Below are 10 predictions I made at a meeting this week of owners of SME’s in Sydney’s inner west. It is a quick list I jotted down in the 10 minutes before the meeting, but on reflection, I actually thought they were OK, therefore I am prepared to live or die by them.
So, here goes:
- Marketing is digital and personal, mass marketing is dead! Get personal and get digital, they are complementary, not mutually exclusive.
- Social media will overtake traditional news dissemination channels. Just look at where the news about the current fires came from, those on the spot with mobiles and net connections. The rest of us get the dramatic pictures a few hours later if the cameras can get in, but the real “news” is reported by individuals on the spot using twitter et al. (Just think about that as evidence of empowerment for a moment)
- A few smart SME’s will do very well, but the rest will at best struggle, and many will fail. The scale of operations necessary for success is relative to the size of the niche occupied, and most SME’s try to be all things to all people, and fail at being relevant to enough to ensure success.
- The new “cool” for our kids is to train as a “tradie” as there are insufficient fulfilling jobs left for those with modest, non vocational degrees, to fill demand from the aforementioned graduates.
- The shortage of willing and able workers will continue, as we no longer train people to work, we train them to “expect”.
- The 40% of SME’s who do not have web sites, or have sites that act only as an electronic brochure rather than as a magnet to their target customers need to realise they are missing the opportunity to grab the lifeline. Failure to grab the lifeline, well, refer to prediction 3.
- “Big Data” the combination of traditional data bases and the behavioural and attitudinal data scavenged from social media will become the next big thing during 2013.
- Mobile will take over from fixed line, comprehensively, and across all communication channels.
- The economy will continue to slow, consumers are cautious and risk averse. We are caught between a European economy that is truly stuffed, a US economy that whilst showing some signs of life, is extremely fragile even after the dills kicked the “fiscal cliff’ down the road a bit, a Chinese economy that is still robust on paper but is turning inward to meet domestic demand rather than exporting manufactured goods, and so needs less of our commodities. These things together with the very high $A, and a determination by our “leaders” to continue to say how well we are doing while denying the caveat that we are doing well relative to the rest, who are really crap. (compared to blokes on crutches I am still a fast runner, but compared to anyone who can really run, I am nowhere near where I was 40 years ago). This is notwithstanding Bruce’s optimism, and correct assessment that his industry is a “canary in the mine” but look where the housing market has been in the last couple of years.
- Around July/August, the economy will stumble into a really nasty hole as we approach a Federal election. Never in my memory have we been “led” by two such unpopular leaders. Unpopular they may be, as have been others in the past who have in fact been successful leaders, but the flip side, respect, is not there either, and being unable to respect your leaders, even if you do not like them is a real problem.
There you go, my 10 predictions.
Hold me to them as we progress through the year, it may make for some lively debate at some point.