Yesterday I was at a dinner where we took turns in making predictions for what will be hot or not the coming year(s). It was an interesting exercise, and there was a great degree of versatility in the discussion even though a lot of the points were really no brainers.
I also contributed with a few things I believe. For one that I think advertising for media companies will be a downhill struggle that’s unwinable given the excess supply of inventory and all the stakeholders completely making this space a blood-red ocean. And that I think customer service will be on the up as a competitive differentiator going forward; treat customers better than the competition and you have an edge.
But most of all I think there will be loads of opportunity in turning things on their head. First by making a really simple analysis: If everybody else is heading in one direction concept wise and want to serve basically the same kind of customer, how can you flip that and serve the rest? Does it make sense to try and do so? Often it won’t but sometimes it will, and that to me is where there is an opportunity to make a difference.
Another way of doing it is by stripping a case of everything you would consider given if you were to do it the normal way. The great analogy here are the old airlines versus the new low cost carriers. I think the same method of removing old ways of doing things - so old they have become ingrained part of culture - and giving it a decent spin can be applied to a lot of industries.
Finally, I think the place to be is in B2B. There are so many tired, expensive, overly complex systems out there crying for a more fun, simple and less expensive approach. The only caveat is that it’s going to be a tougher sell because you can’t sell so much based on emotions as you can with consumers. But if you succeed in finding the right approach, the prize could be huge.