Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

More than Half of Americans Own Smartphones Monday, September 3rd, 2012

The LA Times reported this August that for the first time, more than half of Americans own smartphones.  The news outlet cited a report by Chetan Sharma Consulting, which also revealed that smartphones comprised about 70% of all phones sold in the United States.  Both facts have significant implications.

The fact that most Americans today have smartphones means that business and culture at large are changing.  Employees are often expected to be on-call to answer emails at night and on weekends.  Without sitting down to a laptop, people can now Google anything they want, anytime they want.  Need directions to an unfamiliar?  Easy, use the GPS built into your smartphone.  Out with friends and want to find a top-rated restaurant in the vicinity?  No problem.

If you don’t have a website for your business that is formatted for these mobile devices, then you are missing out.  If you do have a mobile website, make sure that it is user-friendly and easy to read.  It is not particularly expensive or difficult to contract someone to set up or improve your mobile website.

The fact that smartphones are being sold more often than regular cell phones means that this trend is set to continue.  Smartphone prices are dropping as more customers begin to buy them.  People who were in contracts are switching to smartphone as soon as they can, and people are more likely to “trade up” than to return to a regular phone.

According to Business News Daily online, people aged 25-34 are the largest consumers of smartphones.  However, smartphone ownership has increased markedly in both younger and older age groups, as well as people who make less than $30,000 a year.

It may seem like everyone and their grandmother has a smartphone these days, but keep in mind that a large segment of the U.S. population still does not own a smartphone.  Beware of sounding condescending or elitist when discussing the ubiquity of smartphones, depending on your audience.

But for many people, smartphones mean instant internet access 24-7.  People check Facebook in their cars while idling at a red stoplight, order items off Amazon while out to dinner, and update their Twitter accounts during staff meetings.  This obsessive-compulsive web-browsing can have serious consequences.  Distracted drivers can kill or injure themselves and others.  Emailing and texting (rather than calling or visiting in person) can be less effective and rather impersonal.

Smartphone use is widespread, and will only become more pervasive as prices continue to drop. Why does matter you ask? If you own a website, you must offer a mobile version —- do it now!

 

John Bradley Jackson

Top Dog

The BirdDog Group

 

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The Crowd Can Be Wrong Monday, July 26th, 2010

In my new book, “Deja New Marketing”, I wrote about the wisdom of crowds or, maybe, the wisdom that crowds don’t have. My take is that the crowd is often wrong and is excitedly headed into the wrong direction a good part of the time.

For example, author John M. McKee writes about the airline industry and the rush to cut customer services and perks to improve profitability. Believe it or not, flying used to be a pleasant experience for most people. One airline that understands this is Singapore Airlines, which is consistently ranked as the best airline in the world year after year.

McKnee writes, “It’s (Singapore Airlines) also high in the rankings of “most admired” in any industry worldwide. Here’s their “secret”: While other airline leaders directed expense cuts to service so they could discount fare prices and “save” their company, Singapore’s CEO Chew Choon Seng reduced the number of flights but continued to spend on customer service aspects that would improve their look and feel to customers. Those who flew on Singapore experienced good service and good food. Increased customer approval ratings show this works. It would in any industry”.

Meanwhile, American Airlines, United Airlines, and the rest are charging you for luggage, pillows, and lousy headphones. The airline crowd is simply wrong. People want economical flights but want to be treated humanely.

Ignore the crowd. Better yet, do the opposite of what they do.

John Bradley Jackson
Top Dog

The BirdDog Group
© Copyright 2010
All rights reserved.

Source: June 14, Fortune

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Declining Value of the College Degree Saturday, April 17th, 2010

The students who graduate from college today emerge from a self indulgent cocoon — college was all about them, their interests, and their dreams. Post college is a period of discovery about the stark reality of real life, commerce, and responsibility. I suppose, in many respects, this is the way it was for us old dudes 30 years ago.

The difference today is the broken promise of the Bachelors Degree — it entitles few to a career, or even a job. There are increasingly fewer jobs for young and old. Instead, workers must approach the workplace as an auction or barter for their services. They must be constantly on the hunt for new relationships, new skills, and new opportunities.

For the older worker, this has been an acknowledged trend for a number of decades which has spurred entrepreneurship. Mid career execs leave the corporate world by choice or by termination and then must reinvent themselves. I was one of those corporate refugees nearly ten years ago. I had soured of the politics and BS. I chose to focus my efforts on things that truly mattered and on activities that were satisfying.

College grads have been told a story about how a college degree will empower them to get a job. All the classroom cases and examples are about Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola, and IBM (By the way, a quick internet search will show that these firms are downsized and have recently cut compensation of existing workers by up to 20%). By and large,  the University is clueless about the new normal workplace.

While I totally buy into the value proposition of education, college does little to prepare the student for this new workplace. Students have yet to learn the value of networking, referrals, public speaking, and basic business etiquette. Many also struggle with basic skills such writing, reading, etc. That is yet another problem but still relevant.

Young workers are confused due to the inaccurate messages that they recieved from parents and educators. While the declining value of a college degree is an observed long term trend, it has been largely ignored. Couple that decline with our recent historic recession (soon to be written as so) and you have a bunch of young workers who must quickly adapt.

The bright side of the story is that the young may be more adaptable than us old dudes. They may have fewer biases and have not lived as long with the out-of-date “scripts” about life and careers and jobs. This new story needs to be told, the work scripts need to be rewritten, education must be reinvented, and the game needs to be re-branded.

John Bradley Jackson

Top Dog

The BirdDog Group

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100 Things to Watch in 2010 Monday, January 4th, 2010

Courtesy of Alex Rutledge, CSUF Entrepreneur. Take a look at this list of trends that are good, bad, or interesting:

http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/100-things-to-watch-in-2010-and-the-40-that-might-matter-to-your-business-ann-handley

John Bradley Jackson
Top Dog

The BirdDog Group
© Copyright 2010
All rights reserved.

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