What the hell does 2015 have in store for us .... ?
Internet business practices have grown leaps and bounds. A real sense of maturation is taking shape and the shady, wild west practitioners are finally fading into the sunset. Businesses are realizing that online marketing strategies differ for each class of business; however, the game is not to be ignored.
Let's not pretend we have crystal balls. In reality, no one has a clue.
Read Nassim Taleb's work. Enlighten yourself to how the world behaves and the shocking refusal of human nature to accept it. The events that have the most impact don't happen often, and are completely unpredictable. The world is a lot more chaotic than we are comfortable with.
Why predict then? Its human nature. Its fun. It helps up prepare for, at least, the very near future. However, expect a wild card event in the future. Expect something that will shake things up significantly. Here is a list of 2015 business predictions that we should see in the very near future.
1. DEATH OF A INFO BUSINESS
Have a look on YouTube for anything that you need regarding Physiotherapy. I challenge you NOT to find a solution to any sort of muscle tissue problem you are having. Consider Kelly Starrett at MobilityWOD. The man is king of free, professional, physiotherapy advice and for years has put out a video per day. A resource I visit multiple times per week. Its a great thing.
Content marketing has proven to be a powerful tool for building trust and many are taking advantage of it. Believe it or not, content marketing is still in its infancy. As more adopt the technique, expect the value of businesses attempting to sell that same information product to diminish drastically.
Why pay for professional advise, when so many are giving it away for free?
In addition, there is only so much room for a content king in each arena. They space will fill up and expect it rapidly as well.
2. BIRTH OF A SERVICE BUSINESS
Something I have witnessed taking shape in 2014 is the birth of the service based businesses. As information based businesses diminish we will see businesses struggle to provide value. It takes significant time and money to develop a software. It also requires a significant effort to educate customers to win the sale.
A viable business solution is to provide a service. Some may even call it a SAAS or Service as a Service in contrast to Software as a Service. For example, see what Dan Norris and Alex McClafferty have done over at WPCurve - a service business offering virtually unlimited WordPress support.
3. PAID ADVERTS WILL BE FLOODED
I can run a paid advertising campaign on Facebook for approximately $30 CAD. That is extremely cheap. That same sort of campaign would cost me close to $100 CAD on Google Adwords and I would gain an eighth of the information through reporting.
At the same time Google has done an outstanding job policing the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts. I have seen a number SEO experts shift away from shady link building and focus on lasting businesses. Impressively enough these gents have made comments of very astute and mature businessmen. I am talking specifically about Hayden Miyamoto at No Hat Digital and Spencer Haws at Niche Pursuits. Hats off to these gents for blazing a great path.
I predict that as a result, we will see online businessmen and women far more willing to pay for traffic. Specifically they will be far more willing to pay for emails. As a result expect an increase in advertising prices.
4. sponsored content & CREATIVITY
It may be Commonwealth thing. However, I find that Canadians, Australians, etc, are far more sensitive to being sold. People of the United States do not seem to mind nearly as much. Regardless people from all corners are becoming desensitized to the classic, in-your-face, adverts in the form of banners and side bar ads.
Advertisers have been telling us such all year long. The next evolution in adverts is obviously native or "in content" adverts. It makes great sense that the publisher has earned trust and therefore the consumer has granted trust. Thus as this technique is explored, expect to see more sponsored content in which a creator is paid to include certain content in the content.
In addition, expect to see alternative means to the same end through rewards. For example, it is known that Ryan Holiday of American Apparel supplies fashion bloggers with free samples knowing they will review it on their website. It he "buying" the blogger or is he simply a creative marketer. I find this technique adequately ethical as long as the clothing samples are kept reasonable.
This has been a common practice in the movie industry for some time now.
5. EXPECT A WILD CARD EVENT
We would be fools to not expect something significant to change the online businesses playing field in 2015. Google alone has drastically changed the playing field with 15 algorithm updates in 2014.
As business professionals we should shrug any attempts to predict what will happen.
We could speculate for days ... perhaps it is a bit of fun. However, efforts are far better spent considering how dependent your business is on certain advertising channels. How would you generate business if one disappeared. Perhaps exploring other marketing channels would be very wise and very cheap insurance.
In addition, spending time to ensure you are ahead of new trends can pay off leaps and bounds as well. One should be sure to stand to gain from Wild Card events just as much as worrying about negative Wild Card events.
LET'S WRAP IT UP
Without a doubt, 2015 will have a few tricks to reveal. We have chosen a very dynamic playing field to call home and with that we see the old fade away rapidly. However, we also see outstanding opportunities arise each and every day. Creativity has, and always will, win the day.
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