As we move out of the recession, we need to be prepared for how business will adapt as companies, once again, start investing and growing their business. The new reality is that the new economy is going to look, feel and even "be" completely different. These changes are going to be very much "next generation" when compared to what we're presently seeing.
Here are 6 steps towards this new economy:
- Digitization. There is going to be a dramatic shift in how business is created on the business-to-business side and on the front-end as well. As we come out of the recession, the investment is not going to go back into the old infrastructures. The changes and shifts are going to be deep, and the investments are all going to be into the digitization and modernization of everything from business process to delivery mechanisms. If you thought what happened to the music industry (and what's happening to the newspaper industry) is an anomaly, it's not. It's going to happen to your industry as well (if it's not already happening).
- New Business Models. The real industry leaders of tomorrow are going to crush the current top-tiers in their sector not by replicating what was done before, but by creating an entirely new business model. Think of what Google did with pay-per-click advertising in relation to the traditional advertising industry and multiply that many times (while adding in some exponential growth for good measure). The big dollars in the future will be made by selling and promoting brands in a way in which we have never seen before.
- Digital Nomads. This could well be the biggest and hardest shift that we're going to see. The entire workforce is going to change completely. As more and more people are connected always and anywhere (the Internet will be as pervasive as electricity), it's going to change our perception of what a work week looks like, how teams are formed and collaborate, and the physical structure by which architects will build corporate offices. The new economy is going to obliterate the cubicle culture (somewhere, Dilbert is smiling). We're also not going to see people sitting at desks, working at terminals and looking like a factory assembly line. That is all going to pass. Welcome to the great untethering of our society.
- Personal Customer Care. The "us vs. them" model that most companies currently employ for customer service departments in relation to their customers is going to disappear. Competition for almost everything is going to get much more fierce as globalization continues and other countries begin to improve in both product creation and marketing. From that, companies will (finally) get very customer focused. Much in the same way luxury brands offer their consumers a higher level of service and attention, so too will all companies. Brands going forward will not battle over price, they'll battle over value and relationships as they build communities around their consumers.
- Direct Contact. One of the many reasons why Twitter is so fascinating to so many people is because of how it gives an individual direct access to people who they would have never had direct access to. From politicians and celebrities, to business leaders and customer service divisions of companies, this type of direct contact is just the beginning. There is no going back. In the new economy, the companies who allow, enable and empower their employees to have direct contact with the consumers are going to be the ones with the most brand evangelists and the biggest communities.
- Analytics Driven Initiatives. The technology and infrastructure will be in place to actually understand and use the current sea of data that most companies are simply housing right now. The shift from housing to harvesting is going to make companies extremely smart, quick and agile. Through analytics and better decision making, they will be able to not only serve their current consumers, but better understand the types of products and services they are looking for based on current usage
These 6 steps will have a tremendous side-effect on everything we think we understand about Marketing, Communications, Advertising and Public Relations.
The reality is that these six steps are just a dream. It was a personal exercise I charged myself with. I wanted to imagine what business might look like five years after the current economic situation had passed (and, it will pass). Many companies today are simply trying to see what their business might look at the end of the next quarter. The bigger challenge is in imagining your business five years into the next boom (which is coming too).
What are some of the steps that you think will help forge the next new economy?