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Market Intelligence, Social Equity & 7 More Business Essentials for 2018

Business

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Here are 9 business essentials for 2018 that can help businesses stay competitive.

It’s 2018, and now, there’s another generation in town: Generation Z. While marketers have been working themselves to the bone trying to understand what motivates Millennials to buy for years, it’s now time to include these younger buyers in the mix. Currently, Generation Z (born between the mid 1990s and the mid 2000s) wield direct spending power of $29 to $143 billion, but surveys of their parents indicate that their influence is much higher: 93% of parents said their children influence household spending. With that in mind, Generation Z is also going to have a massive impact on business trends in 2018 as brands scramble to cater to their preferences. Here are 9 business essentials for 2018 that can help businesses stay competitive.

Market Intelligence

With an ever-changing, increasingly competitive market, knowing where you stand within your market can mean the difference between success and failure. Companies should always be gaining market intelligence to keep tabs on competitors and shape their strategies, gathering data from a variety of sources. Market intelligence can be collected manually, but with recent advancements in artificial intelligence, the process is becoming easier to automate in 2018, saving valuable time. In fact, 76% of decision-making advisors believe their market intelligence will begin to move toward automation by the end of the decade.

Social Equity

The mobile revolution has opened up a lot of opportunities for the “gig economy” or “sharing economy to emerge, with companies like Uber, Rover, and Instacart cashing in. Many Millennials and members of Generation Z are showing interest in entrepreneurship, becoming freelancers, taking on a side hustle, or using sharing economy services. 16% of Americans 18-30 have earned money through these services, and 72% of Americans have used them at one time or another. Businesses with a social equity service can do well in 2018, and many companies are also benefitting by hiring freelancers for some roles, rather than keeping positions in-house.

Social and Environmental Responsibility

Generation Z understands the importance of social and environmental responsibility, and they’re ready to show it with their brand loyalty. Companies that engage in social responsibility are rewarded with sales from the younger generation and positive word-of-mouth referrals. For example, companies like SUAVS Shoes hits on points these new consumers love: a minimalist product design, combined with social and environmental responsibility (the company does not discard shoes with slight defects, but instead donates them to developing countries). About 89% of Gen Z buyers would rather buy from a socially or environmentally-conscious brand, showing that business and global issues are now becoming intertwined.

Personalized Content

Ads will probably never go away, but they’re not the best way to reach Generation Z and Millennials, who have learned to tune them out. Personalized, interactive content is gaining popularity with companies marketing to younger consumers. Whether it’s a video contest, highly personalized email marketing, or sponsored Snapchat filters, consumers don’t want to just consume content—they want to interact.

Influencer Marketing

With brands anxious to increase their engagement on all-important social media platforms, influencer marketing is the rising star in 2018. Companies can benefit from partnering with social media stars, celebrities, bloggers, and even other brands to leverage existing engaged audiences. Influencer marketing can help increase brand awareness, engagement, and ultimately, sales.

Mobile Solutions

As “digital natives,” Generation Z are enthusiastic mobile device users. Companies cannot afford to ignore them, as they’ll just turn to more tech-savvy retailers who do support mobile solutions. A mobile-friendly site, mobile payment options, and mobile content are all examples of how businesses can work with Gen Z on their terms.

Visual and Live Content

The way we consume content is changing. Hubspot’s data shows that visual content is more than 40 times as likely to be shared on social media as other content, and live video is on the rise. Live videos can be used to share updates, answer questions, and start discussions—which can all tie into a company’s efforts in social responsibility and engaging with the audience.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has been a concern for years since more personal data is being stored online. Major breaches, like the notorious Equifax breach that compromised the sensitive information of 143 million Americans, have made consumers wary and businesses on the hook. Not only are breaches expensive, they’re damaging to a company’s reputation and its customers. New security systems like the blockchain are emerging to fight back, and companies need to stay on top of these updates.

Social Learning

Nearly everything can be done online now, but that doesn’t mean that no one wants to interact anymore. Businesses are finding that their employees are more interested in social learning (peer collaborations) than in formal training or online courses. In fact, 87% of employees in one survey by Bloomfire believe that social knowledge is beneficial.

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