What is one high-level tech trend that non-tech companies are using to successfully take their business to the next level?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.
1. Marketing Automation
The marketing automation software industry has doubled each year the last 3 years, and is set to double again in 2012. Companies like Hubspot, Marketo, Automize and Infusionsoft are really penetrating the “non-tech” local company markets to help them automate their digital marketing. As more companies come online, they’ll learn the ropes and find ways to automate some of those marketing tasks.
More small business owners (i.e. bakers, T-shirt store owners, tech product designers) are using IndieGoGo to launch or grow their businesses. It’s incredible to see how making a good pitch, being proactive and finding an audience that cares can help an entrepreneur secure the funding needed to grow—without going through a bank or credit card.
3. Quick Response (QR) Codes
More and more non-tech companies are starting to implement QR codes in their businesses as a way to provide consumers an opportunity to learn more about products and services. They are becoming so prevalent that bar codes are popping up everywhere—in retail outlets, dentist offices and hair salons. These non-tech companies realize that though THEY may not be tech-savvy, their consumer base is.
Brick and mortar businesses are jumping on the trend of “check-ins” by encouraging their customers to using sites likeFourSquare, Facebook and Path to let their friends know where they are. There’s no better marketing than word of mouth, and check-ins let customers spread that word easily and automatically.
5. Photo Sharing
The ability for anyone, anywhere to share what they’re seeing in real time has changed the face of marketing for non-tech businesses. In an outgoing, storytelling sense, as well as the insights gained by watching and listening, walking around the world with your customers has never been so easy.
6. Mobile Web Design
With the number of people accessing your business website from mobile devices and tablets, businesses have to make sure they aren’t losing potential customers because their site doesn’t look so good off a computer screen. Make sure your site gets resized to look beautiful, no matter what kind of device someone is accessing it from.
7. Crowdsourcing Software Development
Using companies like 99designs, Fiverr and eLance, even the most nontechnical company can create original software applications for internal or external use at very low prices, rapid response time, and high quality—without needing in-house experience in software development.
Brands and non-tech companies know that mass-market goods and services are out; it’s all about the personal. Companies are doing a better job than ever of customer segmentation to improve marketing ROI. They’re using tools that measure and optimize their activities so they can segment goods and services more granularly.