Which nation is the richest, most powerful country in the world right now?  How long have they maintained that position, and how long will they keep it?  Huge changes happen really fast.  In business, the biggest changes are now happening in marketing and selling.  Since the late 1970s, business has been gradually doing more and more with computers, but nothing really changed much, they just got more efficient.

Now though, in the past 5 years, there’s been a massive shift in commerce from people going shopping to Internet browsing instead.  Huge chunks of our economy are shifting to the Internet and now, social networks are going that way too.  2 years ago, I had never heard of Youtube.  Now it’s owned by Google and gets billions of searches a year.  There are lots of business videos up there and right now, if you’re not at least exploring how your technically savvy competitors are using it, you just might get left behind.

I was inspired by this amazing presentation and I figured out how to put it here for you to see too.  It will take you a couple of minutes to flick through it.  It really made me sit up and think

The times they are a’changin’…

(I’ve chosen to forgive the non-brit author for not understanding that England is just a part of Great Britain)

The biggest thing from this, for all of us in business, is social media and networking.  You’ve probably heard of Facebook, Myspace and other similar sites.  I’ve got a profile on LinkedIn and Ecademy, as I begin my journey into online networking.  Back in April, we spent a long weekend in Paris with friends we made online – something I’d have scoffed at 5 years ago seemed perfectly natural this year.

So how does this affect your business?  When we buy things, we ask friends what they think about different shops, companies and products before we reach a decision.  If you look, you’ll find hundreds of messages online by real customers talking about businesses.  These are open, live discussions where people give honest, direct feedback about customer experiences.

Places like Martin Lewis’ moneysavingexpert.com have become huge communities of people helping each other out.  His interest is clearly to help consumers save money, and they come in their droves for his advice.  Cheap pizza deals, anybody?

Think about it – humans are essentially social creatures that build communities (streets, villages, towns and cities).  Now we’ve started building them online too.  Building online social networks is no longer something that only computer geeks do, our kids are doing it and our customers are too.  My son chats with all of his mates on MSN Messenger, it’s not even special or exciting to him, it’s like the phone is to most of us.  Get involved.  Devote time to learn about it, contribute and earn your place as part of the new communities.

Of course, you can fight it, tell everybody how awful it is and how it’s just a passing fad, stick your fingers in your ears and hope it will go away .    I mean, that approach worked really well during the Industrial Revolution when those who fought progress burnt sewing machines by the dozen…

This is the future of marketing and a big part of the future of business.  Ignore it at your peril – remember that Great Britain was the world’s number one super-power 100 years ago, it’s the US right now and it’ll be China or India next…

Have a great one,

Lee

P.S.  If you are already making use of social networking, I’d love to know – post a comment and tell us how you use it, even if just socially at the moment…

4 Comments

  1. Shama Hyder on July 1st, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Hi Lee,

    Very timely article. Just read another one in a similar vein here: http://www.ck-blog.com/cks_blog/2008/06/this-marketer-r.html

    -Shama Hyder



  2. Lee on July 1st, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Hi Shama,

    Wow, another great article, thanks for linking it. I have to admit, for most of my clients I was thinking of the community being UK based, but you’ve now got me thinking about the global economy.

    Hmm, what could some of their businesses be offering globally, I wonder. Come to think of it, what could I be doing to exploit the global nature of the Internet for business?

    Thanks,

    Lee



  3. Alex on February 2nd, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Business on the internet is naturally global as is social networking. The world seems to have been shrinking as the internet has been growing so you have to recognise that you and your business are part of that, best take advantage of the opportunities which emerge on the journey.



  4. Lee on February 2nd, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Alex,

    you’re spot on. The Internet means that even small businesses can access a global market. Many can use this to their advantage to specialise in a narrower niche but with global spread they get the opportunity to massively multiply their sales. Good stuff.

    Lee



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