I always feel like September is the start of the new year. Even if you are in one of the many organizations with a fiscal year end at December 31, it is in the fall of the year that you are planning, finalizing budgets, and making decisions as to what initiatives you will pursue next year.
So here is my list of three things every business person should be thinking about for 2015.
1. What’s your content Play?
As we move into 2015 we really are seeing a real change in the appeal of your communications. Advertising in its traditional sense is obsolete, and what moves the needle is relevant content that builds connectedness with your customers and potential customers.
People no longer want to be given a pitch, and they are now adept at ignoring your traditional approaches – and I include in this their ability to ignore your traditional digital approaches! People want immersive, interactive experiences that bring them into the story and build a deep connection. You need video and interactivity, and you need it now, and you need it working on every type of screen.
The good news is that with the rising wave of content distribution engines, social media interfaces, and the interactive evolution of traditional advertising mediums – there is opportunity for businesses large and small to engage in these deep meaningful experiences with customers.
You need to think of yourself as a publisher, friend and trusted confidante for your customers. Make sure you know what your opportunities are here, and that you are thinking hard about how your messages truly engage, inform, inspire and entertain your audiences.
2. The rise of deep data
Despite all the brain-numbing hype over big data in the last couple of years, it really is time to think about how you are going to use deep data to help your business. The reason I prefer the term “Deep Data” vs. “Big Data” is that it is focused on the true insight that can be gleaned from all the information around you – going deep on the pieces that are important. Big data is an overwhelming concept and for most businesses it is impossible to know where to start. In Deep Data what is important is to truly understand those specific data sets that are critical to how your target customers live, think and feel.
Companies who use analytics to identify and go deep on the few true business drivers will be the ones able to use data to make real change and seize new opportunities. And I believe they will find these opportunities much quicker than the companies that spin up gargantuan algorithms with an incomprehensible sea of variables.
3. How will you win the war for hearts and minds?
Much has been written on the emerging war for talent, and also on the unique aspects of engaging the millenials in your workplace. I think there is a bigger issue at play here. People of all ages, tutored by the millenials in their lives, are becoming innately more social and more cynical than ever before.
With respect to the rise of social media and mobile connectedness, people are now driven by instant feedback, instant “coaching” from their wider community of influence, and open dialogue on every topic. How will you build a culture and action mindset in your organization that a) feeds this new expectation of employees; b) captures the advantage of this new connectedness with your customers; and c) opens your organization to true, instant feedback from all your stakeholders?
With respect to the increasing cynicism of both your employees and customers, how are you incorporating this reality into planning? People are not willing to take your claims at face value, and are more intelligent, educated and media savvy than ever before. How are you amping up the proof and trusted support network for your claims? The smartest companies in 2015 will use the power of peer networks, compelling evidentiary content, and open dialogues with employees and customers to close the deal faster, even in the face of a cynical audience.
There is definitely a war for talent, but there is a bigger war for the hearts and minds of everyone who counts in the success of your business.
Thinking about your content play, the rise of deep data and winning the war for hearts and minds are three things I think you should be thinking about. What are your thoughts of trends to consider in 2015? I’d love to hear from you.