3 Trends for SMBs around Social, Mobile, and Sensor
By Christopher D. Kaufman-Oracle on Jun 06, 2014
While I often am talking to big companies or discussing enterprise mobile and social media solutions. There are times when individuals ask me about Small or Medium sized business trends.
Interestingly, the Enterprise Social, Mobile, and Sensor initiatives I regularly discuss are in fact related to even the Mom and Pop storefront. *(Learn more at our upcoming Mobility WorkShops)
The eco-system of new service players in the Social-Mobile-Sensor space generally emerge developing partnerships with enterprises as they develop and bring economy to scale to their services for the larger market. And of course Oracle has an entire division dedicated for delivering products and support to help emerging companies compete without the need to open an industrial strength credit line..
So here are some trends that we are helping large enterprises to deploy today, but small and medium businesses should be able to take advantage of by the end of this year and starting into 2015.
1) The typical small business is generally "Localized". But the ability to be "Hyper-Localized" will come as location based services become ubiquitous. Many small businesses have one or several storefronts and theirs are typically within a single regional economic footprint. While the internet provides global reach, it will be the businesses that invest in social, mobile and local that will win in the end.
Of course I am a huge SoMoLo evangelist. The SMBs' content and targeting with platforms for Geo-Fencing, Geo-Conquesting and Path-Matching to HHI are all going to be accessible to them, if not for Mobile Apps, then via Mobile messaging in Social Networks that offer it.. Expect to be able to target FaceBook messaging not by city, but by store or mall…
This makes being able to be "Hyper-Local" even more important. And with new proximity services coming online more than ever before, SMBs will operate and service customers with pinpoint accuracy right down to where they stand in an aisle.
Geo-Conquesting will be huge for small players to place ads when customers pass through competitors regions. Car Dealers are doing this now.. But also of course iBeacons are now very cheap and getting easier to put in retail stores. The ability for sales to happen anywhere in the store via a mobile phone or tablet is huge, as it will give the small shop the flexibility to not have to "Guard the Register" as more or most transactions will be digital. Thus, M-Commerce and T-Commerce will change the job of cashier dramatically..
2) Intra-Brand Advocacy, the idea now is that rather than just depend on your trusty social media manager and his team, you are going to push more and more individuals with expertise inside the organization to help manage, reach-out, and utilize social channels to manage the incoming questions and answers customers need.
While for years CRM was the tool of the enterprise, today CRMs enable this now "Salesforce et al" capability to trickle throughout the company. This gives greater pressure to organize roles, but also flatten out the organization. Internal collaboration around topics and customer needs is going to be the key for SMBs to finally get serious about customer experiences. Their customers are online and in social networks. This includes not just B2C SMBs but also B2B companies as well. Don't believe me? To find the players just use hashtag #SocialSelling and you will see…
3) The Visual Networks will begin to move from Content Aggregators to Content Collaboration platforms, which means Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, & others will begin to move to add more features brands want, first marketing platforms, rather than unique brand partnerships as they do today, but this will open ways for SMBs to engage with clear brand messaging and metrics.
Eventually providing more "Collaboration" between Brand and Consumer.. Don't think for a minute Facebook bought Oculus Rift so you could see your timeline in 3-D. The Social Networks I advise customers to invest in are ones that are audio and visual intrinsically. Players from SoundCloud to Pinterest are deploying ways for brands to harness their interactive visual or audio based social networks to sell ad units aka brand messaging.
While the Social Media revolution is going on, the emphasis was on the social, today it is more and more about the media in social, that enterprises, yet soon small and medium businesses will be connected to.