Happy New Year!
I used to ask “What’s your new year resolution?” every year, but I think it’s a thing of the past – for some reasons: I believe that 90% of New Year Resolution fails to yield the intended results.
So, let me ask you this, instead: “What’s your growth-hacking plan for 2015?”
If you are struggling in answering that question, no worries – I struggle a lot myself, too. There are so many things I want to achieve and so many opportunity-bearing trends I want to follow, but I can’t decide which one that will potentially bring my business positive results.
With that said, creating a plan – and stick to it – is a good start in keeping yourself checked. To help you out in creating yours, I curated ten best business trends you should watch for in 2015 from various top sources, so that you can create a plan for growth on a strong trend foundation.
Without further adieu, here they are:
1. Customer want to see verified results
If you can verify results, customers will happily pay a premium.
The era of “snake oil salesman” has ended. You can promote as much as you like, but your customers and target market are becoming smarter. They don’t want words; they want facts. Testimonials work, but they won’t be as effective as before.
As a business, the best facts you can give are your results, verified. Show success stories – with numbers and let your customers contact your clients to verify.
2. Want to hire top talents? Offer work/life balance perks
People matters, and in a business, your employees are your top assets. The trend says that, as people seek more work/life balance, offering just that can give you the edge to secure talented people.
Paid vacations, BYOD, flexible working hours, telecommuting… those can empower your employees to be productive at work, while doing what they are passionate about off-work. Win-win-win.
3. Content marketing that matters
Content marketing – as a phrase – becoming a boring term for me. Usually, content marketing refers to pushing your content to as many eyeballs as possible on social media, online communities, etc. I don’t know how about you, but content marketing is slowly turning into spam or noise marketing – you create a lot of noises that doesn’t really matter to your audience.
In 2015, your content marketing skills are put into a test: With so many “social megaphones” out there on the net, how to differentiate yourself? The only way I can think of is to give your best content away for free to grab attention, and when the time comes, you can then pitch your products/services.
Finally, the sci-fi movies we watch a decade ago will be turning into a reality in 2015. The robots are here, and they are planning to stay.
Robots are utilised for many business activities, which include order fulfillment (albeit slow regulatory approvals.) Amazon has utilised the robots well: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos told shareholders that by the end of 2014, there will be 10,000 Kiva robots that will cut fulfillment costs by 20-40 percent.
Not only for reducing costs, robots can also increase employee satisfaction: Robots will free your employees from boring tasks, so that they can focus more on creative, more important tasks – which will lead to increased satisfaction.
And guess what – happy employees can mean happy customers!
5. Brands should make a bold statement
Entering 2015, more and more consumers – especially millennials – think that brands should speak out and share a point of view about a particular issue. According to a report from MSLGroup (February 2014,) 73% of Millennials believe that businesses should share a point of view about issues.
So, how to respond to the trend? You can start by sharing opinionated posts on social media about an event or an issue, and take your stance. You could lose some potential customers who disagree and oppose your point of view, but on the other side, you will win customers who share your view – a lot more customers.
6. Go native with your marketing messages
Gary Vaynerchuk, the billionaire social media evangelist, always say that you should go platform-specific when it comes to content marketing.
With that said, the trends say that you should use LinkedIn for text-based content distribution (thanks to LinkedIn Pulse), Instagram for image-based content distribution, Vine for animation-based content distribution, and so on.
For 2015, forget TV commercial and print ads: You should start using paid advertising on social media. Consider launching a Facebook dark post campaign, as it’s – by far – giving more bang for your advertising buck. Gary Vaynerchuk vouches for this: He once told audiences in a keynote that he spent $1,000 on Facebook dark post for promoting his wine products, and the campaign yields $40,000 in sales. Stellar results, I must say!
7. Micro-targeting: Know your customers more
Interest-based marketing and personalised marketing messages will rule the business world in 2015. You need to be able to spot your customers’ interest and behaviour. Learn their buying motives and find out what triggers their buying decision.
That is not an easy task, however. You need the ability to analyse big data, uncover findings, and strategise on them. But fear not, helps are out there; what you should do is to find the right one.
8. Cloud working
Automation tools, productivity apps, business operational apps, etc. – it’s way easier today to work wherever and whenever you want than ever – thanks to the Internet and the ever-expanding world of web-based apps.
Want to take your PBX system with you? Yes, you can. Want to automate your marketing with a web-based app? Yes, you can. Want to work while traveling the world? Yes, you can.
9. Ramp up your mobile strategy!
There’s no turning back: Mobile tech is here to stay, and if you don’t adopt it, you are losing out your competitive ground.
The trend says that more people are on their mobile devices (including those in the category of wearable tech) than on a desktop, even a laptop, making mobile-friendly websites and apps important in your business growth strategy. Don’t miss out!
10. IoT + the sharing economy = endless opportunity
Internet of Things (IoT) – inter-connected everyday objects with the Internet – has risen in impact in year-on-year basis, and in 2015, the world of IoT collides with the sharing economy, creating endless opportunity for creative entrepreneurs.
Have you heard about bike sharing? I’m sure you do. With IoT, you can now reduce bike stealing possibility: An app like BitLock can verify a bike user’ identity via Bluetooth to unlock the bike. This will lead to more ideas, such as ID verification system for house sitting, car sharing, holiday home exchanges and more.
More ideas? Know Waze? How about connecting Waze to your car via GPS for an instant notification about traffic notes when you are nearby?
As you can see, the possibilities are endless.
So, there you go: 10 business trends you can act upon in 2015.
Just like business ideas, trends matter when you can turn them into a real venture or a growth hacking campaigns. So, be sure you take action on the trends you will follow.
Do I miss any cool business trends? Please share yours!