I want you to put this into perspective: Amazon, a tech company, just purchased one of the biggest retail food chains in the nation, Whole Foods. Only two months later, Whole Foods significantly reduced the price of their food.
According to Forbes, some start-ups with 10 people can’t even make decisions and execute in less than two months. A multi-billion-dollar conglomerate purchased another billion-dollar conglomerate, made a crazy fast decision and executed it in an amazingly quick time, especially for the size of the acquisition.
Now, other grocery chains have to make some big decisions to figure out how to survive. That’s how fast things are changing.
This means that you need to adapt your thinking to how technology can impact your business. Not only do you have to worry about a big tech company coming in and immediately changing industry standards, you have to worry about how you can adapt to technology to make the most out of it for your brand.
Here are my recommendations on how to utilise technology to grow your company:
Respect the impact of technology on your business
Businesses often use digital marketing. This was before Facebook Live, Facebook Groups, WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat. Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yelp just got started, and the term “social media manager” wasn’t even close to being a thing.
Each one of these technologies has made a significant impact to how businesses and brands market themselves. You can’t sit and wait for technology to adapt to your business; you have to adapt to the technology and figure out a way to help your business.
If multi-billion-dollar conglomerates are adjusting to the fast-changing market, then so should you. The best way to assess what technology is best for your business is to limit yourself to a few technologies that you have seen work for your industry and give it a chance. Hiring an agency is usually your next bet if you need the help.
Understand how technology can help your business grow
Marketing used to mean advertisements in the Yellow Pages, direct mail pieces and cold calling. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Yellow Pages is not in a good place, and they just recently shut down the print book in the United Kingdom.
Of course, cold calling and direct mail can work in certain scenarios, but in many instances, it doesn’t.
Instead of having a few options to market your business, you are now presented with what seems like hundreds of options to drive traffic, sales and leads to your business. How do you decide which is the right one? You have to be able to figure out what’s in your marketing funnel and make appropriate decisions. As guidance, you should always start with your target customer. Business-to-consumer companies, for example, may be great candidates for Instagram or Facebook ads, whereas business-to-business companies may find LinkedIn to be most useful.
Another concept regarding marketing is that your brand isn’t always in control of the message. A great example of this is when Patti LaBelle couldn’t sell pies fast enough due to a viral Facebook live review video. Walmart was selling a pie per second after the video dropped.
In those cases, you need to adapt to what’s happening around you to make sure it’s always a positive for your business. Each area of digital marketing can have a significant impact if you do it properly.
Learn what your competitors are doing
An avid networker once started a business and went to every marketing event and conference humanly possible. Outside of meeting incredible entrepreneurs and marketers, make sure that you visit every company booth that is similar to the business you are running.
Find the best companies and analyse what make them successful. Write down what they are doing right and, most importantly, where they go wrong. Ask them what tools they use and how they use them and how it is adding value to marketing their business, even though you are competitors.
As a small business, it’s important to know what your competition is up to. When it comes to marketing, knowing how your competitors stack up in the digital world is crucial. What does their online presence look like? Their social following? Their local reviews? Knowing this is key to maximising your own business potential.
Technology is making a big impact on businesses and the change is happening faster than ever before. Understand it, embrace it and learn from the best in your industry.