each trend:
What in the world should you do with this information?
So now you know the stats, the trends, and the direction we’re heading, but you may still be scratching your head (or maybe you’re just overwhelmed).
So what if everyone’s on a mobile device? So am I
The stats reveal the purchasing power of mobile device users, so as a business, you should be sure that your site is mobile-friendly, but guess what? That doesn’t mean that you have a site that opens on a phone, because if people have to manually zoom in and out and try to click on the one pixel wide button, they’re moving on and you’ve lost out on business. While some brands have entire apps developed, your web developer can less expensively design a responsive version of your site which means it changes sizes based on the device being used and buttons become bigger on smartphones, etc.
So what if people use a mobile device in a store?
Do you offer a product? If it’s in stores, most people are showrooming (whipping out their phones to price compare with competitors, while in the store looking at your product), so they may be inspired to leave to find a competitor’s product elsewhere on the cheap. Conversely, if your site is mobile and easily found in search engines, people that are showrooming in stores may end up finding you and coming to you. That’s a huge win and why you should love mobile technologies.
So what if everyone’s gaga over social media?
Yes, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube may all be overwhelmingly noisy and crowded to you, but the reach is far more powerful than print or television media, and lead generation opportunities abound. As we’ve said for over half of a decade now, your brand should study the social networks, choose one where your clients congregate, and get really good at providing a value to that social network before adding another. YouTube is the second most popular search engine next to Google, and video is on fire, but poor quality video is sliding in popularity – putting effort into video, making sure the description is complete and the transcript is accurate and uploaded properly, you’ve landed yourself in a second form of a search engine. But if typed word is more your speed, remember that most people are using social media as a recommendation engine, asking their networks who/what they should use – so if you’re not present, how will people remember to refer to you?
So what if the cloud keeps documents safe and saves me money?
If those two reasons aren’t enough, think about the new paperless office – the ability to hold out your tablet, have a document reviewed and signed by a client, then a copy emailed to all parties – no more filing, no more lost papers, no more faxing crap back and forth and re-faxing when someone missed a signature. When you’re in the cloud, your entire office is at your fingertips – no more having to go back to the office for that presentation on your desktop, no more going back and forth to get a book of your products/services that you forgot to put in your car. You get the point – it’s a time saver in addition to the stated benefits of being a cost saver and safety net.
So what if big data is a big deal? I don’t get it.
We hear that a lot. Big data is just a fancy way of saying “you have massive amounts of digital data,” and the chances of you having done anything with it is slim – just like the majority of companies collecting data across the globe. The truth about big data is that there are now programs that make sense of all of this massive data you have, making it actually useful. Do you have spreadsheets of clients and data going back to 1983? You’ve got big data. Have you tracked sales in a software program since 1996? You have big data. So add on a layer of programs that can tell you trends about that data, and you’ve got legitimate business intelligence – something that used to cost brands millions to decipher. No more.
Here are two fascinating examples two companies making sense of big data:
So what if everyone has an app?
If your brand is one person and you’re doing something millions of others do (insurance sales, real estate, graphic design), you probably don’t need an app, especially in light of the high abandonment rate, even for paid apps. But if you offer something unique that an interactive experience would enhance sales, an app might be the answer. One of the huge benefits of an app is that you can send push notifications to users, so let’s say you operate a food truck company and you have three trucks running around Seattle during lunch – if someone has your food truck app, perhaps they can get an alert on their phone every time one of your trucks is parked within a mile of where they currently are, based on location awareness.
Maybe you sell vegan energy bars, and while popular, they’re not in every store, so why not have a simple app built that alerts users when they’ve entered a store where their favorite product (yours) is sold? Perhaps you’re a real estate broker and you want your clients to be able to hold up their phone in a neighborhood and see all homes listed on the MLS through their camera, with a price tag hovering over homes for sale in real time – augmented reality apps already exist, but with some twists, yours can be unique and useful (like listing below the price the distance to the nearest store, bus stop, public park, or its walkability score or heck, the last sale date of the property if available). Stand out, add value, and you have a reason to have an app, otherwise, stick to your website.