Eight tell tale signs of a declining business.  

https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/Eight tell tale signs of a declining business.

Check out these Eight tell tale signs of a declining business.

If you’re still uncertain that Your business is in serious trouble, then pay attention to the following Eight telltale signs of a declining business

1. Low sales.

The first, and most obvious, sign that your business is sinking is low sales. This could either be lower than expected projections or a decrease in sales than the previous quarter. Your business can’t succeed without a steady income to pay all of your expenses.

https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/Eight tell tale signs of a declining business.

When you notice that there’s a sudden decrease in sales, you need to diagnose the problem. Begin by surveying your employees and customers, conducting a competitive analysis and examining the outside environment, like societal changes or natural disasters. 

This should give you a better understanding of why there’s a decline in sales and if there will be a turnaround. If it doesn’t seem likely the industry or your business can turn things around, then it’s rather clear that your business is in trouble.

2. You can’t remember the last time you spoke to a client.

Customer service reps aren’t the only ones talking to your customers. Even as a founder and CEO, it’s your responsibility to talk to your potential or existing customers to understand their needs and how to improve your business. It’s a trick that everyone from Sam Walton to Slack’s Stewart Butterfield have relied on.

It’s another troubling sign for your business if you can’t remember the last time that you spoke to a customer. Either you’re not actively engaging them or they just don’t have an interest in your products or services anymore.

3. No one is talking about your business.

This almost goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Something is wrong if no one is mentioning you on social media, leaving reviews or getting in touch with customer service reps. It’s either because you’re not interacting with your audience or they simply don’t care about your business.

Make an effort to reach out to your customers by asking them to leave reviews and boosting your engagement on social media. If there’s still silence, then that might not be enough to save your business. I personally blog about whatever it is that is trending, a lot, to attract people to my company. It helps!

4. You regularly question your motives.

We all have moments where we ask questions like “Why am I doing this?” or blurting out statements like “I can’t take this anymore.” That’s normal during the entrepreneurial journey. However, if that mentality is becoming more and more frequent than it’s time to move on from your business.

 

Eight telltale signs of a declining business.

5. There’s nothing unique about your business.

Your business needs to stand-out from your competitors. Take a moment and jot down all of the characteristics of your business, products and services, then compare it with the others within your industry. If you’re different from your top competitors, then you have a competitive edge you can use to your advantage.

https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/Eight tell tale signs of a declining business.

If not, you can be certain that your business won’t stand the test of time. Either find something that makes you unique or, find an industry where you can differentiate yourself.

6. Complacency.

Blockbuster is the poster child for business failures in recent history. The main reason that the company went kaput was it failed to acknowledge that its customers wanted something different. Instead of driving to their local Blockbuster and paying hefty late fees, people enjoyed having Netflix deliver or stream movies. Reportedly, Netflix executives offered a partnership with Blockbuster around 2000 but were laughed out of the office by Blockbuster execs.

In short, complacency was Blockbuster’s demise.

If you’re sitting there wondering why your business is in danger, ask yourself when was the last time that your business introduced something new into the market?

7. Employee turnover and hiring turnovers.

Sometimes your employees realize that there’s a problem before you do. Whether it’s as obvious as not getting paid, or subtler like no longer believing in your business or frustration with management, you need to get to the root cause of high employee turnover.

It costs more money to hire and train new employees than to retain the employees that you currently have. Things can get real tricky when you don’t have the budget to replace those employees. That means that you’re expecting your already frustrated and overworked staff to do more work for you. How much longer do you think they’ll put up with that? It’s a vicious cycle that can ultimately bury your business.

 

8. There are serious cash flow struggles.

Cash flow is the money that is coming in and out of your business. It’s generally accepted that if you want your business to survive it has to have a positive cash flow, which means that you’re bringing in enough money to manage all of your expenses.

If you’re having cash flow problems due to debts, poor bookkeeping, growing too quickly, and not accurately forecasting your future earning and spending, then there’s one of the most obvious warning signs that your company is going under. If not correctly dealt with, don’t expect to keep your business open very much longer.

Don’t let your business sink beneath the waves…..https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/Eight tell tale signs of a declining business.

So if this is where you are heading you will need a complete makeover. Starting with Marketing and then……

Contact us for a free one-hour consultation let us tell you how we have helped hundreds of business like yours on 3 continents.

Contact us Now.

Training Events

Please download a List of our Training Event from our website.

It is very detailed and gives a wealth of information.

Venue

All our Courses are held at K2 Bond Street. 44 Bond Street Hull. HU13EN.

The courses are to be subsidized by K2 who will provide the venue for under 25’s and    the selling price will be discounted by an amount shortly to be announced

Dr Freestone has registered a Charity called BASS Business and SoftSkills Limited. BASS have begun requesting Grant Funding to train under 25’sin business and soft skills to get You market ready

Course Supervision

All courses are held under the direct supervision of Dr Michael J Freestone

Dr Freestone began training professionally in April 2004 after a very long and diversified career with Anglo American and its associated companies, during which he wrote his proprietary range of 97 business and soft skill courses. He named the copyright company BASS, which stands for Business and Soft Skills, in remembrance of his Dad, Ray, who was an expert BASS fisherman. Doc, as he is commonly called, managed both small business in the £1 million to £79 million range and large-scale multinational…

Full Profile for Doc

Training Events

What’s Included?

  • Instruction by an expert facilitator
  • Small, interactive classes
  • Specialized manual and course materials, online and hardcopy.
  • Personalized certificate of completion
  • Get free products which are different with each course.

DownLoad our Training Brochure
For any Enquiries please contact us.

Contact Us.

Intermediate Project Management

https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/projectmanagement

Intermediate Project Management 1 day course; planning, execution & termination, brought to you by BASS Business and SoftSkills Limited a charity for educating under 25’s and jointly subsidized by Tradepark Limited and  K2 Bond Street, For Luxury Apartments and Serviced Offices in Central Hull

Project management isn’t just for construction engineers and military logistics experts anymore. Today, in addition to the regular duties of your job, you are often expected to take on extra assignments – and to get that additional job done well, done under budget, and done on time.

 This workshop is intended for those who understand the conceptual phase of a project’s life cycle, including setting goals, creating a vision statement, and creating the Statement of Work. This one-day workshop will take you through the remaining three stages: planning, execution, and termination

Overview of Course.

This one-day workshop will help you teach participants how to:

–       Identify their project’s tasks and resources

–       Order tasks using the Work Breakdown Structure

–       Schedule tasks effectively

–       Use basic planning tools such as a Gantt chart, PERT diagram, and network diagram

–       Prepare a project budget

–       Modify the project budget and schedule to meet targets

–       Identify and manage risks

–       Prepare a final project plan

–       Execute and terminate a project

–       Develop and manage a change control process

 This workshop is intended for participants who understand the conceptual phase of a project’s life cycle, including setting goals, creating a vision statement, and creating the Statement of Work.

Intermediate Project Management

 Introduction and Course Overview

You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

 What Really Needs To Be Done?

This session will look at identifying and listing tasks and resources.

 The Work Breakdown Structure

The Work Breakdown Structure, or WBS, is a key planning tool universally recognized by project management organizations. During this session, we will discuss what a WBS is and how to create one.

Scheduling

Now that we know what tasks need to be done and the approximate order, it is time to schedule the tasks. We will look at how to estimate time and some scheduling considerations during this session. We will also look at some planning tools, including the Gantt chart, milestone charts, and action planning worksheets.

Budgeting

The next step in planning the project is budgeting. Participants will learn about budgeting through a lecture, and then they will apply the knowledge to a case study.

 Project Risks

This session will examine what risks are and how we can identify and manage them.

Preparing the Final Plan

All of the planning that we have done today will come together to create the final project plan.

 Making it Fit

So you’ve got all your documents prepared and you’re ready to execute your project. And then you find out you need to get it done two weeks sooner… or $40,000 cheaper. During this session, we will look at ways to compress the project’s schedule and budget.

The Execution Phase

This session will look at some things you should do while executing your project, including status meetings and issues management.

https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/Intermediate Project ManagementControlling Changes

During the execution of the project, you need to have a process in place for managing changes. This session will outline a change control process that you can use on any project.

 Closing out a Project

During this session, we will discuss some things that should take place during the termination or close-out phase of a project.

 Workshop Wrap-Up

At the end of the day, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

How You Will Benefit:

  • Identify your project’s tasks and resources
  • Order tasks using the Work Breakdown Structure
  • Schedule tasks effectively
  • Use basic planning tools such as a Gantt chart, PERT diagram, and network diagram
  • Prepare a project budget
  • Modify the project budget and schedule to meet targets
  • Identify and manage risks
  • Develop a change control process.
  • Execute and terminate a project.

What You Will Cover:

  1. What really needs to be done?
  2. Scheduling your project.
  3. The Work Breakdown Structure and other planning tools.
  4. Budgeting.
  5. Project risks.
  6. Schedule and budget compression.
  7. Change control process.
  8. Closing out a project

What’s Included?

  • Instruction by an expert facilitator
  • Small interactive classes
  • Specialized manual and course materials
  • Personalized certificate of completion
  •  Get Free Gant Chart Software
  • Get a Free Forever copy of Stratpad Strategy Software on the Cloud.

CRM: An Introduction to Customer Relationship Management

https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/CRM: An Introduction to Customer Relationship Management

CRM: An Introduction to Customer Relationship Management, brought to you by BASS Business and SoftSkills Limited a charity for educating under 25’s and jointly subsidized by Tradepark Limited and  K2 Bond Street, For Luxury Apartments and Serviced Offices in Central Hull

Introduction

This one-day course will help you introduce the different facets of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to participants and show them how to identify who their customers really are, analyze the key components of CRM, and understand how it integrates within an organization.

This course will help you teach participants how to:

  • Develop an understanding of the terms and benefits of CRM on a company’s bottom line.
  • Analyze the different components of a CRM plan.
  • Develop their checklist of readiness and success in CRM.
  • Identify how CRM creates value for organizations and customers.
  • Identify developmental roles that have the greatest impact on CRM.

Course Overview

You will start, very briefly, getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Participants will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

To begin, participants will look at what CRM programs they are involved in and how these programs have affected their lives. Participants will also explore the meaning of CRM and its potential value.

CRM: An Introduction to Customer Relationship Management

What CRM Is and Who It Serves

Next, participants will look at different types of CRM programs and the needs they can serve.

Checklist for Success   

This session will explore evaluation metrics and privacy issues.

Requirement Driven Product Selection

During this session, participants will look at the Requirement Driven Product Selection process. This process requires defining the business need (or pain or problem, depending on the issue), deciding which functions are needed to meet the requirements, and then defining the products that support the selection.

Considerations in Tool Selection

This session will look at ways to narrow the scope of your field and to get the right people to move your CRM program along.Strategies for Customer Retention

Next, participants will explore ways to retain customers through a large group discussion.

Building the Future

During this session, participants will explore the four pillars of CRM and how they can use them to help others embrace the CRM plan.

 

Homegrown vs. the Application Service Provider

Participants will look at the advantages and disadvantages of developing a program in-house versus using an Application Service Provider.

The Development Team

This session will give participants the framework for building a stellar CRM team.

Evaluating and Reviewing Your Program

To conclude the day, participants will look at some evaluation tools, including customer profiles and life cycles.

Workshop Wrap-Up

At the end of the day, Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

CRM: An Introduction to Customer Relationship Management

How You Will Benefit:

  • Develop an understanding of the terms and benefits of CRM on a company’s bottom line
  • Analyze the different components of a CRM plan
  • Develop a checklist for readiness and success in CRM
  • Develop an understanding of how CRM creates value for organizations and customers
    • Consider developmental roles that have the greatest impact on CRM.
    • What CRM is and who it serves?
    • Checklist for success.
    • Requirements-driven product selection.
    • Consideration in tool selection.
    • Strategies for Customer Retention.

What You Will Cover.

  •  What CRM is and who it serves
  • Checklist for success
  • Requirement driven product selection
  • Considerations in tool selection
  • Strategies for customer retention
  • Building the future
  • Homegrown vs. the application service provider
  • The development team
  • Evaluating and reviewing your program

What’s Included?

  • Instruction by an expert facilitator
  • Small interactive classes
  • Specialized manual and course materials
  • Personalized certificate of completion.

Walk away with.

  • A Free Forever Strategy Software Package on the Cloud.
  • HubSpot CRM is 100% free for all your users and all your contacts. Forever.gement

Budgets and Managing Money-Making Sense of it all

https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/budgetsandmanagingmoney

Budgets and Managing Money-Making Sense of it all, brought to you by BASS Business and SoftSkills Limited a charity for educating under 25’s and jointly subsidized by Tradepark Limited and  K2 Bond Street, For Luxury Apartments and Serviced Offices in Central Hull

For managers in today’s business world, it’s essential to have a working knowledge of finance.

We all play a role in our organization’s financial health, whether we realize it or not. If you don’t have the training or a background in finance, you may be at a disadvantage as you sit around the management table.

Understanding the cycle of finance will help you figure out where you fit into your company’s financial structure, and how to keep your department out of the red. This two-day workshop will help you prepare budgets and make decisions with confidence.

Participants should complete Interco’s Accounting Skills for New Supervisors course before this workshop or have equivalent knowledge.

How You Will Benefit:

  • Define basic financial terminology
  • Prepare a budget of any type or size
  • Get your budget approved
  • Perform basic ratio analysis.
  • Make better financial decisions.

What You Will Cover:

  • The fundamentals of finance
  • The basics of budgeting
  • Parts of a budget
  • The budgeting process
  • Budgeting tips and tricks
  • Monitoring and managing budgets
  • Crunching the numbers
  • Getting your budget approved
  • Comparing investment opportunities
  • ISO 9001:2008
  • Directing the Peerless Data Corporation (intensive case study)

Budgets and Managing Money-Making Sense of it all

What’s Included?

  • Instruction by an expert facilitator
  • Small interactive classes
  • Specialized manual and course materials
  • Personalized certificate of completion.

What you will get in addition.

  • Free Strategy Map Software with a Budget section built in.
  • Free Budget Templates.
  • Discounted access to a fully integrative Business Plan Pro for

Management Skills for the Administrative Assistant

https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/managementskillsfortheadministrativeassistant

Management Skills for the Administrative Assistant, brought to You by Interco and K2 Bond Street.
Under 25’s get a 50% cashback, courtesy of Tradepark Limited and BASS Business Skills Limited, a charity for educating under 25’s in business and softskills, when they produce proof at event.

Course Outline

This is a two-day workshop designed for those who work in support positions, to help them improve their everyday performance in an office environment. The two days will help you identify productivity pay-offs and priorities, and build better relationships with those around you and with the person to whom you report.

You will learn techniques for time management, and enhance those three critical communication skills: active listening, skillful use of questions, and an awareness of what your body language says about you. You will also have the opportunity to develop some strategies for acting more assertively and managing your stress.

Management Skills for the Administrative Assistant

How You will Benefit:

Understand the importance of and be better able to present a professional presence on the job.
Improve your ability to organize, plan, prioritize and self-manage
Improve critical communication skills such as listening, asking questions and being aware of body language
Develop strategies for managing difficult people and situations.
Recognize techniques for being more assertive and managing your stress.

What You Will Cover:

You and your self-esteem.
Planning and prioritizing.
Working in a team environment.
Taking control of communication.
Dealing with criticism and anger.
Time management.
Setting goals and getting what you want in life.

What’s Included?

Instruction by an expert facilitator
Small interactive classes
Specialized manual and course materials
Personalized certificate of completion.

Walk away with

1. Free Stratpad Strategy Software Course

 

Create your own user feedback survey

CRM: An Introduction to Customer Relationship Management

https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/sliders/training

CRM: An Introduction to Customer Relationship Management

Brought to You by Interco Development & Training and K2 Bond Street
Introduction
This one-day course will help you introduce the different facets of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to participants and show them how to identify who their customers really are, analyze the key components of CRM, and understand how it integrates within an organization.

This course will help teach participants how to:

  • Develop an understanding of the terms and benefits of CRM on a company’s bottom line.
  • Analyze the different components of a CRM plan.
  • Develop their checklist of readiness and success in CRM.
  • Identify how CRM creates value for organizations and customers.
  • Identify developmental roles that have the greatest impact on CRM.

CRM: An Introduction to Customer Relationship Management

Course Overview
You will start, very briefly, getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Participants will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

Customer Relationship Management
To begin, participants will look at what CRM programs they are involved in and how these programs have affected their lives. Participants will also explore the meaning of CRM and its potential value.

What CRM Is and Who It Serves
Next, participants will look at different types of CRM programs and the needs they can serve.

Checklist for Success
This session will explore evaluation metrics and privacy issues.

Requirement Driven Product Selection
During this session, participants will look at the Requirement Driven Product Selection process. This process requires defining the business need (or pain or problem, depending on the issue), deciding which functions are needed to meet the requirements, and then defining the products that support the selection.

Considerations in Tool Selection

  • This session will look at ways to narrow the scope of your field and to get the right people to move your CRM program along.Strategies for Customer Retention
  • Next, participants will explore ways to retain customers through a large group discussion.

Building the Future

  • During this session, participants will explore the four pillars of CRM and how they can use them to help others embrace the CRM plan.

Homegrown vs. the Application Service Provider

  • Participants will look at the advantages and disadvantages of developing a program in-house versus using an Application Service Provider.

The Development Team

  • This session will give participants the framework for building a stellar CRM team.

Evaluating and Reviewing Your Program

  • To conclude the day, participants will look at some evaluation tools, including customer profiles and life cycles.

Workshop Wrap-Up

  • At the end of the day, Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

In Summary.
How You Will Benefit:

  • Develop an understanding of the terms and benefits of CRM on a company’s bottom line
  • Analyze the different components of a CRM plan
  • Develop a checklist for readiness and success in CRM
  • Develop an understanding of how CRM creates value for organizations and customers
  • Consider developmental roles that have the greatest impact on CRM.
  • What CRM is and who it serves?
  • Checklist for success.
  • Requirements-driven product selection.
  • Consideration in tool selection.
  • Strategies for Customer Retention.

What You Will Cover.

  • What CRM is and who it serves
  • Checklist for success
  • Requirement driven product selection
  • Considerations in tool selection
  • Strategies for customer retention
  • Building the future
  • Homegrown vs. the application service provider
  • The development team
  • Evaluating and reviewing your program

What’s Included?

  • Instruction by an expert facilitator
  • Small interactive classes
  • Specialized manual and course materials
  • Personalized certificate of completion.

    Walk away with.
  • A Free Forever Strategy Software Package on the Cloud.
  • HubSpot CRM is 100% free for all your users and all your contacts. Forever.

Tickets 

How Skills Support For The Workforce Can Help Your Business And Employees Grow

https://www.interco.mjfgroup.biz/Eight tell tale signs of a declining business.

How Skills Support For The Workforce Can Help Your Business And Employees Grow is something many have asked us. I saw this article this morning which may help.

hThe Skills Support for the Workforce and Skills Support for Redundancy programmes are designed to deliver responsive workplace learning courses across the Humber region to meet individual, employer and regional economic needs.

By up-skilling the workforce, the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) and Skills Support for Redundancy (SSR) programmes aim to reduce the risk of long-term unemployment and enhance employee skills and career prospects.

Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW)

The SSW programme provides fully funding workplace training to SME’s to meet individual, employer and regional economic needs. The training includes bespoke and vocationally relevant qualifications that are responsive to the needs identified. All training is delivered in the workplace or at nearby convenient locations.

The SSW programmes were specified by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) to meet the skills gaps within local businesses with a focus on the LEPs priority sectors.

The programme is being delivered by HCUK Training (part of the Hull College Group) and a network of specialist training providers to engage with learners and key employment sectors as identified by the Local Enterprise Partnership.

The key sectors include: Creative and digital

  • Chemicals
  • Visitor Economy
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Food Manufacturing

Skills Support for Redundancy (SSR)

The SSR programme provides support for people who are under notice of redundancy with their employer.
You are entitled to individualised and bespoke training and employment support opportunities if you meet the criteria below;

  • You are aged 19 or over and have been identified by your employer as at risk of redundancy and/or commenced formal consultation with your employer.

Early identification of your career objectives and training requirements is a key component to the success of the SSR intervention, which features assessment and guidance at the start of your programme and works with your current or prospective employers to identify the type and level of training appropriate to support you. Wherever possible, any support and training activity should be successfully completed before employees at risk of redundancy leave employment.
This support is available to help you to refresh your skills or identify transferable skills to help you to compete in today’s job market.

How can tailored training and development improve your organisation?

How Skills Support For The Workforce Can Help Your Business And Employees Grow

Investing in the skills of your people is always good for business. For employers across our region striving to improve their productivity while facing multiple skills shortages, it is essential.

Experts will complete a full training needs analysis to identify skills gaps in your workforce. They will also signpost opportunities for development which could make all the difference to your business’s ability to thrive in a highly competitive and rapidly changing environment.

Upskilling your staff not only increases productivity and boosts efficiency; it also motivates and makes people feel valued, which research shows improves staff retention. Investing in tailored training and development will also widen your appeal as an employer as you will be able to offer clear career and progression pathways to potential employees.

The SSW programme can help you to nurture new talent and ensure your business can draw on the right mix of skills. And, because our training can be delivered flexibly, whether at your workplace, from home or at one of our centres, it can fit around the working day minimising the impact of time out for training on your business.

The SSW/SSR programme is fully funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and co-financed by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) but employees must have been granted the time to participate and complete their agreed programme of learning.

For more details about the programme and how to apply, visit the Skills support Website.

If you have completed your apprenticeship or learnership raining we an help bridge the gap between that and going into business, either as a new startup looking for business skills or as an employee upskilling your self to make headway into your new employers business.

Contact me if you have any queries.

regards

Dr Michael J Freestone

The Future of Marketing: Five Marketing Megatrends for 2018

The following article, The Future of Marketing: Five Marketing Megatrends for 2018, has been provided by MarketingProfs.

There is no doubt that we are in the next great Golden Era of Marketing. And with this new era comes an entirely new set of possibilities—along with commensurate consumer demands.

Here are the five megatrends marketers need to be aware of as we move into 2018.

1. Context replaces advertising as a growth lever

Tesla sold three times as many cars as its closest competition, but spent just 1/190th of the advertising budget. Airbnb used native conversations within Craigslist to create its user base and expand its services.

Advertising is a one-way communication, and consumers don’t like it. In fact, the world’s largest boycott is currently in effect, with over 600 million consumers using ad-blocking technology. Consumers are demanding a better way.


Click Here!

The future of marketing is about context. Advertising is designed to distract away from the task at hand, while context matches it. Advertising simply can’t stand up to consumer demands, and some of the fastest-growing mega brands of our modern time have proven context to be the solution.

Look at Airbnb again. Its messages were sent to users on Craigslist who were looking to rent or lease a room. Airbnb leveraged Craigslist’s own messaging capability to solve the consumer’s individual problem the moment it arose, in the way the consumer was asking for it to be solved. It was native, personal, authentic, and purposeful.

The Future of Marketing: Five Marketing Megatrends for 2018

Airbnb now does rely on advertising, yet it still obtains drastically different results based on its context-based approach. Airbnb is on target to book over 100 million stays in 2017 while spending only $23.5 million on advertising, while Hilton Hotels is on target to book more than 140 million stays on an advertising spend of $188 million.

That is the power of contextual marketing, and why it is the future of growth.

The Future of Marketing: Five Marketing Megatrends for 2018

2. Purpose becomes the heart of marketing

The Libre sweater is one of Cotopaxi’s recent hits. It’s a brand you’re not likely familiar with unless you’re an adventurous outdoor lover, like me. Cotopaxi is also a genius at marketing and sold over $900,000 worth of a single sweater in less than 30 days. Then, the company turned around and did it again a few months later with a backpack!

The secret to its marketing? Purpose—not promotion.

Recently, I worked with a team of researchers at The Economist Group to conduct a study, and we found that 79% of consumers prefer to purchase products from a company that operates with a social purpose. The role of purpose also goes far beyond just consumer preferences. During the same research we also found that 83% of junior staff would prefer to work for a company that operates with a social purpose (the data will be published by The Economist Group Insights Team in early 2018).

The modern marketplace demands that we rethink what drives our businesses and the profits we create.

Cotopaxi considers its “profits” to include the welfare and education of its workers and those in its supply chain; it also includes the creation of sustainable living conditions for the farmers it sources materials from. With those considerations driving its actions, Cotopaxi is able to create authentic experiences its customers are looking for, allowing it to break through in the highly competitive outdoor-sports business.

“Business profit” should be expanded to include the interests of stakeholders such as employees and communities. That change would help brands to relate to their (and our) world in new and powerful ways, allowing them to break through where other methods can’t.

3. Public relations gets participatory

Traditional propaganda and PR work when publishers control the narratives. In our modern era, however, people—not the publishers—have greater control. And, in the future of marketing, the key to setting the narrative is participation, not publication.

Following the 2016 US presidential election, a fake news site held the top search result for “Election Results,” and the article stated (falsely) that Donald Trump had won the popular vote. That article had over 325 backlinks, hundreds of comments, and over 450,000 shares on Facebook; the CNN “Election Results” page, on the other hand, had only 300 backlinks, no comments, and 1/10th of the shares on Facebook.

Proving that participation is more powerful than publication…

Alica Wanless is the queen of “participatory propaganda,” and she has shown that it is the key reason Brexit, Trump, and ISIS have been so successful as of late.

PR is about controlling the narrative, and in our modern world collective engagement has proven to be a more powerful at narrative-setting than placement or coverage. The future of PR is participatory.

4. Automation 2.0 will be on the rise

When the Author wrote “Marketing Automation for Dummies,” the marketing automation focused only on behavioral driven marketing across two channels (email and the company website); there were only three data sources (CRM, Website, MAP); and there was only one execution point (the marketing automation platform).

Today, however, best-in-class marketing organizations use 14 tools, on average, the 2016 State of Marketing report from Salesforce found; it also found that creating a cohesive customer experiences requires integration and automation across dozens of channels, data sets, and applications.

We are now in the era of Automation 2.0, where the marketing automation platform is just a node in a connected network of automations—not the only place automations happen.

In a recent conversation, Brendon Ritz, growth hacker and marketing operations lead at AdRoll, explained to me that the marketing tech company uses multiple tools to source individual and behavioral data, and multiple middle layer applications to then run logic and automate the execution of experiences across a web of applications. Its marketing automation platform is now simply a node in the network, not the central processor. With this new connected network, the company increased its sales team appointments 30%.

The Future of Marketing: Five Marketing Megatrends for 2018

Experiences, not messages, are the future of marketing, and growth hacking is the discipline of using data and testing to create optimal experiences. Because of the variances in tools, data structure, and workflows, only an Automation 2.0 framework of a web of data and tools can support this future.

Marketing automation 1.0 is the tool of choice for the demand-gen/lead-gen expert. A network of data and connected tools are creating an Automation 2.0 environment, which is the choice of the growth hacker.

5. Chatbots take over

In 2015, consumers came to use messaging applications more than social media. And according to a 2017 study by Myclever, over 70% of consumers would prefer to engage via chat rather than use an app. 2018 is the year businesses catch up, because the same study showed consumers consider chatbots the fastest way to access content, get help, and receive answers to their questions.

For example, by using chatbots an AdRoll has increased the number of demos it sets up by 30%; its sales team now sets up almost half of all appointments via chatbot. And marketing consultant and best-selling author Jay Baer told me in a recent conversation that he has begun using a chatbot to communicate with his audience as well. Comparing email engagement rates to chatbot engagement rates, Jay and his team are seeing almost a ten-fold increase in open rates and a five-fold increase in clickthroughs.

Chatbots are also benefiting from the Automation 2.0 framework and are able to combine data from lots of different sources to figure out when to engage and how to personalize the engagement when it happens, thus allowing for the experience to be native, personal, authentic, and purposeful—and highly contextual.

As we roll into 2018 and beyond, learn to focus on context and find more than financial profit from your efforts. Modern marketing execution will require a network of tools, creating contextual experiences across many different mediums. Brands that are able to create native, personal, authentic, and purposeful experiences will become the bastions of success.

The future is here, and brands like AdRoll, Cotopaxi, Airbnb, and Tesla have shown us the path forward. It’s time to catch up.

The Future of Marketing: Five Marketing Megatrends for 2018

If you want to dig deeper, check out this SlideShare presentation covering these topics.

The Future of Marketing 2018 from Mathew Sweezey

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