Doing Business with New Technology Trends
Technology changes so fast that it’s easy to be intimidated by it. Bestselling-author and trend watcher Marc Ostrofsky advises businesses like yours to not miss out on the latest gadgets, apps and trends that are reshaping our world.
In his latest book, Word of Mouse (Simon & Schuster, 2013) Ostroksky looks at why information is today’s competitive advantage. Here are some highlights from the book to keep you tech-savvy:
Attracting Talent in the Future
One thing that excites me about the future is that survivalist companies will have to find new ways to recruit and retain talent. Not only will markets become more competitive but also employees — empowered by their access to information and ability to market themselves on a large scale — will become more demanding.
Consequently, existing workplaces will be more horizontal than ever before. I like the way author, activist, blogger, and consultant David Bollier of the Aspen Institute (an educational organization based in Aspen, Colorado) puts it in his 2011 report The Future of Work: What It Means for Individuals, Businesses, Markets, and Governments:
When talent is highly fluid and moving in and out of organizations, access to talent becomes a serious challenge. So how to assure reliable access to talent? Trust and transparency (full, accurate, timely disclosure of in- formation) are important in attracting the best workers. Clarity of mission and purpose are becoming important in galvanizing people to contribute their best.
What was once reserved for huge outfits is increasingly becoming mainstream. These days, start-ups, smaller retailers, and even individuals are developing easy-to-use versions of Hadoop or turning to programs like Google Analysis for useful data about their websites.
The Web is packed with intelligence tools and services that aid businesses in tracking and analyzing their data. These tools also help companies:
- Improve their website designs
- Send follow-up email, based on a scripted marketing structure
- Acquire customers
- Develop upsell and/or cross-sell strategies
The goal is to take the guesswork out of marketing and provide an accurate method of gathering customer data, building a profile of the target audience and predicting consumer behavior.
Get Customers to Use Data Analytics
Use analytics and social media to improve the results of your small business marketing:
QR Codes: Create a unique QR code for each section of town to analyze the best locations to advertise in the future.
Texting Keyword: Use a keyword in radio ads and in in-house contests to build a database of customers to send more targeted future promotions.
Mobile Website: Transfer the most important content from the desktop website to a user-friendly mobile website that encourages people to visit your location.
Social Media Accounts: Create a Twitter account and Foursquare app so customers can share their location with other potential customers. Update your Facebook Business page with a professional look.
Updated Desktop Website: Use the latest in HTML5 technology to create a more engaging website for visitors to interact with your brand.
Analytics: Use analytics to analyze the most profitable paths for adding revenue.
Collaboration is King!
In the past, the top-down managerial styles of big companies were suited for big office buildings that centralized oversight and regulation. But in today’s information economy, professionals are increasingly mobile and much more self-sufficient.
Known as coworking, this new style of work allows like-minded creative professionals to limit costs and share ideas among themselves. Now, with coworkers in other countries and time zones working, say, three eight-hour shifts in the same day, a project can get done much faster.
Apps for Employee Productivity
Keeping in step with the idea that “mobile is everything,” businesses are turning to apps for solutions that will keep their employees productive even when they’re not sitting at a desk. Here are a few of my current favorites (all costs are subject to change):
scan2PDF Mobile: Tired of sitting on a wallet that’s busting at the seams with receipts and business cards? This app, by Burrotech, lets you use your phone’s camera to scan such documents as full-color PDFs and email them to your desktop. Cost: $14.99.
Bump: It’s like a disco dance for phones. Tap your Bump-enabled phone with another Bump-enabled device, and you will instantly exchange your contact information, including name, address, phone, and photo — whatever you want to exchange. Cost: free.
textPlus: Say good-bye to the mahogany conference room. Say hello to textPlus, an app that lets up to twenty people conference via text message. It’s convenient, it’s mobile, and it’s cheap. Cost: starting at $0.99 ($3.99 per year to have ads removed).
seesmic: So, you’re truly embracing the Internet and have gone all out and hired a social media coordinator to pump up marketing and PR efforts. Your next step is to help him or her organize all those Tweets. Seesmic neatly groups all your Twitter timelines in one screen, and will alert you when specific tweets are posted. Cost: free.
From WORD OF MOUSE: 101+ Trends in How We Buy, Sell, Live, Learn, Work and Play (Sept. 10, 2013) by Marc Ostrofsky. Copyright (c) 2013 by Marc Ostrofsky. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster.com. All rights reserved.
Marc Ostrofsky is the New York Times bestselling author of Get Rich Click! He is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and domain-name investor best known for his world-record sale of the domain name Business.com for $7.5 million. He created firms including CuffLinks.com, Blinds.com, eTickets.com and SummerCamp.com.