By Rob Moore, co-founder of the UK’s biggest property education and investment Co
- Data portability
I was speaking to a billionaire who was talking about data portability as one of his big future trend beliefs, because Cambridge Analytica Scandal, you know, you’re giving your data to all these social media platforms, I think there is a lack of trust that your data is secure and safe. GDPR coming in, and they’ve been tied to regulations around the security of your data. The new social media platforms and online platforms that allow you to own your data, and port your data from platform to platform, I believe, it could be something that could be huge.
Because at the moment, your exchange for getting free content and usability on social media platform. Platform is, of course, (1), being fed ads. But (2), you’re giving your data, which they analyse. Some of them have shared and leaked, et cetera. But I think data portability, and platforms, and social media offering you services, but you still own and retain your, and your follower and fan data. I think that could be huge.
- Climate and planetary and humanitarian business opportunities
I was talking to 2 billionaires this year, who said that the world’s greatest problems of climate and planetary and humanitarian are also the entrepreneur’s greatest opportunities.
Plastics. I was talking to someone yesterday whose business model, is, he has puba hats for pets. But they decompose really quickly. If you think about obviously how the plastics are killing the oceans. A lot of people see humanitarian and planetary, and then entrepreneurship and business as separate. But a lot of these billionaires I’m talking to, are saying that actually they’re the entrepreneur’s greatest opportunities.
If you can change the world, save the planet, make a difference, ethically and in a humanitarian way, and create a business opportunity around it, you could go huge. I think there are real business opportunities around that. I haven’t got one myself yet. But I am looking.
- Premium content
You may have seen me push, and promote, and be given the Supporters Programme by Facebook, which is premium content. You know, Netflix has changed the game with premium content. Obviously, now, the stars feature that you can all us, well, most of you can use. Some of you know about it. Many of you still don’t, because it’s new.
Essentially, you’re getting paid for better quality content. Premium early, or new, or different, or unique, or better, or for a closed community, or inclusive, these are all premium based content models, which I’m really seeing a trajectory and a trend towards that. Patreon has got huge. There are bits that you get given on Twitch. Reddit you’re given essentially currency based on the users desire to support you. But also, linked to their belief around the quality of your content.
What a lot of people have been doing on my livestreams is giving me stars based on the quality of my content. Some people called it, the gratitude cycles. People have thought a point or a video is really good, they’ll give me 200 stars, which gives me $2.00 or however many stars. I think the most stars I’ve got given was 6,400. And the least I’ve been given is 10. So, some people have given me a cent, and some people have given me $64.00, and that’s the range that has been so far based on.
It’s like real-time feedback. If you can give me real-time feedback in some kind of monetary from, that was good content. And if I don’t get any stars or currency for the different platform, then that might tell me, hmm, that’s maybe not the ideal content that my followers want. I’m getting real-time feedback. You’re teaching me in real-time. It’s almost like, AI learning in real-time. But from you to me, to me to you, to you to me. This virtuous cycle of feedback.
I reckon a lot of the platforms are going to follow. You can imagine Instagram doing it. LinkedIn doing it. I mean, LinkedIn gave live functionality in 2018/19 as a reaction to their version of what Facebook do. You can do on YouTube. I think can you get donations on YouTube? I’m pretty sure you can. This is not new, but it has becoming way more widely used by a lot of the big social media platforms.
I think they’re going to compete with each other. I think they’re going to create their own currencies. Like Facebook stars is basically currency for Facebook. They’re maybe going to become like banks, like ecommerce exchange. Because if you think about it, Instagram and WhatsApp, which is own by Facebook to Facebook. Then YouTube, which is owned by Google. So, Google YouTube. Then Amazon. They all want you on their platform as long as possible, because they can generate, increase ad revenue.
Basically, the amount of users and time on their site helps their reach. Probably helps with their ongoing revenue, and the targets they have for their shareholders. More people to advertise to, to sell premium products and services, to new add-on products and services. So, it’s all about data and eyeballs. So, if they can game you, I mean, this Stars Programme is almost like gamification, if you think about it, because I will get a small amount of money. I’ll get paid for my content.
But I can give supporter shout-outs. I can do supporters’ leaderboards. Sorry, Facebook Star give the shout-outs. Facebook Star give the leaderboards. So, the people who give me the more stars, I can give you more benefits. And so, yeah, it’s quite an exciting time for premium content. I’ve got something about currency and mobile payments coming later. So, I think that’s going to grow a lot in 2020.
Despite all these predictions for machine learning, AI, internet of things, voice command, online, robotic, et cetera. I think there’s also an anti-movement of that, whereby people crave more than anything human connection. It can be online in communities.
My Supporters Programme is very much an online premium content model through Facebook. We have 2,300 people. It’s like we’ve created an even deeper more connected community of real people. What we often do, is, have meet-ups. We get to know each other. We connect on a deeper level. You know, people who give me stars, and they’ve been supporter from the start, and they show their loyalty, I’m able to do more for I get to know. You get to know me. We build this social connection.
I think that’s going to be as well as an increase in AR, robotics and machine learning, and all these other things, I think it’s also going to be an increase in the need for human connection. Because humans are still humans. I’m certainly seeing that. Many of the people who give me the stars, for example, they are my most loyal fans. They figured it out early, because they follow me and I shared it early. They want to give back, because they’ve given 5 years’ worth of content from me every day for free with virtually no selling when you think about it. Maybe, one in very 50 posts to selling. So, you build this connection and this goodwill so that people want to support you.
I’ve never really use supporter, and stars, and Patreon like most people do. Most people use them to say, hey, I’m a videographer. I’m an artist. I’m a podcaster. I really need to raise some money to get better equipment, to be able to grow my business through my art. Please could you support me. Please could you donate to me. That’s what these fan funding platforms. I mean, if you think about it, it’s called Supporter. So, that’s what they’re initially designed for.
But I don’t have the need to do that, because I can self-fund. So, I try to create value and make it more entrepreneurial, and create a marketplace and a fair exchange, whereby I give you benefits, and features, and bonuses, and shout-outs, and meet-ups, and discounts. I give you content that is exclusive and first, in order to create what I perceive to be fair exchange to get 200 stars or 3.49 month or whatever.
And what that is doing, is creating a deeper level of connection, because we know each other better. And I’m finding the more loyal followers I’ve had over the years, the more they’re embracing the Supporters Programme and the stars feature. And they see the benefit to do that. I mean, there are some people that give me stars every single video. But had I not created the human connection, and have dinners with them, and supporters meet-ups, and give them the big discounts to the events I go and speak at, and have lunch with them before. We all meet and hang out afterwards. Had I not done that, then we wouldn’t have the online connection.
I believe online and face-to-face connection a kind of they dovetail, and they work hand in hand. They’re symbiotic. They’re not exclusive or separate, which I think a lot of people are predicting. And I would anti-predict that.
- Positive economy
A bit more positivity in the economy, which I think is great. Usually in the last few years when you’ve predicted the property market or the economy has been a bit of bearish view. But because Brexit is hopefully, finally freaking over, and because we’ve actually got someone who go in and make decisions now, I’m not political, but I think, we all agree that that’s kind of happened, we saw an initial big spike in the stock market, in the strength of the pound. I think we’re going to have some good positivity. Finally, we can do business. Finally, we can start trading abroad. We can figure out how we are going to be having trade relation with Europe, now that we’re coming out. This is going to happen overly more quickly. Because it’s often not about what happens. It’s about how we feel about what’s happening.
George Soros has a word for it, reflexivity, which is, it’s not the actuality and the reality of what’s happening. It’s how we feel about what’s happening, i.e., our emotions, fear, greed, confidence. And that creates the market. So, that’s everyone’s finally thinking we can crack on. They’re a bit more confident. They’re a bit more positive. Therefore, the stock market goes up. Therefore, the pound goes up.
Of course, it’s not going to go up, and up, and up, and up, and up, and up, and up, and up, and up forever. And sentiment is going to change. But hopefully, the economy, the property market, business in general, trade between us all, hopefully, we’re going to have a good few months, maybe a year or more of positivity. And I’ve certainly seen that. I’ve seen a lot of big business owners who are like, if Labour are in, I’m immigrating. I’m literally leaving the country. I heard a lot of multimillionaires and billionaires were like, they’ve had enough.
They’re like, right, we can crack on. So, it’s going to be nice to see that. I don’t know how long that’s going to last. And I never make predictions on what’s going to happen in the property market. All right, at least I don’t have to say when it’s going to happen. But hopefully, we can ride on this crest of this wave for a little while. Hopefully, for the whole year, we’ll see.
Towards the end of the year, that might burn off, because property prices are quite high. A lot of asset prices are quite high. Like, car prices have been really high. Watch prices have been really high. I feel like they need to drop. And that’s going to happen at some point. It might be beyond 2020. Who knows?
- Cryptocurrency and mobile payment evolution
Currency and mobile payments, and the evolution, and the progression of this. I made some predictions in money that things like AI and machine learning and internet things, and cryptocurrency, you know, that would start to become huge. It’s probably could happen a little slower than I would have thought. But it often does. It often takes longer, even though it’s happening already. We need to get used to it. It needs to be moved beyond the adopter stage.
I just think we’re going to have a continuation of that. Essentially, the Facebook stars feature is Facebook’s currency. So, you could call it their cryptocurrency. You buy stars on Facebook. You give stars to me. Facebook have a little margin. Then there’s a currency exchange.
I’m one of the only 20 people in the world that has this ability to receive stars. There’s only 20 of us in the world that you can give stars to. But in the future, you can see, you’re going to be buying houses on Facebook. You know, you’re going to be making bids, and doing auction on Facebook. You’re going to be selling your possessions on Facebook like you do on eBay. If you think about it, PayPal was a version of their own way of exchanging currency. It was a mobile payment provider, which got more simple. You could just pay with an email address.
I know someone, Steve Smith who founded Poundland. He’s investing into mobile payment providers. And if you think about it now, you can take your card, and you can tap it, and you can pay. You can take your phone, and you can tap it, and you can pay. I think this is going to continue. There’s going to be less friction with payments. If you think about it, the lower the friction, the higher the speed of transaction that you can have online, the more the providers and the gateways are going to earn, the easier and the quicker it is for you to do business.
Facebook wanting you sell all your stuff on Facebook, and not on eBay. They want you paying through stars, not through pounds, or not through bits, or to through other currencies, other cryptos. And I just think that this is going to continue to build momentum. And for you in business, the easier you make it for your customers to pay you, the more you’ll make, the quicker you’ll make it.
Do you remember the days when you had a website? Maybe, you had a sales page. It would take 5 or 10, or 15 seconds to load. Well, 15 years ago, we might put up with dial-up. We weren’t anymore. So, people will leave. They will immediately leave you, if it is hard to pay you.
That can be of course, just from your benefits and the features of your product not being very good or very clear, or you’re just not being seen. You’ve got to be out there. You’ve got to be seen. But you need to be able to take money really quick.
I’ve noticed on Facebook Ads, if we don’t phone a lead from a Facebook Ads within 10 minutes, the likelihood of demands in the phone drops 80 percent. People are more impatient. They expect things quicker. They don’t want to queue. They don’t want to wait. They don’t want to wait online. They don’t want their Page to load. If they don’t have WIFI for 10 seconds, they turn into a vampire. And this is the modern world we’re in.
I think you really got to be on this. And yeah, someone has just asked Facebook currency. It is the stars feature. It’s the early movement of Facebook currency. And so, new currencies, and increased speed of payment, and mobile solutions, and the way to pay. In the future, you’re going to be paying via your hand or some kind of subcutaneous chip. That’s very likely to happen.
And of course, Matt has just said, scammers will love these payments. Yeah, absolutely. So, scammers, and difficulty, and security, that is also increased. That is the nature of it. It is the wild west. You can’t have the upside without the downside. For example, it got easier to Rob Moore, when steel created rail, because then they could rob the train. Then they could go quicker from place to place to rob the towns and the villages. So, yeah, your security has got to be stronger and more vigilant. That is also a good point.
- Cutting out the middleman
7th of the 12 trends is cutting out the middleman. Business over the years has had a lot of middleman, and a lot of people taking a slice. If you think about it, selling your property online and cutting out the estate agent, that’s been a big thing. Wealth Managers and cutting them out, and managing your own wealth, and getting better education, that’s been a big thing. I think that’s going to continue.
We are so much more savvy now how business is done, how people act, how companies perform, what they do with their money, their responsibility, their ethics. I just think, if you can go straight to the consumer, and cut out the middleman, and therefore, give parts of the saving onto the consumer, you’re going to grow. You’re going to make more profit, and they’re going to get a better service.
Do you remember when there used to be late fees for DVDs that you return? And I know it’s not quite the middleman, but it’s just unnecessary. A bloated fee that people don’t like paying. So, you cut out all the middleman. You cut out all the fees. You can give a better price, a better service, and you can make more margin. I think that’s going to continue to grow.
By the way, some of these are the things that I am predicting myself. There are suggestions. Don’t bank your whole house on it. But also, these are discussions I’ve had with millionaires, billionaires, people who are right at the top of their trends, and their business models. I’m sharing with you, the experience of a lot of people, not just myself.
- Profit over growth
I think now people get pissed off with the big companies setting up in like Ireland, or companies where they can basically turn over billions and make billions in profit, and not pay any tax. I think there are a lot more companies are getting savvy to reducing their carbon footprint. I saw Audi’s advert for their e-tron electric cars. And they’re committing to reduce their carbon footprint by 30 percent.
We’re certainly embracing more the humanitarian and sustainability side of business. We’ve got rid of drinking from plastic bottles. My wife has an electric Range Rover. I have an electric Porsche Panamera Turbo S. We’re trying to eat less meat. We’re not going vegan yet, by the way. I’m just saying. But we’re trying to eat less meat.
I must admit in the early years, I was like, okay, this is a nice to have, but it’s not a necessity for business. But I think it’s a massive movement. I think your business is going to get better exposure. It’s going to be good for your marketing. You’re going to get better clients. You’re going to get a different type of client. If you think in a more profit over growth, and ethics, and sustainability, and humanity overscale. If you think about it, there used to, I mean, there are still a lot of big corporations.
But in the 80s and 90s, it’s always used to be about the corporation. I think we’re almost like at the edge in the rise of the entrepreneur. The entrepreneurs can be more agile. We can react quicker to the customer’s needs. I think ethics are really important in business now. And I think it is a selling point. It’s not like you should need it for a selling point. But how you look after your customers. How you look after their data. How you look after your employees. And we’re going to come to that in a moment.
We grew 30 percent last year. That was my target. But we didn’t necessarily make more profit. And so, this year, I’m certainly going to have a profit over growth mentality, and sort of growth at all cost. The entrepreneurs are always like scale, scale, scale, scale. Well, you know what? I’m not sure that’s the main driver in today’s 2020 world of business.
- Social media
Social media, Facebook, Instagram for sure, stories are going to get much more prevalence. They’re going to be pushed more. They are going to dominate your feed more.
A couple of years ago, you’d have noticed when you scrolled, that in your feed, there was a lot more posts in groups. Say, 2018/19, Facebook made a commitment to put more group post in your feed, because groups were more personal than pages. And if you think 10 years ago, it was only really your friends that were in your feed, that dominated your feed. Then 5 years ago, it was pages that dominated your feed. And then maybe, 3 years ago, it’s ads that dominated your feed. It’s likely to be stories that’s going to dominate your feed in Instagram, in Facebook, and maybe others will follow suit. Because stories are more personal. It’s another way for Facebook and Instagram and other platforms to evolve, to look and feel of their platform to keep you engaged.
Ultimately, another way to start running ads, they’re not going to tell you that. But let’s be honest, they’ve got shareholder value and growth targets to meet. So, stories are not really as easy for me as livestreams and normal post. But I tried to post more stories. I tried to embrace that feature more. They’re going to run ads on stories, I believe next year. I’ve heard this from very high up in Facebook, by the way, basically from someone who knows the Vice-President of Marketing in Facebook. So, this is very much likely happening. Start posting on your stories more. Start figuring out stories more. I think it will really benefit you.
- The evolution of voice
10 is voice recognition. Obviously, there’s Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. And more and more people are using voice. I think there are 2 things. One is the voice technology is going to be better and become more ubiquitous. You’re going to walk into house, and you’re going to say, turn the TV on. Turn the lights on. I remember seeing that. I think, was it in Terminator 2, or was it in Robocop? It might be Robocop. I love Robocop, man. This is like what? Early 1980s, and of course, there was homes that had all the home automation. And you went in, and you voice operated your lighting, and your music, and your security, and your curtains, and your heating, and everything.
That’s going to happen in a more common way. You’re going to use Siri or Alexa or your voice of choice, you’re going to operate your heating, your lighting, your security. You’re going to be able to operate your electric blanket, your car. You’re going to warm up your cars in advance.
I know this is really sap, but one of my favourite things for 2019 was the electric blanket, which she can operate her temperature, and he can operate his temperature. But I was also like, ah, I have to go up there and turn it on in advance as to going to bed. Wouldn’t it be great, if there’s an app. But apparently there are electric blankets with apps that you can turn them on, or time them 20 minutes early. I can time my car to heat up at 5:15. So, I get in at 5:30. It’s all warmed up for me, oh man. What have we become. What Have We Become!!
But you can search in my podcast on Alexa and on Siri. You can operate your music when you’re on the run from Siri. Siri can give you instructions for pretty much everything as can Alexa. And that is going to continue. As a business owner, you want to make sure that you’re searchable on voice. You’re going to want your own voice identity. Your voice brand. You know, when you think of McDonald’s or you think of Intel, you can hear that little jingle. Well, that is there voice brand. You’re going to need your voice brand to get voice recognition. This is going to be huge for 2020 and beyond, I really believe.
- The gig economy
The gig economy, short-term contracts, more remote working, more transient labour force, I believe that’s going to continue. At the same time though, I believe that a culture and a team, is, also going to become important. Employee happiness and engagement and culture is the knock-on importance of the gig economy.
If people are working more remotely, if they’re working more short-term contracts, if there’s more flexibility, if they want time and location freedom, and that is a movement, great. And that’s going to become, I think, more prevalent. If you want to grow a team and retain a staff, you’re got to now look after them, and their happiness, and their culture. Creating a workplace that they want to be in and their benefits, and what you do for them, and sort of your focus on caring for them has got to be humanised or humanitarian workplace has got to be equally as important as you’re doing that your customers and your clients, and your own online perception of your brand.
- The digital agency
And then finally, in terms of the 12 biggest trends for 2020 for entrepreneurs, is, social media consultancy, the digital agency. The social media consultant, the digital agency, the videographer, the editor, these people are now really highly sought after. They’re the new trades. If you think about carpentry, joinery, construction builders, bricklayers, they were all the trades, weren’t they, 30, 40, whatever years ago. The new trades are the social media consultant, the YouTube marketer, the digital agency, the videographer, the editor, the audio editor, the podcaster, because this is the new media, and these are the new currency, these are the new jobs that are being created.
This could be big for you. This could be who you could be employing, or this could be your new business opportunity for 2020. My Progressive companies have evolved into digital agency. We have 120 podcast clients. We have 20 odd social media clients. We’d just in beta testing phase of that at the moment. We have book publishing services. We have audiobook publishing services. We have studios. We are a media agency now. We have videographers. We probably have 5 or 6 videographers, editors, designers that we didn’t have 10 years ago when we were in property training.
I had a small sort of part-time studio in one of my spare rooms upstairs. But I’m getting a proper studio built in my house. I had a proper studio built in the office. This world is changing. Business is changing. And if you’re on this early trend for this year, for 2020, you’re going to be big. This is exciting times for you. When change happens, many people lose out. But the winners win big. In the survival of the fittest, it is not those who are the strongest, but those most adaptable to change.
The Disruptive Entrepreneur, double world record holder, business of the year winner 2016, 8x best- selling author including ‘Life Leverage’, property investor, pilot & proud parent
Over 1 million subscribers in 184 countries worldwide
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Research exposes the £68.8 billion opportunity for UK retailers
- Modelling shows increasing the proportion of online sales by 5 percentage points would have significantly boosted retailers’ revenues during the first lockdown
- 72% of Brits want retailers who started an online service during the pandemic to continue operating it full time
New data released today by global payments platform Adyen, outlines the economic gains that could be accessed by getting more UK retailers online.
Economic modelling conducted by Cebr for Adyen indicates that if the retail sector increased the proportion of turnover stemming from online channels by 5 percentage points, £68.8 billion would have been added to the economy during the first lockdown.
While retail turnover stemming from online sales has grown significantly during 2020 – from 19% to 28%, there is still considerable room for growth.
Myles Dawson, UK Managing Director of Adyen comments: “The UK retail sector is facing an incredibly tough quarter, so creating the link between physical stores and online channels is more important than ever. With the festive period approaching and many shoppers unable, or uncomfortable leaving their homes, establishing and maintaining a positive online experience is a billion-pound opportunity for retailers.”
The research of 2,000 UK consumers found that 31% are less likely to shop in physical stores now because of positive experiences shopping online during the pandemic. Furthermore, 72% of these consumers want retailers who started an online service during the pandemic to continue operating it in the long term.
However, making the process of shopping online as frictionless as possible will be key to unlocking the opportunity presented by online channels. 70% of Brits say that when shopping online, the ease of use is as important as the quality of the product, and 72% won’t shop with a retailer whose website or app is difficult to navigate.
Myles Dawson concludes: “Many retailers did amazing things during the pandemic in terms of adapting and creating new experiences – it’s a testimony to their agility that 57% of Brits said their expectations of the retail sector has improved during the pandemic. The challenge now is to consistently meet these expectations going forward. With local lockdowns in place, online channels will be key to serving many consumers in the short term. However, retailers need to see the shift to unified commerce as a long-term trend. The sooner they can demonstrate agility and jump on board, the longer they’ll reap the rewards.”
2 Research conducted by Opinium Research LLP
Want to serve your customers better? An effective online strategy is what financial institutions need
By Anna Willems, Marketing Director, Mention
A strong online presence matters.
Having a strong online presence, that involves social media is now a crucial part of all business strategies. Whether they are retail brands, sports teams, libraries or even restaurants, most companies are investing more and more in developing their digital brand image and online presence – financial institutions are no exception.
When it comes to market trends and innovation, financial institutions are first on the line. After all, we — people and companies — trust them to manage our money to the best of their abilities. And even more so than any other market, we demand secure, trustworthy, fast and user-friendly services.
Reaching such high expectations is not a given. To this point, banks and other financial institutions have no other choice but to have a perfect understanding of their market, their audience, and their needs. What they need to get there is a fail-proof online strategy.
Gaining a deep understanding of your market
One of the best things about using social media to learn about your audience is that people give unsolicited opinions. They speak their mind and share their thoughts candidly.
This is the key to help any business to learn about themselves. They get to analyze their audience’s challenges and aspirations without having to ask them directly or serve them time-consuming surveys and polls.
UK-based Asto, a company that is part of the Santander Group, is committed to helping small businesses have access to financial and non-financial tools. Asto was looking for something that could help them discover what their target audience was talking about and find opportunities to add to the conversation. Mention enabled Asto to keep on top of reviews and customer comments, which has helped us provide a better service for our customers.
Which platform suits your offering the best?
There’s no point choosing to create campaigns on TikTok if your customers don’t use it – you need to think about who they are and work back from there.
You do this by automating the process using a social listening tool. A social listening tool will help you to view your market as a whole and identify where the key conversations are happening — and, therefore, where you should be. What’s more, you will never miss any relevant mention of your institutions, products, services, or competitors.
Handling a crisis
Financial institutions need to watch carefully for negative press – social media is the first place people will go to if they feel they’re not getting the service they need. In theory, rogue employees or unhappy clients can post anything they like online to try and hurt your brand. And if their messages gain traction, you’ve gone from one person saying bad things, to thousands.
That’s why listening needs to be part of any crisis management plan. Now, sometimes, there are crises you cannot prevent. And those usually hit pretty hard.
Power of influencers
For an influencer marketing campaign to work for your financial institution, partnering with nano content creators may well be the best way to go. They’re ability to play a part in how they shape your brand story can make a huge difference when it comes to engagement and reason to believe in your service.
Many financial institutions are already leveraging influencer marketing. It’s an efficient strategy to: Build trust and gain credibility, reach out to new audiences and share engaging stories.
The online review conundrum
94% of consumers check online reviews before they decide to buy something or subscribe to a service. They need what we call social proof. It says that the more people say they use your service, the more it will look like a good service. In short, you need to show how happy people are using your service. But not all online reviews are positive.
Having said that, we find that financial institutions shouldn’t ignore negative reviews. Instead, embrace them as an opportunity to rebuild trust in your brand. Less delicately put, take the bull by the horns and turn them to your advantage. Always respond to relevant complaints (and as fast as possible). Take responsibility for what happened. Be helpful.
And ignore trolls.
Learn from the competition
Over the last two decades, a marketer’s daily life has greatly evolved. Most importantly, we now can measure everything we do, including the consequences of our actions on our business. Having said that, you can’t evaluate how well you’re doing without comparing against
Truth is that 77% of businesses rely on listening to keep an eye on their competitors. What this means is that 4 in 5 of your direct competitors are likely watching each and every single step you take. And you should do the same.
Setting the trend
From staying up to date with the latest industry trends and innovations, to keeping an eye on the competitors’ newest services, to being the first to know of potential brand crises – tracking relevant online conversations lets marketing and communication professionals working for financial institutions to stay one step ahead in an industry that is leading change and innovation.
Why the Boom is Long Overdue (and Here to Stay)
By Roger James Hamilton, CEO, Genius Group
Virtually every aspect of our lives has been taken over by tech, so why is it that our schools, that are educating the business leaders of tomorrow, are still operating in much the same format as they did 100 years ago?
The global pandemic put digital learning in the spotlight and an Edtech boom has ensued, with companies like Coursera, Quizlet and Udemy seeing unicorn style growth. And the market is not slowing down. The education technology (Edtech) boom will continue.
Resilience and Growth
Unicorns are defined by rapid growth. Traditionally, these companies are not overly concerned with early profitability, long-term sustainability or value creation as much as with putting their competitors out of business.
But something different is going on in the Edtech market. The unicorn has lost its appeal. When learning platform Quizlet achieved unicorn status this year, CEO Matthew Glotzbach was keen to play down the moniker reserved for start-ups valued at $1 billion or more, preferring to liken his company to a camel.
Unlike unicorns, camels are real, hardworking beasts. Respected for their adaptability to various climates, resilience, and abilities to survive for long periods without sustenance. These are all traits much better suited to weather the economic storms created by the pandemic.
Despite their considerable abilities to adapt to challenging conditions, the climate is looking particularly sunny for camels within the Edtech market. In fact, all creatures great and small have the potential to capitalise on unprecedented growth in this sector.
The nature of education makes it a traditionally slow-moving area, which renders it unattractive to some investors. Yet, the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent surge in remote learning this year triggered a flurry of uptake in e-learning platforms.
We’ve seen the adoption rate for new technologies be accelerated by events like this before. For example, the SARS crisis of 2003 contributed to the boom in China’s ecommerce industry, as quarantines lead consumers to shop online. Of course, this market trend did not slow down once quarantine restrictions were lifted. Ever since, global online sales have risen exponentially. The same is set to happen in the Edtech market.
Providing a Solution
As with ecommerce in 2003, the demand for Edtech in 2020 was already there. It has been there for years. For the past decade at least, there has been a notable need in recruitment for qualified talent in data science, coding and digital. Edtech can bridge the skills gap, not only within formal education but also for adult learners upskilling and reskilling for today’s digital world.
Similarly, the financial crash of 2008 had the effect of fast-tracking the rise of the gig economy, requiring millions more to learn entrepreneurial skills. The idea of a job for life is now a distant memory. The Edtech sector can deliver the tools to equip students of all ages with the skills necessary for creating their own opportunities, as well as exchanging knowledge and collaborating in a digital economy.
Rising unemployment, as well as competition for jobs and government furlough schemes has seen interest in digital learning courses for adults also soar during the past few months. Figures show that the corporate e-learning market is set to increase by as much as $3.09 billion between 2020 and 2024.
The Edtech boom kickstarted by the pandemic is just the beginning in a paradigm shift in how we view education and work.
Over the next 10 years, with the rise of artificial intelligence, automated technology, and augmented reality, traditional, manual and customer service based roles will diminish and there will be less need for a large workforce when computers and machines can do the role equally well.
The need for a truly 21st century education system that reflects the needs of the job market is long overdue. Edtech companies are offering solutions to many of these issues that have troubled the economy for the past decade or more.
A Different Animal
Enter the zebra (back to our animal analogies). These types of Edtech businesses will be the ones to watch within the sector. With zebra companies, there’s a sense of community and collaboration, rather than competition. They understand that there’s room for more than one superstar in a market. Zebras are herd animals after all. The zebra believes that competition is healthy for everyone involved—something to watch and use for motivation and growth. It closely observes consumer trends and continually strives to solve new and developing problems for those consumers.
For zebra companies, profit margin is vital because it is necessary for steady growth and sustainability. Revenues hover between $5M and $50M, it serves customers within a specific niche, requires annual growth capital of $100K to $1M, and generally has more than four streams of revenue.
Zebras are both black with white stripes and white with black stripes – they have a fluidity in their approach and are camouflaged at the same time. This creates a double bottom line: Zebras want to conduct real business, by solving a pressing problem in a sustainable way, whilst reacting to contemporary challenges. This too could be said of the Edtech industry as a whole.
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