Consumers are shaping your future

Not that long ago I sat in a conference room in Lethbridge with 200+ people listening to an expert from Toronto sharing insight on the future of business. We all sat there during his many predictions and premonitions about what we need to prepare for moving forward. His most hard-hitting statement came when he told us "Soon every company will be a tech company".

A chatter of uncomfortable and confused entrepreneurs washed over the room. This particular gentleman was here to discuss cyber-security as well as the future of the Canadian business landscape. How could he make such a bold prediction?

Digging in and researching the trends and consumer behaviour, I am able to help shed some light on this comment. Whether you sell shoes or fix leaky toilets, tech will become a bigger part of your business. Here are the 4 things you need to implement now to prepare for this radical shift in business. 

1- Make your website the centre of all your marketing efforts

As you design your marketing plan for this year, consider your most valuable asset and how it represents your company in the online world. Your website is the tool that connects you to your consumers 24 hours per day 7 days a week. When you are closed, there are still consumers looking for your products and services. Are you collecting emails? Are you giving the consumers a reason to reach out to you for information? Have you implemented the proper tracking tools to help provide the data needed to guide your marketing efforts? Social media is a strategy that compliments your digital marketing, it must not be your complete strategy.

2- Pay attention to the trends, where are consumers looking?

Do you remember the first time you heard about twitter and how it was going to be the next big thing? Everyone said: "You have to get involved". As Twitter's history has proven, it is more a social tool than a business tool. I've had many conversations with business owners and marketing professionals on the topic of Twitter for small business. Given the low rate of customer engagement, the overwhelming majority agree that it is a waste of time. Technology changes fast and we need to adapt. Consumer behaviours will decide the direction of technology. Interesting technologies become popular trends and if they don't catch on, they get washed away. Remember MySpace, Napster? and even iTunes? Each of these has been either eradicated or morphed into a new, better version based on consumer behaviour. Although iTunes is still a leader in digital music, it has to continue to test, track data and adapt to stay relevant. The sooner you believe in this model moving forward, the more you will grow and stay ahead of your competitors.

3- Make original "Content" a priority

Content is any form of digital creative you share which includes written, photos, videos and more. As you begin to work your way to becoming a "tech company", prioritize making content creation an engaging experience for your customers, not something that needs to be done because you HAVE to. Some day you may have an in-house videographer solely dedicated to sharing your behind-the-scenes activities with your consumers. If that video content brings you an extra 100k in business, would you spend 60k to hire an in-house expert?

4- Test, track, adapt and start over

Now that you have a great website (they don't have to cost a fortune), are listening to consumers and creating awesome content, the next step is tracking. In the "good 'ol days" businesses succeeded when they had a good beat on their customers and great intuition. Marketing was getting people to see your brand. Digital Marketing is so much more. For example, it offers insight on which pages of your website get the most views which can help make your purchasing decisions. Your media team will help you test, track, adapt and guide you through smarter marketing decisions which will help you grow your business.

In order to be successful in today's business world, you need to react to your environment:

-Realize that the internet is not going anywhere, at least for the time being. Invest in it, don't be afraid to jump in.

-Your employees are using social media, don't be afraid of what they post, use it for insight on making your business better.

-Print media is becoming less and less effective. Direct your marketing dollars to the web where it's cheaper and more effective.

-TV will change dramatically as more and more consumers are controlling their content via YouTube, Netflix, etc. Get on the video bandwagon and start creating your channel. Let the consumers know you are an expert and you value their time. They will take it from there.

Chinook Media was created out of necessity to service our businesses the way they deserve. Many of our customers were asking for insight on where to go and what to do. We love the fact that you lean on us for advice. As you are busy stocking shelves, creating your art or serving customers, we are learning, researching and improving to help you get the most of the online world. If you need a vibrant team to help guide you through a successful marketing strategy, call us today!

Paul BonenfantChinook Media