Ideas & Insights – Episode 4: Hitting a Brick Wall in 2020
In this episode I go into more detail about how the future of business is changing. Commerce and marketing are going to be fully integrated by 2020. Businesses should start aligning their core structures to keep up or will face hitting a brick wall.
What I mean by this is digital marketing, e-commerce and social media are all becoming one thing. Customers are spending all of their time and attention inside their mobile devices. Companies who aren’t engaged with them there will be shut out of the market because “advertising” will not work in the future. You must be part of the conversations customers are having.
Facebook, Google, Amazon, Pinterest and other platforms are spending billions to create and spread their shopping tools within native applications. Businesses that don’t plan for this could become shut out of the market.
What is currently happening in the UK between Unilever and large retailers will get worse the more customers use various e-commerce and social shopping channels. Big brands will want to go direct to customers and big retailers will fight them because they need footfall in shops. They will battle each other for price and shelf space because neither will be able to survive without the other. This will cause a stalemate and the e-commerce and social channels will fill the void with better pricing, customer service and rapid home delivery.
So the best way to prepare for this future is to start building a ramp now in 2016, 2017 and 2018 that lets you jump over the brick wall in 2019 and 2020. Actively use and engage with customers on social media channels. That doesn’t mean “sell” to them and treat social channels like an advertising medium. It means build content around the context of your customers.
If your customers like talking about their children then find a way to appropriately give them value in the form of your content – not by giving them an offer. If your customers like working on their homes then give them valuable and entertaining content for home improvement. You have to think as if your business is producing a daily or weekly show (can be video, blog, podcast, etc) and find out what keeps your customers coming back each week. If they come back then that means you’re adding value and engaging them. If they’re not coming back, then learn, adjust and find out what gets them coming back for more.
You will only succeed in the future if you have your customers attention. The only way to get feedback on product development or to teach your customers about the latest product is to have their attention. The sales and distribution channels will be determined by those that have your customers attention. And in 2020 all of your customers attention will be on mobile devices in the various social media platforms.