January 17, 2021

7 New Market Trends: The Good, the Bad, and the Curious

In a recent Forbes article, they share a list of market trends. We separate them into three groups, based on how we think you should consider them.

In a recent Forbes article, 7 Big Marketing Trends Impacting Small Business, they share a list of trends provided by experts. Below, we separate these seven market trends into three groups, based on how we think you should consider them. There are the good trends that are probably going to be smart to keep up on; the bad trends that aren’t even really trends at all; and the curious trends that we can’t really predict right now. Read more for our take on which we believe, we question, and those that aren’t really marketing trends at all.

The Good: Emerging Market Trends

Based on our work with our clients, we have seen some examples of these market trends happening today.

Trend #1: Main Street businesses will have a renaissance.

“…many are turning to older traditions to do timeless tasks. There’s no model or algorithm that can replace your pipes,… Strong relationships…are key in business and paramount in customer service. Local small businesses will see a renaissance in the future…”

Laura Goldberg, Chief Revenue Officer for Kabbage.

We’ve excerpted the pieces of Goldberg’s quote, where we agree. We have seen a trend towards localization. People are more interested in their community. Small businesses often benefit from working with one another and with their peers. Find the local engagement that works for you!

Trend #2: There will be Less Reliance on the Large Tech Players for Growth.

E-commerce-based small businesses will start to shift focus away from trying to align with pure growth tech players and forge their own way with the help of smaller partners who offer more [customer service].

Ben Gold, President at QuickBridge.

We believe the big tech giants are sorely lacking in customer service for small players. You can’t be big and be small at the same time. The market is ripe for someone to come in and own the small business space.

Trend #3: Marketers Will Rely Less on Data and More on Great Storytelling.

[heavily reliant on the]…use of data for targeting and audience segmentation, however many promises of the data-driven marketer have not been realized. Smaller businesses are more strapped for budgets [AMEN] and as a result will spend less on data driven tactics. They will spend more of their time and resources against the development of stories…

Cory Treffiletti, Global Head of Demand Gen, Webex.com and Cisco Collaboration

This is just as much about looking at the future of business as it is about considering how your data and the data of your clients are being utilized.  

The Bad: “Duh” Market Trends

These are the trends that, honestly, you should probably be aware of by now. Writing about them as if they are surprises is a pretty silly way to look at the modern financial climate.

Trend #4: Side Hustles will Become Real Businesses.

“Side hustles are only going to become more prominent in younger generations, starting as early as the teenage years…Technology is drastically reducing the friction to start and build a business, and as a result, we’ll see more folks take the plunge into entrepreneurship.” 

Laura Goldberg, Chief Revenue Officer for Kabbage.

This “trend” makes me wonder what rock the writer has been sleeping under. This is an expectation and has been for some time now. It’s not new, and it certainly isn’t going away.

Trend #6: AI Will Automate Mundane Tasks, Paving the Way for More Innovation.

“AI is weaving itself into everyday life, and as it enters the small business landscape, business owners are finding ways to automate simple tasks like meeting notes, calendar scheduling, follow ups, etc. As AI begins to take these simple tasks off the plate of the small business owner, more of their time and day can be focused on collaborating and developing ideas that push business forward…”

Cory Treffiletti, Global Head of Demand Gen, Webex.com and Cisco Collaboration

Automation is pretty much an expectation at this point, but we should still keep it in mind, as it is key to the future of businesses. Just know that this is less a trend and more a reality.

The Curious: Time Will Tell

Here are some of the market trends that we are… curious about, to say the least. I think that they could become important business factors, but it is almost too soon to tell.

Trend #5: Increased Value Placed on Sustainability vs. Pure Growth.

“In contrast to the rapid growth and over-inflated valuations commonly seen over the last decade, small businesses and startups will shift to valuing profitability and sustainability over pure growth acquisition plays in the 2020s... The result will be an increase in entrepreneurship and power going back into the hands of the small business owner.”

Ben Gold, President at QuickBridge

We’ve seen conflicting data on this point. I hope Mr. Gold is right. We’ve seen several good businesses struggle with funding, specifically, equity funding because groups were chasing unicorn wannabes. We can’t really say we’ve seen much proof of this trend, yet.

Trend #7: Small Business Will Go Cashless, Relying on Digital Payment Methods.

“More small businesses are going direct to consumers and selling online. Even those with a physical storefront are finding that digital payment methods are commonplace, so they will possibly go cashless, no longer needing to maintain cash on-hand and deal with the day-in and day-out burden of managing physical currency. Digital eco-systems for payment and management are more affordable and definitely more convenient.”

Cory Treffiletti, Global Head of Demand Gen, Webex.com and Cisco Collaboration

Again, we’ve seen a movement towards a greater acceptance of digit payments, but to go cashless only seems like a stretch. While credit cards did reduce cash usage, it did not eliminate it. Plus, it came with an added per transaction cost as does digital. In the end, cost more than outweighed any savings. It was adopted as a matter of convenience for the customer. I think digital payment will likely be the same.

What’s in It for Me?

Well, if you are struggling or even a successful small business, you likely can’t afford both the time and money to run a full-blown marketing campaign. If you’re like us, you must pick and choose what has the greatest chance of success, with the least amount of risk both dollars and results.  

Out of all these trends, there are two that stand out. Localization and community involvement are making a comeback. We believe there is great potential in working with your other local businesses to create an experience that customers can’t have online. Also huge is automation, which requires tech-savviness and upfront work but will all you more efficiency. We encourage you to capitalize on these trends before it is too late.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

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About the Author

Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile

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