One Trend No Small Business Can Afford to Ignore
Posted by Resource Nation on March 24, 2014 in Business Start Up Advice, Business Technology, Marketing [ 0 Comments ]
Trends come and go. Some stick, but most fade faster than you can say VHS. That said, there is one trend of such magnitude that no small business can afford to ignore. The impact of mobile is transforming not only how companies market their products and services, but it’s also changing workplace culture as we know it.
First, what does the data tell us? According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of American adults have a smartphone, about two-thirds have a laptop, and 34 percent own a tablet. Studies indicate that anywhere from 41 to 50 percent of emails are currently being opened on mobile devices and tablets (Tweet This!)
What are the implications for small businesses?
- They must now satisfy the wants and needs of increasingly sophisticated, empowered, and impatient consumers.
- Small businesses must ensure that their websites and email campaigns are mobile-friendly, that is, optimized for mobile and with fresh content customized for customers on the go.
Connecting the Dots
SoLoMo, a marketing concept that is vital to the success of small businesses as they enter this new mobile world.
SoLoMo is a marketing concept that states: in order to remain relevant, businesses must be social, think local, and invest in mobile. Using SoLoMo apps like Foursquare and Yelp, they are able to micro-target prospects and consumers at a hyper-local level based on real-time customer data. When a business promptly addresses the immediate needs of consumers, wherever they may be, the result is likely to be a sale.
SoLoMo may be an awkward-sounding buzzword, but the idea behind it is vital to the success of small businesses in this new world. In most cases, small businesses will need to consult with a mobile designer or consultant to lead the transition to a mobile-friendly interface.
Mobile’s ripple effects
Our smartphones and tablets go where we go. We can’t be without them. It’s a psychological and emotional attachment. Call it co-dependency. The lines that separate work and home life, as a result, are blurred: the traditional office will soon be unrecognizable. Consider the rise of BYOD and cloud computing, two trends that, taken together, may one day make the desktop computer obsolete.
A Deloitte study indicates that more than a quarter of employees own a laptop, smartphone and tablet.
BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device to work, is a global trend seen not only in the U.S but in younger, growing economies like Brazil and Russia. In fact, according to a survey by tech firm Gartner, in just three years from now, 50 percent of employers worldwide will require employees to supply their own computing devices (Tweet This!). Gartner’s David Willis likens the new workplace to a construction site, where workers bring their own tools.
This trend presents employers with two key opportunities:
- The first is cost savings. Small businesses may choose to cut back and gradually eliminate purchasing of new desktop computers.
- The second is to enhance employee engagement and morale. Surveys show that BYOD empowers employees by giving them the freedom to work the way they want to work. It also makes companies more attractive to new hires.
And while BYOD may cause a minor backlash, the majority of employees seem to prefer it. “Most employees won’t freak out over this move,” says John Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “They’re already using their personal devices to do work and vice versa.”
Related: How to Build a Robust BYOD Policy
Will we see the demise of the office desktop computer? Not today or tomorrow, but small businesses would be smart to plan NOW for that eventuality. One caveat: Some employers, understandably, may feel uneasy about giving employees access to privileged company information and applications. There are a number of resources – here’s one – to assist employers with devising a BYOD policy.
Mobile will continue to mature over the next years, until it reaches a critical mass. At that point it will no longer be a trend. It will be the new normal.
(Image via freedigitalphotos.net)