Monday, 25 november 2019 | Redacción CEU
Venturing to predict what will happen in the next years in a digital, global and changeable scenario like the current one may be considered a risky activity. This is the reason why whenever we talk about what will happen in the future, we try to do so with moderation. New disruptive breakthroughs may appear at any time, as it happened with cellphones and the Internet years ago, and they might change not only our business models, but our way of life as well. Nevertheless, there are certain global dynamics, many of them driven by consumers themselves, which influence the business world’s activity, and it is difficult for them to change overnight. What are these trends?
Trends are the reflection of an inclination or a propensity of a large group towards a particular aspect. They have the particular feature of being always preceded by a change, whether in a behavior, an approach, an attitude or the use of a new element. Regardless of the magnitude of the change they bring about, when they affect a significant number of people, they end up having a reflection in the society and, consequently, in the market. Companies should know how to identify these changes and be permeable to them in order to prosper. Those firms who are left behind will be more likely to fail.
Consumers do not want to be seen as a homogeneous mass. They increasingly value personalized products and services. They are also tired of an excessive exposure to advertising and a unidirectional and cold business-client relationship. Thus, they now demand a customized offer and customer care. What in principle might seem a fantasy is now completely possible thanks to the new digital context. Companies can show personalized ads, offer an open and instant communication channel, obtain huge amounts of information about the interests and behaviors of their different customers, design products completely adapted to customers preferences, etc. The complexity lies in how to take advantage of what they now have, and what they would have thanks to the boost of the new disruptive advances, without falling into an abusive use of data or intrusive communication.
Nowadays, most people cannot even stay away from their cellphones for a few hours. Not only are these devices useful for keeping us always located and communicated, but they also enable us to be connected permanently making it possible to perform a large number of new tasks. Our neuralgic centers are now smartphones, but, as time goes by, we will have more and more devices which are connected to the Network. The Internet of Things promises a future completely connected and integrated. Therefore, companies will have to change their approach. They will have to be able to develop omnichannel and comprehensive strategies. On top of that, they will have to look for technological solutions that meet the high expectations of customers.
The youngest generations (millennials and centennials) are increasingly worried about the things that surround them. One of their main concerns is the impact that brands have on the environment, especially in relation to the environmental care and the ethical approach. Tomorrow’s customers will probably share many traits with these young people. Therefore, it is expected that they will be intelligent, demanding and committed clients who, among other things, demand greater transparency and responsibility from firms. The companies that want to be prepared for the future should work in this sense, by showing a careful interest not only in what their ethical codes say, but in how their values are put into practice.
Consumers have become accustomed to brands working on making their day-to-day life easier. This that does not mean that customers are tired and always keep a passive role. Current consumers are more prepared than ever and are really active: they look for information, compare prices, make reviews, etc. In turn, they expect brands to listen to them, interact with them and participate in their initiatives. This empowerment of consumers can also be observed in the emergence of a new phenomenon of service exchange that is part of what is known as collaborative economy. Consequently, companies have to keep in mind that the future is digital, and digital also means interactive.
Social networks have become the new gathering spaces. Companies will not find in them great sales platform, but they will be very useful to understand how customers interact and behave. Another aspect to keep in mind is that consumers increasingly trust applications, even when they have the goal of managing their personal finances (the rise of fintech companies is a proof of this). Likewise, people practice more activities in "remote mode": establishing relationships with people who they only know virtually, working at home, shopping on the Internet, etc. In short, current customers have a special ability to adapt quickly to changes, but are most companies prepared to respond so quickly to them? Will they be prepared to do so in the future?
The CEU IAM Business School offers an International MBA aimed at professionals who are interested in receiving special training on those aspects that are key in today's business world. This program focuses on developing the skills and offering the knowledge that leaders need to face a digital, changeable and global business scenario. If you are one of these professionals, do not hesitate to contact our business school!