I have been covering sessions from founder and Head of Trends at Insider Trends Cate Trotter for a while now: Insider Trends – The Future of Online Marketing, The growing grey market in the UK and How to become a cutting-edge retailer.
As previously, Cate showed an impressive grasp of the trends that new and existing businesses need to know about, to keep ahead of the competitive curve.
Tonight’s topic proved even more popular than before, requiring a move to a larger room, and an overflow event last-night.
Here are my notes from the event:
Cate started the evening by identifying three headline trends for 2012 of Doom and Gloom, Ubiquitous Digital and Humanness.
Doom and Gloom (aka – the economic recession is killing business opportunities – or is it?)
- If you only read the papers or watched TV you would think the end is nigh.
- Unemployment is at a 17 year high in the UK, with over 1 million young people out of work.
- The UK economy is predicted to grow by 0.2% in 2012 (i.e. no growth to speak of).
- Interest in entrepreneurship is at an all-time high, and barriers to entry are at an all-time low, thanks to technology and the internet, with the likes of Facebook, PayPal and on-demand printing.
- Slowly we are shifting to become a nation of entrepreneurs.
- There are plenty of opportunities for person-to-person (P2P) businesses thanks to the likes of Kickstarter and SellAnApp. Or how about MinuteBox which allows you sell your expertise by the minute.
- Opportunities also exist in the off-line world too, such as ‘cheap and cheerful’ offices for start-ups like The Ugli Campus, or how about opening the first cafe for entrepreneurs.
- Too many business websites use ‘me too’ branding with stock photography and unclear messages – Cate gave the example of BubbleWebs as one that ‘shows what it does on the tin’.
Ubiquitous digital (it really is everywhere now)
- 65% of adult internet users now use a social networking site of some kind.
- By the summer of 2012 over 50% of Brits will be using a smartphone.
- Cate’s tip no.1 – Mark your location on Google Places to boost traffic to your website.
- Cate’s tip no.2 – Make sure you website is mobile friendly using 11 Excellent Solutions for Making Your Website Mobile Friendly.
- Need to think beyond using social media just for marketing and PR – add customer support roles (e.g. Hippo Munchies in India using twitter prompts from customers to re-fill their vending machines).
- Companies will develop intelligent and selective strategies for social media channels. No more scatter-gun approach to digital marketing.
- Digital data will give commercial insights. E.g Klout score to measure your online influence.
- A/B test your website your website using Optimizely to maximise visitors.
Humanness (the importance of trust in a digital commercial world)
- Ask yourself how is your digital strategy enhancing the lives of your customers?
- More targeted communications and email lists – less scatter-gun.
- Google is starting to highlight more human related content, so you need to have people talking about your business in social media.
- Which means you have to do stuff that people think is worth talking about.
- Results in a move away from novelty campaigns to real customer value. E.g. Zappos.com have a 24 hour staffed phone line, and up to a year to return products.
- Inspirational brands talk about why they do what they do, not what they do, or how they do it – read Start with why by Simon Sinek or watch him speak at TED.
- The need to stay human, once you grow beyond a single person business, think of your brand as a personality or celebrity.
2012 is all about being connected – individuals, networks and businesses
Use customer value to cut through the ubiquitous social media noise. Connections through honest communication is key.
Cate ended her talk by encouraging us to go away and start experimenting with some of the ideas covered. We now had 11 months lead on our competitors.
She really wants to hear from us how we a get on, so please get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org