Ah, yes. The new year is right around the corner. I'm no futurist by any stretch, but I do observe and notice trends. And I love talking about how these trends are going to shape the business world.
So in keeping with that famed tradition on MichelFortin.com since I wrote The Death of The Salesletter, here are some of my predictions based on simple observations.
1. Mobile Commerce is Going to Explode
Yeah, sure. You've heard it before. “Mobile is going to be big.” That's old news. It's already massive. But that's not what I'm talking about.
It's the business of mobile.
That is, building businesses for, marketing on, and conducting commerce through mobile markets will explode. I believe mobile marketing will become a greater industry for small to medium-sized businesses. Even taking over Internet marketing.
In other words, mobile marketing for many businesses will take center stage, even at the expense of their web presence or online marketing efforts.
More and more businesses are leaving traditional Internet marketing to go into mobile marketing. That's why I believe, in 2012, we're going to see more Internet marketers creating programs, training, and software for mobile markets.
We've only seen the snowflake on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mobile commerce, which is already a reported billion-dollar industry.
Watch for this trend in 2012. Pushed by last year's recession in large part, it's going to be as big as the dotcom boom of '99. Mark my word.
Speaking of “Marks,” I'm not the only one making this prediction, obviously. Netscape creator Marc Andreesen made this prediction as well.
2. Bye-Bye Desktops and Laptops
I don't think they're going to leave anytime soon.
But this trend is not about a technology becoming useless but about it becoming smaller, more efficient, and more powerful. Above all, more convenient.
And convenience is at the heart of this trend.
When I look at my old, clunky Commodore whose 64KB of space was quite revolutionary back in its day, and compare it to today's ability to store close to a hundred gigabytes into a tiny smartphone, it's only commonsensical that large, cumbersome, clunky computers are going the way of the dinosaur.
Along with the growth in smartphones and mobile marketing, I do sincerely believe that tablets are going to take over in the computer world.
It will be far easier to connect a keyboard and LCD monitor to a hyper-powerful tablet PC or iPad while at home, and at anytime just unplug it and take it with you to work on your business while sipping a Grande latte at Starbucks.
Now, from an Internet business and marketing perspective, this means to focus on software, and software as a service (SaaS), that help businesses run either through, or transact over, tablets (or do so more efficiently).
Think apps, cloud services, tablet-driven web design, and the like.
Again, I don't think tablets will replace traditional computers anytime soon. But hybrid setups and gradual integration will take place.
We need to take notice. In earlier years, I predicted that cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) would explode. Well, tablet-based computing is a perfect market. Capitalizing on this will become a huge opportunity in 2012.
3. Convergence Finally Starts Taking Shape
Convergence is where more and more communication channels merge.
This “megatrend” was predicted many years ago. In fact, it went as far back as the late 70s by smarter folks than me. Since then, many electronics companies who tried to jump on the bandwagon failed. (Or failed to get any traction.)
But now, with the power of cloud computing and mobile markets, it's an open door that will swing wide open for channels to converge.
Convergence is not the merging of different channels as originally predicted but the gradual integration of their use. For example, think of listening to the radio or watching TV on your computer. In fact, one of the biggest convergences happening right now is the ability to watch TV on tablets and even smartphones.
But TV is not the only one…
- If you have smartphone or tablet, you can listen to any radio station in the world.
- You can watch your favorite TV shows, even on an wifi-connected airplane.
- You can buy and download music from your favorite artists. Anytime, anywhere.
- You can transmit your downloaded music, TV shows, even movie rentals from your phone to play on your home entertainment system.
- You can phone anywhere in the world for pennies through VoIP tools.
- Heck, now you even can have your ISP monitor your home security.
And it goes on and on.
Granted, many of these things are happening right now. But from a business and marketing perspective, one area that will explode next year is the creation, selling, and delivery of services and software that cater to these emerging marketplaces.
Here's My Point…
Think about creating businesses or products, or more importantly creating software as a service, that cater to the mobile and converging markets. In fact, one area that specifically is still largely untapped is local businesses.
(That's also why you will see more and more local marketing and mobile services popping up. Just recently, my friend Armand Morin has re-released a training product called enLocal Network for this very reason.)
Think about how to mobilize your business, website, products, or services.
Think about how well your design, copy, user experience, and sales process cater to these markets — and look at bottlenecks and snags that can impede sales.
And think about how your products or services can connect on, be used through, be optimized with, or be modified (as new products) for converged channels.
If you sell, say, a weightloss system, how will people consume the product on their mobile phones? How about an app-based service that allows them to access, store, and update their results on their iPads? What about using it on a Wii or Xbox Kinect?
The possibilities are endless.
And that is my wish to you for the New Year.
In 2012, I wish you endless possibilities. But more than that, I wish you have the smarts you need to turn endless possibilities into opportunities, as well as the skills you need to turn opportunities into profits.
Be good. Be well. And be loved.