owen at owengreaves dot com

The Future of Business – Don’t Sell, Just Engage

You’ve either heard me say it, or you have read it here many times, ” The Future of Business is not a skill set, it’s more about how we think”. For some reason business owners always end up at tactics, they come back to the ground level and try to do what they have always done. A great example is the Old Spice Campaign, they went out and created an amazing series of commercials, ran them and missed out on the most important part. Engaging with the audience! Instead they went right to tactics to get more views and more followers instead of actually talking to their audience. They really missed the boat here, they blew it big time. What happened, it became just another advertising campaign that was clever and amusing.

We are entering a huge crisis for business owners, it gets more urgent the longer you wait to educate yourself on how business really is today, and will be tomorrow. Part of the challenge is in the business owners head, they believe they know what is happening, and they don’t want to look foolish either, so they plod along not asking for help.

With everything going mobile and social, more and more to tiny screens, some on larger surfaces, we are moving away from what we have always done. We used to be people of the book, now we are people of the screen (a Kevin Kelly quote). In fact, Kevin wrote a bitty on 6 trends:

1.) Screening

2.) Interacting

3.) Sharing

4.) Accessing

5.) Flowing

6.) Generating

I’ll let Kevin Kelly fill you in on the details of these 6 trends, which he wrote about in 2008, I’m just going to touch on a couple.

Everything is flowing now, it’s endless rivers of content, endless streams. Business today is shifting and flowing from one thing to another. We are going from pages to streams, the PC to the cloud, from Today to NOW (real-time streams), from me to we, from items to data. Gerd Leonhard claims Data is the new Oil, how we harness that data can determine much of our success in the marketplaces. Today, everything generates a stream everywhere. Gary Vaynerchuk calls it our legacy, the trail of digital crumbs that we publish on the Internet is how people will remember us.

Ultimately, our business world online is shifting to a very uncomfortable place, we live in a world where everything is moving to free, or feels like free. Someday soon, like music, all books will eventually be $0.99, and will stay in long tail for many years, generating longer cash-flow. We have been moving to where the only things of value are things that can’t be copied. Business owners need to realize, where ever the attention flows, money will follow.

The psychology of tomorrows entrepreneurs is simple, they want lifestyle not work-style, they will look for ways to get attention, this attention will provide the lifestyle many of us have worked for 30 years to get. They will do it in months instead of years. These entrepreneurs don’t value ownership, ownership of home, ownership of car, they are for more willing to rent, the shift from ownership to rental, where access is better than ownership. The likes of Netflix and services of that nature are driving this new theology. It’s not skill set, it’s how we think, we need to pay attention, listen more, and we have to build things that can’t be copied, like Trust. How do you build trust, get to know your audience, interact and build relationships. Don’t sell, just engage.

About Owen Greaves

I'm a Futurist, I write, speak, and teach the open & free business model, the future of business. Create. Differentiate. Deliver.  

3 Comments

  1. Grannelle on March 4, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Excellent post, Owen, wherein the bottom line is stated in the title; this is backed up by the majority of Social Media professionals currently contributing to the LI group Social Media Marketing’s “If you were to teach a class called “Social Media Marketing 101″- what would be the most important thing you would want your students to learn?” discussion thread, as a majority of respondents whole-heartedly argue vehemently in agreement (http://linkd.in/hZWYCn).



  2. TanieshaJoy on March 4, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    I loved the article, there were a few points, that I wouldn’t have noticed unless I had read this! “Don’t sell, Just engage”, something that is so very true. A lot of times the “product” is being marketed so strongly, that the marketers are forgetting about us (the audience, buyers, consumers, etc) and what role we play for that certain product. The 6 trends were also very helpful, as I finished the article, I started to see where all of those trends would fit into the social media atmoshpere. Thanks for the great read.



    • owegre on March 4, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      Hi,

      Glad you enjoy the post and it’s related content links. There is still a world of hurt coming to the business community at large, when the rest of the world gets online you will see what I see, and I see dead businesses.

      Thanks for being here and leaving your thoughts.

      Owen