Forbes Entrepreneurs By Kimberly A. Whitler, CEO Network
What are the big marketing trends impacting small business? I turned to industry experts for insight. Below are seven trends that small businesses in particular should pay attention to.
Trend #1: Main Street businesses will have a renaissance. Laura Goldberg, Chief Revenue Officer for Kabbage.
“Driven with the desire to take (much-needed) breaks from technologies, many are turning to older traditions to do timeless tasks. There’s no model or algorithm that can replace your pipes, cut your hair, or guarantee tulips for your daughter’s winter wedding. Strong relationships—and even more, personalization—are key in business and paramount in customer service. Local small businesses will see a renaissance in the future, both because of technology and despite its hype.
Trend #2: There will be Less Reliance on the Large Tech Players for Growth. Ben Gold, President at QuickBridge.
Ecommerce-based small businesses will start to shift focus away from trying to align with pure growth tech players and forge their own way with the help of smaller partners who offer more control over branding, customer relationships, and fulfillment. Increased government regulation of tech giants like Amazon and Google will facilitate this return to more independent distribution among smaller ecommerce players looking to gain competitive advantage.
Trend #3: Marketers Will Rely Less on Data and More on Great Storytelling. Cory Treffiletti, Global Head of Demand Gen, Webex.com and Cisco Collaboration
The past 10 years have seen the pendulum shift heavily towards the use of data for targeting and audience segmentation, however many promises of the data-driven marketer have not been realized. Smaller businesses are more strapped for budgets and as a result will spend less on data driven tactics. They will spend more of their time and resources against the development of stories that resonate with the audience and therefore self-select the people who will respond.
Trend #4: Side Hustles will Become Real Businesses. Laura Goldberg, Chief Revenue Officer for Kabbage.
“Side hustles are only going to become more prominent in younger generations, starting as early as the teenage years. Since today’s entry-level go-getters aren’t as mesmerized by an office job, it makes sense — and challenges household brands to shift their mentalities. In the future, we’ll see a greater number of side hustles navigating the nuances of becoming a bonafide business, from filing their articles of incorporation to applying for working capital. Technology is drastically reducing the friction to start and build a business, and as a result, we’ll see more folks take the plunge into entrepreneurship.”
Trend #5: Increased Value Placed on Sustainability vs. Pure Growth. Ben Gold, President at QuickBridge.
“In contrast to the rapid growth and over-inflated valuations commonly seen over the last decade, small businesses and startups will shift to valuing profitability and sustainability over pure growth acquisition plays in the 2020s. This will be in part because of increased government scrutiny of these “unicorns,” and these companies themselves value correcting and breaking apart. The result will be an increase in entrepreneurship and power going back into the hands of the small business owner.”
Trend #6: AI Will Automate Mundane Tasks, Paving The Way For More Innovation. Cory Treffiletti, Global Head of Demand Gen, Webex.com and Cisco Collaboration
“AI is weaving itself into everyday life, and as it enters the small business landscape, business owners are finding ways to automate simple tasks like meeting notes, calendar scheduling, follow ups, etc. As AI begins to take these simple tasks off the plate of the small business owner, more of their time and day can be focused on collaborating and developing ideas that push business forward. This kind of innovation is a better use of time and creates new revenue streams, higher margins and a better overall business landscape.”
Trend #7: Small Business Will Go Cashless, Relying on Digital Payment Methods. Cory Treffiletti, Global Head of Demand Gen, Webex.com and Cisco Collaboration
“More small businesses are going direct to consumers and selling online. Even those with a physical storefront are finding that digital payment methods are commonplace, so they will possibly go cashless, no longer needing to maintain cash on-hand and deal with the day-in and day-out burden of managing physical currency. Digital eco-systems for payment and management are more affordable and definitely more convenient.”
This article first appeared in Forbes Entrepreneur.