by Joe Olivo
Having reached the noteworthy milestone of being in business for 35 years, I’ve spent some time recently reflecting on all that I’ve witnessed, firsthand, over that period. The prevailing theme in what I’ve seen through the years is a breathtaking pace of change in the way organizations communicate.
As a business owner, I’ve had the opportunity to witness these changes from multiple perspectives. I’ve participated in the different strategies and tactics our clients’ have rolled out to achieve success in outbound marketing. Our involvement in their outbound efforts has given me a glimpse of their growing embrace of inbound marketing as well. As a full-service communications provider, we’re now working with our clients at an earlier stage in the process for both inbound and outbound efforts. We get to observe and impact strategy and planning, not just tactical execution downstream.
The cumulative effect of all of the changes I’ve seen in the way organizations communicate is the emergence of a need for a new type of communications firm. Much like our own company, public relation firms, and traditional advertising and marketing agencies, are transitioning into a new form to continue providing relevant solutions to their clients. The communications firm of tomorrow surely will not look like the traditional providers of yesterday. While I’m sure each will have their own differentiator, firms that succeed will have these attributes at their core:
Ability to Leverage Predictive Analytics
As organizations continue to gather more and more customer data, it will be imperative for firms to be able to help mine the data to predict future customer actions and results with high probability.
A Foundation Built on Good Design
Whether in digital or printed communications, the importance of design cannot be underestimated. With the dizzying array of messages pulsing through multiple channels, it is imperative that good communication design help capture the audience’s attention. A recent study from Missouri University of Science and Technology indicated that two-tenths of a second is the maximum amount of time it takes for a viewer to form an impression. Conveying your message quickly through good design is a must.
Holistic Application of Creative Thinking
For a period, ad agencies were considered a creative execution arm of corporate marketing departments. While effective creative execution will always be important, being able to broadly apply creative thinking to help solve business problems and offer original solutions will differentiate the firms of the future.
Have a Niche
Because of the vast amount of information available today, and the fast pace of change, it is nearly impossible to effectively understand and serve multiple industries at once. It will be incredibly rare for a firm to survive in the future by applying a broad, shallow approach that spans multiple vertical markets. The most adept firms will provide their core offerings in the industries and markets they understand the best.
While the future is always murky and hard to predict, one thing is certain: the current pace of change in communications will continue well into the future. The companies that continue to evolve, and convince their clients that it is in their best interest to evolve too, will prove to be the successful firms of the future.