The Future of Business in a New Digital Era
Small businesses continue to drive economic growth in North America’s economy despite the challenges posed by regulatory environments and other market factors. The future, in many senses looks bright. Many business owners may wonder what the future holds in store for them as technology and shifting economic landscapes take a tighter grip on the fate of small businesses.
It is very difficult to predict the future with full certainty. Nevertheless, the treasure troves of data that are accessible through primary and secondary research can help to find reliable indicators of what the future holds in store for small businesses.
The increasing importance of social media in the lives of millions of people challenges small businesses to embrace the notion that every company is a media company. Businesses thrive off of the attention of consumers. Word of mouth proves to be the marketing gold of times past. With the proliferation of the internet, small businesses can easily widen the range of consumers they have.
Every Company is a Media Company
In the new digital age, every company is a media company. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have reduced the costs of marketing for businesses. No longer do businesses have to heavily invest in a sales team. Distribution of content is effectively decentralized, enabling businesses, no matter how small, to engage deeply with their consumers and potential consumers for significantly lower costs.
Online mediums of engagement result in not only higher sales of goods and services for businesses but also in new business models and revenue streams. Businesses are challenged to not only embrace the potential for higher sales of their existing goods and services, but also, to look forward to the unknown as new opportunities arise which will require them to shift their thinking as creative leaders in their industries.
Data analytics may serve as the foundation of successful businesses in the future, irrespective of their size. Businesses have a tremendous opportunity to commandeer vaults of data which inform key decisions about consumers. No longer will businesses have to take shots in the dark on life-changing objectives. Risk management of businesses may be improved as they are better-informed on the nuances of their markets and consumers.
Positioning for Millennials and Generation X Customers
Businesses that only rely on websites and traditional advertising may find themselves losing the attention of their target market. Cross-channel engagements harbour the potential to deepen the impact of a business’ brand. Consumers have unique preferences as to how they want to be engaged which requires presence on multiple channels. With presence on multiple social media channels, businesses can gain deeper insights on the effectiveness of their marketing strategies as well as the personalities of their consumers.
Statistics show that 90% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users. As incomes of millennials and Generation X grow, these statistics will become more relevant, especially for businesses interested in exploring new horizons beyond their borders in emerging economies where a significant proportion of the populace are young. Businesses would do well to align their existing strategies with the evolving realities of the digital realm. It is not a matter of “if” but rather a matter of “when” media-centric business models drive unprecedented revenue for businesses.