by Fred Roed on 12/01/09 at 10:56 pm
This is the time of the year that everyone is gazing into the smoky crystal balls. And, true to Ideate style, if there’s a bandwagon we’ll jump on it. We got together the day before New Year’s Eve and pencilled some predictions for the new year.
Here they are, in no particular order…
1. Return to Un-remarkable
With all the bad news gracing the business pages, we reckon we’ll see small business think hard about what the core of their offering is. For so long, we’ve had business coaches and motivational speakers repeat Seth Godin‘s ‘Purple Cow‘ mantra telling us to make our product remarkable. We reckon the next 12 months will see a return to un-remarkable, with businesses realising that what people REALLY want in 2009 is a good product at a good price, delivered on time or executed well. That’s not remarkable; it’s just business sense.
2. Digital (R)Evolution
This was a no-brainer, since we know about the June arrival of the Seacom pipes that will increase internet speed and reduce broadband prices in Africa. We think this will impact hugely (and positively) for small business. It means greater exposure to more customers, smoother communication and increased productivity. Small businesses will start to use the net, both mobile and traditional, creatively. E-commerce will pick up even more. The best thing: internet is a great leveller. It allows small enterprise to act like a big dog, so we’ll see small business use the web to aggressively take on the incumbents.
3. Smart Marketing, on a Shoestring
Marketing budgets will get cut, but most smart business folk out there will realise that times of trouble also represent opportunity.
The point here is: When everyone else is quiet, the noise you make is far more likely to get heard.
Small business will embrace cost effective noise-generating techniques including PR (agencies as well as DIY), email marketing, events, brand ambassadors, networking groups and PPC advertising.
4. Small Business goes Viral
It makes sense doesn’t it?
Look at this, this and this. These are just some examples of small businesses getting worldwide publicity via a hand held camera, an idea and an internet connection – no heavy media-placement spend required.
5. Less Hype, More Integration
The hysteria around the mobile and social media marketing channels will calm down – only to be replaced by a smarter, focused and converged approach to marketing. People will continue to use blogs, social networks and mobile marketing, but in a smarter, more converged way. At World Wide Creative, we’re already seeing great projects that require a multitude of digital channels working together towards the same objective. Small business will soon figure out that they can employ a potent combination of PR and digital marketing without breaking the bank.
6. Cape Town will Officially Become South Africa’s Silicon Valley
There are so many IT shops, camps, tweet ups and mash-ups happening in Cape Town right now, it’s hard to keep up with all of it. We’re based in Gardens, a small city-central suburb at the foot of Table Mountain, so, believe me, I know all about it. Walking to the shop, you can’t kick a hacky-sack without attracting a swarth of fellow Google-eyed geeks. Directly opposite us, we’ve got Vinny Lingham‘s Synthasite. There are 20 or so digital and design agencies within a mouse-swinging radius from us. Around the corner from us, there’s Charl and crew at Blueworld.co.za; and across town, all the geeks at the Bandwidth Barn; the stunningly high-tech 24.com (venue of The Heavy Chef Sessions) and the Naspers buildings are quietly humming with world-dominating individuals. Not to mention all the activity beyond the boerewors belt, with Adii‘s WooThemes quietly ticking over…
7. South African Start-Ups Go Global
A natural progression from point 6, Ideate predicts we’ll see some small South African start ups getting global recognition for their work in 2009.
We’re predicting that, right now, there are a handful of Mark Shuttleworths tinkering in their garages about to break it big time. And, don’t tell anyone we told you, but we have it on good authority that three of our leading e-commerce shops (Yuppiechef.com, Springleap.com and Cybercellar.com) are quietly launching globally-focused marketing campaigns in 2009.
8. The Great Small Business Green Leap
Thanks to a handful or early adopting pioneers, small business SA is finally starting to wake up to the green revolution. For various reasons (like being distracted by other more pressing issues like crime), we haven’t been as interested in saving the planet as our northern hemisphere counterparts.
9. SA Brain Gain
Thanks to global financial navel gazing, it seems South Africa (and, in particular, Trevor’s conservative fiscal policies) have become sexy all of a sudden. Internationally, the news is rife with widespread redundancies in all sectors and not too rosy an outlook for the year ahead. With Canada, UK and Oz feeling the worst squeeze in 80 years, we predict a sudden surge in our brethren coming back to our shores. For those luckless sods who chose Iceland as their land of milk and honey, you’re probably back here already. Opportunity here is bright, business is booming (well, relatively) and – oh yes – we’re world beaters in 2 of our three national sports. Yehhh baby.
10. Spotting the Yuppiechef Mini will Become a New Craze
The word is out that my colleagues over at Westlake Business Park have pimped up a new ride to deliver their kitchen-inspired goodness. More to follow shortly… (can’t let the cat out the bag just yet).
…as for us at Ideate; you can expect great things. We’re plotting some cool additions to this forum, including a jobs portal, competitions, giveaways, and perhaps even another Extreme Business (the reason we started Ideate in the first place). Thanks for all the support and emails – keep ‘em coming.
Fred Roed is the marketing guy in the Ideate crew. Fred is the CEO of web marketing company World Wide Creative and the co-founder of online learning portal Heavy Chef. Fred loves writing about people out there doing marketing right. Follow Fred on Twitter here. View more articles by Fred Roed.