The year 2015 is upon us, and if 2014 was any indication for our company, this new year is going to hold some amazing things. However, if we’re going to achieve Level: Amazing, we have to be ready for the new business trends that will impact the way we think about business.
Here are five expected trends where ECHOtape must be ready to adapt if we want to continue to grow.
1. Mobility. Everything is mobile in 2015 because everyone and everything has become transient. Even in a “traditional” business such as ours that involves the construction of “brick and mortar,” the market still calls for better leveraging of mobile technology.
Even though many of our customers are not early technology adaptors, they all still carry smartphones and we know that we must be mobile-friendly to continue to serve them effectively. Contractors, a key growth market for ECHOtape, expect a responsive scalable website with the ability to look up products, get information, and communicate with our staff when they need help.
Effective mobile technology also means a website that is fully integrated into other media platforms, including….
2. Social Media. Social media doesn’t simply mean the usage of Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook; it is an avenue that is a 2015 prerequisite to engage and connect with our current and prospective customers. Social media helps us learn and connect with the people we are doing business with, and it is a necessary tool to build long term relationships.
We will evaluate which social media platforms our customers use the most, decide which of those platforms serve them best, and commit to developing the right technology to make those platforms work for us. When our customers or prospective clients use social media to ask us who we are, we will be ready to use those same media avenues to give them the answers they need.
3. Millennials. The Millennial demographic is our next big market. They are the purchasers of tomorrow, and they bear their own set of characteristics and purchasing attitudes. According to Leaders West Digital Marketing, there are 76 million millennials and they comprise 27% of the population. They are well educated (63% possess a bachelor’s degree), and are major influencers of future business. The first issue to recognize is that because they are a new group of people, doing business with them will be unlike what we have experienced in the past, and we cannot be afraid to change to reach them.
Old school methods of listening and reaching the millennial customer won’t work all the time, because this new group of customers behaves differently and have different brand loyalties than other demographics. It is our job to spot those traits and engage with those new purchasing and work habits. There is an entirely new generation of future customers out there, and 2015 will be marked by how well ECHOtape understands both the culture and the technology necessary to make them part of our own success.
4. Design. As our customers become more savvy and aware of the products they want across the board, eventually these consumer discretion will wind its way into more traditional industries like ours. As we have discussed above, this means changes will be needed for everything from how we design our website to the way we service customers down to the design of our packaging and boxes.
Design matters, no matter how prominent or miniscule. It matters because each aspect helps us improve the overall customer experience, and improving on this experience is what will separate us from competitors as traditional markets follow emerging technology.
5. Sales & Marketing
Every item listed above can realistically be grouped under the “sales and marketing” umbrella, but the category is so much more than that because of the way people do business in 2015.
According to Ian Altman at Forbes, the average customer is more than 50% through the purchasing process before they are even interested in talking with someone. This means that marketing and sales and all the elements listed above must be more aligned and integrated than ever before.
In years past, people would call us on the phone all day long to talk about tape. While some customers may still prefer this mode of communication, we are seeing now that the process has been reversed, so we must think about the sales process differently. We must be ready to provide customers the information they want at the beginning of the sales process via our website and social media so that they can do their own research and due diligence. By preparing them properly with our various marketing tools, they will receive the nurturing necessary so that when they are ready to call us, they are equipped with all the necessary information to complete the transaction.
ECHOtape has been and always will be a company that is about producing the best product on the market and cherishing our relationships with customers. The year 2015 will once again be about upholding these values, and we will be ready to incorporate these new trends in order to continue to deliver service and value for our customers.