Business is an ever-changing beast, especially the technology required to do it right. Every year, the game changes, and the gadgets become more complex and more capable.
This year’s trends are in line with what you’d expect to follow last year’s constant stream of cyberattacks and advances in mobile technology—spurring an expectation of mobility and a desire for added security that consumers won’t be denied in 2016.
If you hope to keep up, you’ll need to start pushing your business towards the following major trends in the 2016 world of business.
- Mobilize. Mobility is no longer a luxury—it’s now considered a basic human right to most consumers. Websites, purchasing options, social media, marketing tools, etc. are all expected to be easily accessible from any location at any time via tablets or mobile phones. And if you hope to tap into the real consumer market this year, mobile technology should be your primary priority. America is a land of impulsive shoppers and I-want-it-now consumers, and tech trends in business technology development have risen to meet that need. If every form of outreach and purchasing options available in your business isn’t currently mobile compatible, change that immediately.
- Know the net, own the net—Online Marketing. Cable and radio advertising have gone the way of the do-do bird in modern business. Internet marketing and media interaction will dominate in 2016. Business technology has been merging with online media for a while now, trending towards a heavy online content focus for most business marketing campaigns. This year, effective use of graphics, keywords, location monitoring, analytics of browsing habits, etc. will be the key tools for effective business and marketing management, so get the tech to make it happen now. The more you know, the more you can own the online sales market—and that’s where all the cool kids hang these days.
- Real content streaming. So, modern consumers aren’t like the 50’s kids who were susceptible to any kind of marketing push from even the worst commercials back in the old black and white TV days. Modern consumers are smart, savvy, and they want to know that what you’re offering them is really what they want. So, nix the cheesy commercials approach. That’s about as likely to attract quality customers as roadside sign waving in this modern era (unless your roadside guy is Channing Tatum-esque material). The current tech trends are leaning towards streaming information, real content that provides real information to your customers. Behind the scenes shows, live event coverage, discussions between industry experts, and other bits of interesting information are more effective for modern consumers than any marketing gimmick you can devise. Give them something real, and you’ll see some real money in return.
- Cybersecurity. The biggest and most important tech trend in business technology for 2016 is cybersecurity. The last several years have seen hundreds of attacks that compromised several hundred thousand pieces of personal and payment card information. For the larger businesses, the threats were mitigated as quickly as they were discovered, but for many small businesses, the thefts had a significant and detrimental impact on the future of the business. The loss of consumer trust is one of the biggest factors, and it’s not an effect than can be easily remedied. For that reason, if you invest in nothing else this year, invest in good cybersecurity. Update to an EMV system card reader, add encryption to your website, make your firewalls virtually “bullet proof” where you can. There are never any guarantees, but the more layers of protection you can add to your systems, the less likely cyber criminals will be to continue pushing into your system when they can go for easy prey instead. Don’t be the easy prey.
Technology is a many splendored thing, and the advances in business technology continue to amaze. Don’t let your business fall behind the rest of the herd—be ahead of them by focusing on improving your mobile options, tightening up security measures, and letting the internet work for you. Connect with your customers, offer them the technology they crave, and 2016 could be your year.
About the Author - Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood. .
Top Photo Courtesy of Magicatwork @ Flickr CC.