8 business trends for 2018 — and beyond
As the calendar rolls over into 2018, we’re looking into the crystal ball at business trends that will shape the upcoming year — and years to come.
Community engagement over social media interaction
Despite the proliferation of smartphones and connected devices, companies are recognizing that social media and virtual connections cannot replace the value of live, in-person interaction with their customers, or the communities they’ve created.
Smart companies will recognize that social media and technology can enhance the value, and effectiveness, of face-to-face interactions, making them even more meaningful.
Generation Z making waves in the talent pool
Generation Z — those born after 1998 — reaching an age where they’re entering the workforce, and their influence on business is starting to be felt. Estimated at nearly 70 million strong, the upper reaches of this group are into college or joining the workforce, and will soon outnumber their Millennial predecessors.
This influx in the newest generation of adults will require companies to quickly understand — and adapt — to them, not only as consumers, but also as employees.
Live streaming video is becoming mainstream
Having been steadily developed and improved over the last several years, live streaming video is now poised to become a powerful tool for businesses in the years to come. It offers a chance to create a “live” component to business, giving customers access and visibility to real people and real environments in real-time, regardless of location.
Research from Livestream shows that 80% of audiences would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog post, and 82% prefer live video from a brand over social media posts.
Buzzword bingo will remain a popular game
Virtual Reality (VR), Internet-of-Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Augmented Reality (AR) — the buzzword list goes on and on. But behind these buzzwords and acronyms are real, tangible technologies that have the potential to significantly impact businesses. Smart companies will begin to see through the hype, and recognize how these technologies can directly impact their businesses, such as improvements to network and device security with printers that can identify, prevent, and heal from attacks.
On-demand services meet automation
On-demand services have been a staple of the B2C market for the past several years, and they’re beginning to make their way into the B2B space. From recurring delivery of cleaning supplies to printers that automatically reorder in when they run low, on-demand services will continue their integration and adoption in the B2B space.
The war for talent
As the economy continues to grow and evolve, recruiting and retention will continue to be a critical focus area for businesses. The growth of the gig economy continues to be a force to be reckoned with. MBO Partners predicts that by 2027, 60% of the U.S. workforce will be part of the gig economy, and a ManpowerGroup survey found that 94% of respondents are open to the idea of working independently.
As these trends continue to evolve, so must the approach to recruiting, hiring, and retaining top talent.
Putting the security in data security
We’ve all seen the news and heard the reports. Large, well-known corporations have been hacked. Customer data has been compromised. And each one seems to be worse than the last. In the year — and years — to come, smart companies will focus not only on data security, but also network security, physical security, and even device security.
Communication is key
With customers. With employees. With suppliers. With everyone. The pace of business in 2018 and beyond will be faster than ever. And it will take careful, purposeful, and thoughtful communication at all levels to keep it running that way. It is said that silence speaks louder than words, but communication is key to prevent misunderstandings, or misinterpretations. And in an age where perception is reality, effective communication is critical.