| 5-minute read |
As we enter the new year of 2019, surely the pressure is ON! This is especially the case for small businesses or startups in terms of coming up with the best business and marketing strategies. All in order to gain the much sought-after market lead ahead of the stiff competition.
Knowing the latest trends then, would help. In 2019, the limelight will be shining on these 6 emerging small business trends that are gaining traction after their initial market break in the past years.
So, what are they and how can you utilize these trends to help your business grow?
1. Digital Trend – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and The Internet of Things (IoT)
Technology has gotten small businesses further with much less thanks to the many software, tools, and services that are designed to address specific functions.
Uncovering further, digital trends such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will remain as the game changer of businesses, if not bigger.
Taking the simplest approach in explaining each one, AI basically allows you to analyze and interpret a large amount of data in no time and turn it into actual insights to help you understand your customer base and user behaviour better.
AI is also becoming more and more accessible by the day, with a lot of business tools incorporating AI features are made available at reasonable costs. Examples are such as Customer-relationship management (CRM) tools, missinglink.ai, Grammarly and other prospecting tools.
ML going next, is an extension of AI but the machine is learning on its own. It helps to promote your products or services to reach the best customers on the web such as on Facebook or Amazon for instance.
ML is exactly the type of tool that pushes out recommendation based on user’s input, the algorithm allows your business to pop up first on user’s news feed and send out suggestions for driving routes when using GPS apps or software. Of course, these are a few of many examples.
While the IoT has been around slightly longer, its presence is growing in importance. Basically IoT refers to the extension of internet connectivity beyond standard devices such as desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablets to other network of devices including vehicles and home appliances.
2. Digital Trend – Blockchain, Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency
When Blockchain first started as a new form of money transaction, it sounded so foreign and many deemed it to be too complex. Truth is, the idea behind it is quite simple.
Essentially, Blockchain aims to remove the dependency on financial institutions to perform transaction and giving any account owners the authority to perform direct transaction.
Now to put it into the business context, the peer-to-peer platform allows upgraded security and authentication in agreements and supply chains which would be beneficial across the parties in your business network.
With the increase in popularity and number of big players placing interest in Blockchain, small businesses have started to move real world assets on Blockchain to make funding more secure, transparent, accessible, cheaper and easier.
Assets such as cash, gold, or stocks are converted into digital tokens in Blockchain.
Then, from Blockchain, Bitcoin was introduced as a form of cryptocurrency that provides an alternative to traditional money. The value of Bitcoin has also skyrocketed in recent years and many big companies have started to invest in it.
However, it is better to treat this as an investment instead of a source of revenue for small businesses.
Ultimately, there are also other cryptocurrencies and the technology is expected to grow more in future, making it a trend that will likely to stay around for long.
3. Marketing Trend – Hyperlocal Advertising
The advent of smartphones has changed the way businesses reaching the consumer. One major advantage lies in the location detection feature on even the most basic model of a smartphone.
This eventually allows a new form of location-based advertising termed as “hyperlocal advertising”.
Hyperlocal advertising utilizes users’ locations for businesses to serve them with more relevant ads. This allows your business to stand out more and not drown within the advertisement clutter on the web.
Additionally, it is a type of targeted marketing that helps you to refine the quality of your target audience and increase stronger local engagement.
4. Social Media Trend – Live Streaming Video
These days, consumers are no longer interested in generic impersonal and pre-scripted marketing approach. They crave genuine interaction and real time response, hence, explaining why live stream video is booming in popularity.
Live streaming video actually gives your business a face and more humane presence and allowing your business to have a more authentic engagement with consumer.
Live streaming video is a common feature now on major social media platforms, hence, making it a fundamental form of marketing that with proper utilization will make significant difference.
Try to incorporate this trend by live streaming your next product launch, new campaign, how-to tutorials, or answering FAQs for example.
5. Target Audience Trend – Millennials On The Rise
Millennials are growing in numbers and spending power by 2019, therefore, making them a-must-recognize market force. According to a report by The Star Online, millennials are making up 25% of the world’s population with most of them are in Asia.
Specifically in Malaysia, 29% out of our 32 million population are millennials and they are hungry for different things. Millennials prefer convenience, speed, online presence, digitization and they are not afraid to spend. A major bonus point!
The catch is, to appeal to this market, your business has to have a personalized approach and screams out these two magic words – fast and easy. Hence, explaining perfectly our point earlier why live streaming video is a preferred marketing channel. It boasts both of the characteristics.
Therefore, businesses out there, do try to win the heart of these youngsters.
6. Community Trend – Review, Referral, and Crowdfunding
This year’s buzz phrase will be user review is king. Sounds like an overstretch? According to a report, customer reviews influence more than 95% of purchasing decision online. It is basically word-of-mouth or referral taking a new form and is enough to make or break your business. (Read more about customer review here)
Crowdfunding is continuously rising as well. It’s common for small businesses to have funding limitation and this is one way to solve it. Crowdfunding refers to any platforms that allows online users to help fund a business for it to be able to launch.
However, to gain such financial support, your business has to appeal to your target audience or catering to their demands. So the best is to level up the way you advertise and market your business. A strong pitch backed with social media presence is the best bet for starters.
Trends Come and Go
There you have it, the 6 most predicted trends that will continue to flourish in 2019. Many businesses have started to incorporate these trends to improve their businesses and now it is your turn. Although trends come and go, these trends are great starting points, so have a go at it!
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