Thanks to a dizzying array of new technologies and trends that have emerged, sales and marketing have changed drastically over the past five years. The businesses and individuals that were best prepared to take advantage of this new playing field were those that understood where the market was heading. Here are some of the current major sales and marketing trends that you should keep an eye on, as they will directly affect the sales and marketing jobs of tomorrow.
The digital wallet
The idea of a “digital wallet,” real money transformed into a digital currency that can be stored in a secure account and used to make or receive payments, has been around for a few years but it has yet to reach mass market adoption, even with solutions like Google Wallet or Square now available. The main problem is that there’s no single solution that works everywhere, all the time. With mobile payments becoming more and more popular, however, we’re starting to see some interesting developments in this area. Apple in particular, with its Passbook app, is quietly making progress and building support. When the market is ready, consumers will see that not only the digital wallet is faster, secure and more convenient, it also allows sales professionals to market products that may be relevant to individuals based on their past purchase history.
Big data helps us make better decisions
Online tools like Google Analytics have been available for several years now, but they’ve finally evolved and matured enough to help drive business decisions, even simple ones, such as figuring out the best time of the day to send a marketing newsletter. You no longer need accounting courses to figure out what consumers are buying and when! Companies are rapidly embracing big data, and as statistics and sales become better acquainted, we can expect better services for consumers and a lot of employment opportunities in that field.
Social media grows up
An interesting trend on social media is that companies are starting to focus not only on using social media to acquire new customers, but also to retain them for future purchases. With analytics and big data becoming enmeshed into social media, it’s easier to see which customer is coming back for more and which one appears to have lost interest in the brand. As companies shift their strategies to focus on acquisition and retention, instead of simply acquisition, we can expect that a lot of entry-level social media positions will be created or adjusted to better accommodate those needs.
Mobile is here
The post-PC era has arrived! Tons of organizations are investing heavily in mobile tools, which are used both internally and externally. Internally, this means employees can now consult on mobile information traditionally reserved to HR departments, which could shift the focus of payroll training. Externally, this means that sales and marketing professionals must understand better how these devices operate, and how to optimize sites and content for mobile consumption. Employers will be most certainly looking for candidates with a keen understanding of mobile devices, such as iPhone, iPad and Android, and there are many simple projects you could do to gain valuable experience with these platforms in your free time, such as putting together your own app using an app-making solution.
Location-aware customer targeting
The intersection of location awareness, social media and mobility is finally delivering the ability to target local customers who happen to be shopping nearby. Since more information about a customer is known, even sometimes including his or her occupation, such as dentist or early childhood assistant, businesses can pinpoint the precise needs of an individual. Incentives and discounts that a customer can redeem through an app can also be an incredibly efficient way to grow business.