As the new year begins, a lot of people are hoping for a fresh start. Business owners especially are looking for new ways to boost sales and drive growth in a constantly shifting market. Certain new technologies and techniques have emerged as standout innovations. Here are a few powerful new trends that appear poised to help companies thrive in 2022.
The last few years have seen an explosion in the number and variety of digital tools available to help run companies more efficiently. One of the more well-known is customer relationship management (CRM) software, which is used in outreach to consumers, but this is by no means the limit. Internal organization tools such as digital timesheets and sales force management systems are also proving to be time-savers. With so much commerce being done online, order management system programs are helping to integrate the complicated processes of e-commerce. Shop around and see what automation can do for you.
Improved Customer Service
An automated tool that’s gotten a lot of use recently has been chatbots. These programs leverage advancements in natural language processing (NLP) to answer customer queries. That can certainly save resources, but be wary: A recent study showed that 71% of customers would be less likely to choose a company if the option of speaking to a human wasn’t available. Customers overwhelmingly prefer to talk to a live operator, especially if it takes the form of live chat. With many people burned out on disconnection, that human touch could be just the distinction your business needs to stand out.
Better Market Research Research
Too many business owners miss the boat when it comes to cultural trends that evolve into lucrative markets. Good marketing research involves both a qualitative and quantitative approach. The former usually amounts to informal feedback surveys and looking through the comments section of a company’s social media page. Quantitative research is harder to do, but very necessary. This involves targeted surveys and doing a deep dive into consumer demographics.
Here’s another area where digital tools can make a difference. AI-based algorithms can analyze a vast number of consumer data points and use this information to deduce customer behavior. The best news is that it stands to be far cheaper than traditional research methods since a normal report can cost upwards of $35,000. Keep an eye on this brand-new field. As computers grow in complexity, these algorithms will become more accurate.
Effective Social Media Outreach
These days, a social media presence is practically necessary, but business owners still tend to make easy mistakes when branding themselves in this space. One of the first errors is a lack of consistency. Updating posts on a dependable basis and keeping them relevant is critical to building a reputation for reliability. Additionally, look to science-based design methods to help build your brand iconography and make your web pages memorable.
It might also be time to consider influencer marketing. According to Nielsen’s research, 92% of consumers trust the word of family and friends regarding a brand, compared to the paltry 36% who trust sponsored social media ads. Influencers bridge that gap by building trust over time with their niche audience. Simply put, partnering with influencers in your industry is an organic way of earning a positive reputation by association.
A Cohesive Vision
The most important part of having a business is having a strong notion of what its mission is beyond making money. This goes well beyond your basic business plan, and it’s a level of authenticity that’s being demanded by consumers. Back in 2017, surveys found that 86% of respondents considered authenticity a key factor in choosing a brand. This type of legitimacy comes in many forms. A dedication to philanthropy and a commitment to sustainable practices are popular for good reason. In whatever way you choose to showcase your vision, keeping it real might be the most effective trend in business this year.
There’s no one right way to grow a company. These tips are only the tip of the iceberg, so do your research and stay up to date on all the quickly evolving tools out there for scaling your business.