Information technology continues to evolve and change at a breakneck pace, making strategic planning and purchasing decisions difficult for businesses large and small. Here’s a review of some of the major trends and online strategies that industry leaders see for the near future. All hold the promise of major competitive advantages for companies that are quick to adopt them. Many will require major changes in the way you plan and conduct your day-to-day business.
Mobile Trumps Desktop
By the end of 2010, estimates suggest that 1.2 billion consumers were carrying handsets that allow the convergence of mobility and the Internet. Companies recognize that many of their customers prefer to conduct business and make buying decisions via their mobile devices. Applications designed for smart phones, such as iPhone and Android, and for touch-screen tablets are a key aspect of many of today’s most successful marketing launches. This has led to a highly competitive environment, where the timely launch of mobile applications is becoming increasingly crucial in the battle to gain market share. In tandem with this, Internet-savvy business owners recognize the need to create simple, straightforward websites that work well on mobile devices. Industry experts predict that this trend will continue and that websites will be designed with mobile functionality being the first priority and desktop applications a secondary concern.
Quality Will Drive Search Engine Optimization
Major search engines are finding new ways to use social media networks to identify authentic content. Traditionally, companies would develop key-word rich contents to secure search engine recognition. In this environment, quantity was all-important to make the necessary impact on search engines. Now, major search engines like Google are tapping into social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to find out what’s new and exciting. In its latest incarnation, search engine recognition is more about genuine buzz and consumer assessments of quality.
Traditional Marketing Methods Are Becoming Obsolete
Traditional marketing tools such as direct mail and telemarketing are no longer the go-to tactics for many businesses. New highly-targeted means of promotion and market share acquisition using mobile technologies and social media networks are gaining ground fast. Experts anticipate the shift toward viral and social media marketing tools to continue to gain strength.
Context Aware Computing
Among the new social media marketing tools, context-aware computing is attracting a great deal of buzz. This cutting-edge tool is designed to gather information about an end user’s environment, activities and preferences in order to better interact with and market to that specific end user. Perhaps it’s easier to look at an example of this than to try to explain the philosophy behind this technology. For example, there are applications on Facebook or Yelp or iWant that encourage check-ins in order to provide information and special offers or discounts at the end-user’s location. Programs like this can also be developed to deliver customized content or product suggestions to business partners or employees as well as customers. Industry analysts think that within two years, half the companies listed in the Fortune 500 will have adopted context-aware computing technologies; in five years, about one-third of all marketing to mobile consumers will be context-awareness based.
Not all emerging trends will fit every business, but staying up-to-date on new strategic technologies allows business owners to address marketing challenges and improve operational efficiencies.