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Trending 2018: 4 Top Picks from Assessment Solutions

Every year we research some of the next year’s business forecasts and choose ones we think are right on target and will be of interest to our followers. Here are the ones we like for 2018. We believe every business owner and entrepreneur should include these in their 2018 business plans.
1. 2018: The Rise of the Experience Economy
Excerpt from The Top Business Trends to Look out for in 2018 by Andrew McDermott, Nov. 13, 2017 in Workzone.

Let me tell you about the Museum of Ice Cream. No, it’s not about the history of ice cream. Or for you to learn how it’s made. It’s to let people play. Specifically, to let adults throw sprinkles on one another. And there are lines around the block.

Customers crave experiences.

That’s why the Museum of Ice Cream exists. Not to tell you the history of ice cream, but to experience what it’s like to playfully live like ice cream? Or something like that.

With Total Quality Management (TQM) organizations were able to win customers over with consistent product quality. The more consistent your product quality, the more loyal your customers were. Not anymore. Today it’s all about the experience economy. Customers are far more willing to spend money on concerts, dinner dates, and trips. But, organizations are still trying to build their business the old way and it isn’t working.

Customers want to experience an emotional connection. They’re looking for organizations with shared values. And more importantly, they want your organization to speak to their reason and their emotions.They want a story. Research shows emotion drives attention. We pay a lot of attention to the things we find threatening and, to a lesser extent, rewarding. Today customers place a premium on experiences. What they’re really looking for though, is meaning.

Storytelling, events and experiences. These are the mechanisms they use to find meaning.
Customers are searching for it, on YouTube, on their own.This is what customers expect today.People want companies to provide a consistently wonderful experience from beginning to end. The good news is, if the experience and values are there, customers are willing to spend more.

Does this mean quality doesn’t matter? Not at all. It means it’s the end of quality as a customer retention mechanism. It’s the beginning of authenticity. Customers are looking for companies that fit with who they are. They want to work with companies that support the values, causes and ideals they support.
Quality is a given. It’s not something you’re rewarded or recognized for. It’s expected, but it’s an afterthought.

2. 2018: In-Person Communication Trumps Social Media

Excerpt from Communities Embrace Live Interactions Over Social Media by Ian Altman, Forbes contributor
Your smartphone might make you think that people prefer social media vs. in-person interactions. However, top companies realize that building great communities engenders long-term brand loyalty. Nothing drives strong communities better than in-person and live interactions. Even live video engages better than recorded video. Just look at the popularity of Facebook Live.

Recently, I attended an event in Philadelphia with 75 fellow professional speakers. Though the group started as an online community, attendees spent our own money and time away from family to learn from and share with each other, in person.

Great community events like the B2B Forum from MarketingProfs sell-out in advance to attendees seeking high-value, face-to-face interactions that deliver community and social learning that far exceeds what’s possible with social media. You’d have an easier time attending an Ivy League university than getting invited to the annual Mastermind Talks geared toward CEOs and entrepreneurs.

Smart companies realize social media and technology do not replace the need for in-person interactions, social media can actually make in-person interactions more valuable. Since consumers are already connected in the virtual world, in-person relationships can be built at a rapid pace because you already feel as though you “know” the other person.

Expect to see leading companies that cut back on live events years ago, bring them back with enthusiasm.

3. 2018: Commitment to Transparency and Collaboration Wins Millennials
Excerpt for The 10 Biggest Small Business Trends for 2018 “Millennials will get their say” by Andrew Marder in Knocking Down Doors, published Nov. 7th, 2017

One of the reasons people might be reserving their monetary leaps for joy could be that a lot of the people getting richer are millennials, a notoriously anxious and cautious group.
Millennials currently spend on the order of $600 billion every year. As that number grows to an estimated $1.4 trillion in 2020, more and more businesses are catering to millennials. In practice, this means more experiential sales and marketing, less emphasis on glitz and glamour, and a push for consumers to “connect” with brands.

Values-based selling is already on the rise, with campaigns such as State Street’s Fearless Girl and Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” seeking to make deeper connections with millennial consumers.
If all this isn’t your cup of tea, I’ve got bad news: millennials are here to spend money and everyone is courting them. As a generation, they’ve seen their parents’ savings wiped out, they’ve exited college only to enter one of the worst job markets in decades, and they’ve lived through some of the worst attacks to ever take place on American soil.
As a result—they’re not overly excitable.

What you can do

To sell to millennials, small businesses must find ways to be honest and transparent. The last thing you want is for your marketing or business to come off as gimmicky or a blatant sales presentation.

Compare Netflix to Uber. Netflix has made a real commitment to transparency and collaboration, pushing to give employees power and accountability in a flexible environment. Uber has been dogged by internal complaints and external failures that throw its operating model in stark relief against its publicity.

Netflix is walking the walk, while Uber seems to just be talking.

4. 2018: Plan a Career, Don’t Fall into One.
Excerpt from “You Owe Yourself a Career Development Action Plan”
By Susan M. Heathfield, Updated November 12, 2017, The Balance

Career management isn’t just a nice-to-do, it’s a must do, if you expect to gain maximum success and happiness from the hours you invest in work. Face it, you are likely going to work 40 hours a week for your entire adult life. Why not make them the best 40 hours that you can create?

Career management in which you plan and work to obtain new skills, capabilities, and experiences, is the answer. You are chock full of talents and skills. Continuing their development will stretch your world and enable more of your unique contribution. This, in turn, will make your career success and progress a cornerstone in your fully-developed life. Does your world get any better than this? Not really.

If you need help defining your strengths and weaknesses, Assessment Solutions has several surveys that will help you or for a more personal course of action, we offer coaching and help finding a career path that gives you joy.

A successful and happy life doesn’t happen unthinkingly. It takes planning, tending, and frequent review. Are you ready to pursue career development strategies?

Assessment Solution offers Strategic Business Planning and Assessments to help you and your business take advantage of the coming trends of 2018. Call us at 254-776-6306 or contact Bruce Mazzare at bmazzare@assessmentsolutions.com.

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December 19, 2017
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