The Crystal Ball: Trends and Predictions for the Year Ahead

The 2018 Crystal Ball: 8 Trends and Predictions for the Year Ahead

Let’s take out our crystal ball and delve deep into its center for 2018 top business trends that you can leverage to drive your business success. I always keep an eye out for different perspectives and points of view that can help my clients achieve.

I firmly believe that the true scarcity in business today isn’t knowledge or different growth options or even good intention – it’s CLARITY. And clarity on trends that can help your business is imperative.

Lots of businesses conduct competitor research. This is a defensive move — you look at your competition so you can make sure you still have a share of the market.

Looking at trends is an offensive move. You have the chance to execute before your competitors can, and that just might get you more sales. Or maybe it will make you more efficient or help you become an early adopter for important technology. You get the idea.

Don’t stay in the dark about what’s happening. Instead, take some time to look at these trends. Your business will be a lot better for it.

Here are 8 Trends and Predictions for the year ahead from my research and experience.  Note: Be sure to visit all the references for more details and full explanations!

From The Biggest Trends in Entrepreneurship to Look For in 2018, by Neil Patel – Entrepreneur, investor & influencer. Columnist for Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post.

Technology will become more and more disruptive
Airbnb is probably the best example of true disruption. A startup founded in 2008 is making more than global hotel chains that have been around for decades. That’s the power of disruptive innovation. More startups are getting comfortable with the idea of being disruptive. It’s riskier, but the rewards are also bigger. At its core, a major aspect of disruption is connecting customers to more resources. Think of it like taking out the middleman. Often, this cuts costs and makes users happier.

There will be more remote teams
Remote work has exploded in popularity. More people are choosing to telecommute or work completely online. You can set your own schedule and work at your own pace. In its State of the American Workplace report, Gallup noted that 43% of employed Americans spend at least some time working remotely. In almost every industry, the percentage of workers who work from home has increased dramatically.

Marketing will get more interactive
Getting users to notice you is more difficult than ever. Every day, we’re bombarded with advertisements — as many as 5,000 per day. Popups, commercials, display ads — the list goes on and on. Businesses spend billions each year on advertising, and it makes the Internet super cluttered. As a result, it’s very difficult to stand out. One way that marketers have been combating that issue is by using more interactive forms of marketing. When done right, interactive marketing is so good that the user won’t even care if they can tell it’s marketing. But why does interactive marketing even matter? And what the heck is wrong with traditional methods? Today, the consumer has almost full control.

The Internet of Things will become more important
The Internet of Things is one of the most revolutionary technological advances in the last few years. It has huge implications for how we eat, sleep, and even do marketing. If you haven’t heard the term before, the Internet of Things (or IoT) connects devices to the Internet to open up new possibilities for using those devices. By 2020, there will be 4 billion people connected to the IoT. That’s over half the population. And that’s not some time far off in the future. It’s only a little over two years from now. Can you just imagine the sheer amounts of personalized data that we’ll be able to collect from 4 billion people? If you’re a marketer, you’re probably drooling right now — and you should be. The IoT is intense and growing rapidly. In some ways, startups are going to be utilizing it more, and those who don’t might fall behind.

Automation will be more widespread
Today, everything is digital. It’s possible that in just a few years, you could be collaborating with a robot. It sounds like it’s out of a science fiction story, but it’s not. It makes sense. You can program software to do things reliably, so why not take advantage of that? Specifically, one of the growing trends is the use of chatbots. Often, these chats have real people behind them. Whether it’s for tech support or advice, chat usually relies on humans. However, many startups are using bots instead of people for live chat. What lots of businesses have discovered is that you can still deliver helpful, personalized results using a chatbot.

From The Top Business Trends To Look Out For in 2018

Blockchain everything
Yes, this is Bitcoin but it’s more than that. It’s a completely different way of processing information and Bitcoin is just the tip of the iceberg. In essences, blockchain is a different way to process transactions or records. Like a shared document that can be recorded and remembered several different ways. Blockchain is emerging in healthcare as well as financial tech. And no matter the fate of Bitcoin as a currency, blockchain will be here to stay. This is an excellent primer about how blockchain works and its underlying technology.

From Ian Altman, CEO of Grow My Revenue, LLC, a speaker on sales and business development. I highly respect his thinking and experience. A common New Zealand term is that “I have a lot of time for Ian.” He was recently published in and discussed his perspective on the top business trends in 2018 that will drive success.

Marketing Drives Results With A Focus On Problems
Marketers used to espouse the features and benefits of offerings. However, B2B customers have learned to ignore features/benefits. In fact, your ideal client may not even realize that they could benefit from your product or service. Top performing companies focus on the problems you solve, and the anticipated results you deliver. Expect to see companies shift their marketing messages to the problems they solve instead of their features.

Artificial Intelligence Drives Customer Experience
As AI expert and leading keynote speaker Christopher Penn, VP of Marketing Technology for SHIFT Communications says, “There are three levels of machine learning: AI where machines perform tasks normally performed by humans; machine learning, where the machines learn on their own; and deep learning, where machine learning chains together for rich learning.” Leading companies are embracing AI to perform repeatable, redundant tasks and to process large amounts of data not to avoid human interaction, but to enrich it. AI is becoming the norm for many practical consumer experiences.

And, for fun. Notes Fortune:

Good businesses keep up with the hottest trends. Great ones anticipate them. Our best bets? India will grow, cars will fly, and Bitcoin will crash-before it rebounds to new highs. Billionaires will blast off into space, and you’ll be eating meat with no animal in it (and you might even like it). Here is a link to their predictions compiled from various sources – there are lots of interesting ideas that stopped me – like the sports predictions!

It’s Your Turn

So what do you think? Which resonate with you – or what is missing and needs consideration? Contact me to discuss how you can embrace these trends in your business.

© 2017-2020 David Paul Carter. All rights reserved.

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