Did you know that the 23 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales?
Did you know that small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s?
While big business has eliminated four million jobs since 1990, small businesses added eight million.
Why the focus on small business today? It’s National Small Business Week in the United States and to commemorate the occasion, I partnered with Cox Business to discuss the importance of connected consumerism amidst the release of its inaugural small business survey (#SBWSurvey).
Blame it on the youth they say. Indeed, there’s a great assumption that the future of technology falls in the hands of emergent generations. The youth of today will someday represent the majority of consumers, employees and citizens. That’s always the case, but what we don’t yet fully appreciate is just how different young adults think today. We don’t yet understand what it is they value and why. We’ve not yet assimilated how they make decisions and what factors influence their daily activities and journeys.
In Part 1 of this series, The First Mile: The Broken Link of Social Media Customer Service, we reviewed the opportunities and challenges that face any business seeking to engage customers in social networks. To become customer-centric requires a culture that supports customer-centricity and an active investment in defining the first mile experience.
No matter how you define it, engagement is something that we most likely underestimate. Engagement symbolizes the touches that occur in various moments of truth and this should completely change not only how you engage someone in each moment but also how the inside of your company works with one another to make it frictionless and experiential.
Over the years, businesses have developed sales, marketing and service strategies around the funnel. Awareness, interest, desire, action, to this day, describes the likely steps a customer may take in making a decision. Over the years, it was assumed that the liner path would also continue through a transaction to a state of loyalty and ultimately advocacy. The process of customer engagement to this day is designed to shepherd people along this delicate path. For at any moment, consumer attention, interest, and resulting action could fall astray without superintendence.
Jeff Ashcroft (@JeffAshcroft) along with @TheSocialCMO host the popular #MMchat (Marketer Monday) every week at 8 p.m. eastern on Twitter. It’s a rapid fire exchange not only between the organizer and the guest but also everyone following along #MMchat. It certainly makes for exciting dialog in real-time and also later when the full transcript is published. I recently joined them to discuss the future of business and why now is the time to become the hero in your hero’s journey. I’ve recreated our exchange (each in 140 characters or less) for you here…
It is with the utmost excitement that I finally announce the availability of What’s the Future of Business, Changing the way businesses create experiences (www.wtfbusiness.com). You can get it now at Amazon, B&N, iTunes. It’s also available for Nook and Kindle.
It’s been a long journey to this point. Following my last book, The End of Business as Usual, I set out to answer an important question, if this is the end of business as usual, then what‟s next and what do we do about it?
Today’s leading companies are already becoming obsolete. Fortunately or unfortunately, they won’t know until it’s too late. In 10 years, 40% of the Fortune 500 was replaced. Irrelevance is only accelerating. It’s Digital Darwinism out here. #AdaptorDie!
Ignorance is bliss, until it’s not.
Technology…social, mobile, real-time, it’s changing the world. Customers are evolving into something new. They’re more connected, empowered, and demanding.
In a post Occupy world, organizations everywhere should contemplate the themes that flooded the undercurrent of one of the greatest consumer uprisings in recent history. Even though some minimize the rise of Occupy as a rebellion without a cause, I believe there’s much to learn from these events to prevent them from happening again…or at least to you.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.