5 ways your business MUST adapt in 2013 to survive and thrive
7Jan13

If you don’t adapt now, you’ll die.

Alarmist? I don’t think so. Scary? I hope so.

2013 is the year businesses need to draw a line in the sand. Either commit to making significant changes to the way you do business or keep doing what you have been doing and try survive while your market share is steadily eroded by smarter, faster, more nimble competitors.

The pace of change over the last decade or so has been blinding. It has caught many (most) industries off-guard with some only realising what happened once it was too late. Combine that with a troubled global economy that shows no real signs of improving any time soon and you have the perfect climate for massive disruption.

In Australia we are far from immune. Many Australian industries have been extremely slow to adapt as several studies have highlighted in recent times. As the warming glow of a record mining boom subsides the cracks in our economy will begin to show and uncompetitive, old-fashioned organisations will be the first to fall through.

Don’t think you will be affected? Think again. No industry is immune to the current pace of change. Your current competitors may not even be the ones to worry about. Right now dozens of startups are thinking of ways to revolutionise your industry and nibble away at your market.

Consider the these monumental changes that have taken place in the last decade or so. Then realise that its only the beginning. The magnitude of upcoming change will be even more stunning.

In 2013 you need to adapt or you’ll die. You need to rethink your offerings, your market, your size, your agility and your overheads.

Here are the 5 minimum steps you must address this year (if you haven’t already):

1. You MUST get a strong online presence.

Your crappy old website (if you even have one) with a list of products or services is no longer enough. You need to be found online easily by potential customers. You need to deliver the information they need as efficiently as possible. You need to offer solutions. If this isn’t on your to-do list in 2013 then you might as well give up now.

2. You MUST have a mobile website.

The mobile web is massive now and growing rapidly every year. Mobile devices now account for 13 percent of worldwide Internet traffic, up from 4 percent in 2010. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, at the very least, you have big problems and are already losing business. Ideally, you should have a mobile version of your site, which will have different requirements depending upon the nature of your business. The internet is going mobile, why aren’t you?

3. You MUST start looking for new revenue or marketing channels online.

Do you have a niche product or service that could potentially be exported anywhere? The future of your business could be in building a national or global market for just one of your products or services via an efficient online strategy rather than sticking to your current generalist approach in your current market. The barriers to entry are so low these days that you’d be crazy not to start testing and experimenting with sideline business opportunities which could potentially grow to become the main show. I did this with my own business a few years ago when we launched NLYZR.com as an online SEO tool, attracting a new international market as well as countless new Australian business opportunities.

4. You MUST start outsourcing.

Lean and mean is the new business mantra. Asset-heavy, full-time workforces are being replaced by asset-light freelanced workforces. By only hiring talent where and when you need it your organisation doesn’t just save on payroll, it saves on floorspace and all the employment “on-costs”. Even if your company hasn’t realised this yet the young, up and coming workforce has. Thanks to the Internet and increase in online social activity, endless new opportunities for young educated people are opening up. They realize that the traditional 9-to-5 is no longer their only career option.

Futurist Mark Pesce says, “That much connectivity in the economy creates this enormous capability for fluidity, and so jobs are going to start to become gigs and those are going to start to become tasks, and eventually we’re all just going to be doing a little bit here and a little bit there and it may not be until we get up in the morning and check the smartphone that we’re going to be knowing what we’re going to be doing that day.”

Outsourcing is more than Indian call centres for banks and telcos. There are a vast and growing number of functions you can currently outsource via sites such as Freelancer.com, oDesk, FlatPlanet and our own more locally-focussed option InsiderJobs. What functions can your company start outsourcing?

5. You MUST start cloud computing.

“The cloud” is a bit of a hackneyed and overused term these days but you can’t deny the efficiencies and cost-savings available by enabling a range of cloud-based applications. The options are endless, from large scale data storage and hosting through to smaller applications. Here are just some you should be considering:

  • Yammer for a secure, private social network for your company
  • Vend for point of sale software
  • Shoeboxed scans and organises your receipts, invoices and documents securely online
  • Deputy for timesheets and payroll

Honestly, the cloud options are endless. Integrating a range of these into your organisation will save time and money.

In 2013 you can attract new customers, grow new markets, lower your overheads and become more efficient….or you can keep doing what you have been doing and hope for the best. This combination of moving your marketing and sales online, outsourcing as many functions as possible and integrating more efficient cloud-based solutions are the basic steps to take to survive and hopefully thrive in this rapidly evolving economy.

7 strategies to get a job in marketing
18Sep12

Just a few of the people you’ll be competing against for your marketing job

So you want to work in marketing? Well, to be hired as a marketer you need to start acting like one. And not just any marketer, an inbound marketer.

Way back in early 2009 I wrote a post about how to get a job in advertising, design or media and it went nuts. Its one of the most popular posts I’ve ever published and still gets a lot of traffic today. A lot of that advice still rings true today, but a lot has also changed in the marketing world in the last 3 or 4 years, so I felt it was time to refresh the topic.

I interview dozens of marketing graduates each year and the first thing that strikes me is that very few have much experience of any kind. Universities are pumping out thousands of cardboard cutout graduates annually to compete for a small number of quality positions.

If you want to be hired as a marketer you need an edge. Here is what I advise them to do:

1. Create Content

This is the single best thing you can do. Start publishing great content. Show the world what you can do. Ideally focus on your interests or desired career niche if you really want to attract the attention of the right people. Two young guys come to mind who blogged their way into great careers; Julian Cole and Zac Martin. These guys began publishing excellent, confronting, interesting content on their respective blogs before they even graduated. It got them on the marketing radar early and saw them stroll into excellent jobs quickly.

Here’s a test: do a Google search for your name and see what comes up. Personal blog? Content you’ve written for other people’s blogs? News content you’ve authored? Infographics you’ve designed? Videos you’ve recorded? Whitepapers you’ve put together? If not much shows up then you’re not a good content creator and that’s going to keep you off the radar. I suspect HR will be much more impressed with the candidate who shows up for pages and pages of content (appropriate content) than someone with a degree and no content.

These days marketing, especially inbound marketing, relies heavily on great content. Being able to produce it, being able to recognise what drives traffic, clicks and responses is key.

The good news is that you can set up a blog, YouTube channel, Tumblr or Instagram account for free. All you need is time and some great ideas to fill them with content.

2. Be social

If you haven’t heard, social networks are kinda big these days. Having an account isn’t enough (although I’m surprised how many marketing wannabes don’t have one). You need to be savvy enough to be active with these accounts. Strategically, I would recommend having a Twitter account that follows the players in your desired industry and begin sharing your great content via that account.

You also MUST have a LinkedIn profile and should be looking to join some relevant LinkedIn groups for your chosen niche.

Companies are trying to work out how to leverage social networks, be the one who knows the answers and prove it in your own networks.

3. Learn some basic SEO

Here’s a secret…we all Google ourselves, our competitors and our industry. Learn some basic search engine optimisation and push your great content to the first page of search results. You’ll be in the radar faster and prospective employers will be wondering why and how you did it. Another skill most of your fellow graduates won’t have.

You can check out our NLYZR site. It has tons of great SEO information and you can set up an account for free to learn even more.

4. Study stats

Modern marketers are statistics nerds. Online marketing is amazingly measurable and there are dozens of great analytics tools to measure and test performance. Start using them and getting to know how they work. Practice with your own blog and social networks.

Make sure your resume reflects experience with different analytics platforms and that you understand how to make data-backed marketing decisions. This will put you ahead of most of the pack.

5. Become an all-rounder

I really feel its important these days to be well-versed in technology and be a bit of an all-rounder. Knowing some basic coding and editing allows you to understand what other suppliers or employees do and to be able to speak with some authority to them. I know of several senior marketers in large organisations who have no idea at all what their IT department or web developer is saying to them. As a result they make poor decisions. It’s only a matter of time before they’re found out and replaced by savvy young marketers with more all-round experience and knowledge.

The all-rounder can often get their foot in the door with companies and move towards their desired area of specialty later. But to be honest I believe that in most organisations the all-rounder is going to the future.

6. Keep reading and learning

This industry is dynamic and changing daily. Your Uni curriculum was out of date before you started. Subscribe to industry sites and blogs and devour as much information as you can. Learn about the latest technology and trends. Know what’s going on. Attend industry events, some are free, and listen to what people are talking about. Don’t stop reading and learning.

7. Market your way to employment

Know who you want to work for? Think you’re their next star recruit? Be brassy enough to create an inbound marketing campaign about hiring you or examining an aspect of their industry. Set up a site or blog, optimise it for search and fill it with great content directed at your desired employer. Use social networks to spread the word. Before you know it you could be on their radar via search or social.

The smart marketers are jumping to the front of the jobs queue by using modern inbound marketing strategies. It is much more effective than sending standard resumes and responding to employment ads.

 

 

 

Townsourcing: InsiderJobs launches to keep outsourcing local
13Sep12

Insider Jobs. Freelancing microjobs. TownsourcingThe job market is changing. Freelancing and outsourcing are changing the way we do business and make a living. A new generation of young entrepreneurs realise that the traditional 9-to-5 job is no longer their only career option.

At the recent launch of the report A Snapshot of Australia’s Digital Future to 2050 futurist Mark Pesce predicted the employment market is “going to look a lot more like eBay than it does like Seek.”

“The idea of employment, as in a job that lasts for more than a few days or a few weeks, is going to be this very weird term by 2050. Our grandkids will go up to us and say, ‘You had a job and you did it for years at a time?’”, says Pesce.

“That much connectivity in the economy creates this enormous capability for fluidity, and so jobs are going to start to become gigs and those are going to start to become tasks, and eventually we’re all just going to be doing a little bit here and a little bit there and it may not be until we get up in the morning and check the smartphone that we’re going to be knowing what we’re going to be doing that day.”

That’s where InsiderJobs comes in. Its the place where freelancers and businesses can offer their services and buyers can find amazing outsourcing options. Our vision is to be Australia’s premium freelancer and microjobs site; a dedicated Australian marketplace for Australian freelancers and professionals.

Unlike other freelancing and microjobs sites, our aim is to try to keep outsourcing local. Do business with dozens of talented people in your area whilst keeping your overheads down and profits up. We call it TownSourcing.

One thing we are keen to maintain is a high quality of services and offers. Any offers considered to be “black-hat” or “spammy” may be blocked or moderated. The reason is that we want InsiderJobs to be a place where buyers can shop with confidence that they will receive a range of good, reliable services.

The first InsiderJobs has launched with a focus on Newcastle. This allows us to iron out the bugs and test responses in our home town before expanding nationally very soon.

If you are based in the Hunter region we’d love you to list some of your products or services on the site. It could be a lead generator, an automatic digital product or your usual service. In testing this we’ve learned that great deals get the biggest responses.

If you live outside the Hunter you are very welcome to list any products or services that can be delivered online and aren’t limited by geographical location. These will be able be offered nationally as we expand.

Conversely, if you’re a business owner looking for service providers and other freelance resources then check InsiderJobs might have the answer. You can also request services and have freelancers come to you.

My team and I are really excited about the launch of InsiderJobs and hope it becomes the trusted site where businesses and talented Australian freelancers can connect.

For the record: InsiderJobs was created by the team at Sticky. We are also responsible for online magazine Urban Insider and SEO tool NLYZR.

 

The winners and losers in the digital economy
15Jun12

A few weeks ago I posted that no industry was immune to the rapid pace of change in our modern interconnected society. I strongly believe that some current industries will be turned upside down by the arrival on the National Broadband Network and borderless labour.

Now a new report by IBISworld’s Phil Ruthven, A Snapshot of Australia’s Digital Future to 2050, lists the winners and losers of what it calls “the new utility” – ubiquitous high-speed broadband.

Ruthven says Australia must shift from exporting its natural resources to exporting so-called “developed resources” – health, education, tourism and business services, and identifies seven broad industry sectors that will benefit from this “hyper digital era”.

The main beneficiaries appear to be government and public safety programs such as emergency and disaster response services, followed by online retail and the mining industry.

However, Ruthven also says that of 509 industries in Australia, 15 – nearly all in traditional media, publishing and broadcasting – are likely to disappear unless they can reinvent themselves.

The industries he identifies as facing “extinction” include: book, magazine and newspaper publishing and retailing; radio and television broadcasting; reproduction of recorded media; and film processing.

Its a trend we’ve seen for the last 15 years. If the medium is easily digitalised then the industry is at risk. It started with music, then moved onto books and movie and TV downloads. Its one of the reasons Fairfax is trying to cut costs and job losses are an unfortunate symptom of these changes.

A recent presentation by Mary Meeker which explained the “re-imagination of everything” is a great pointer to what has happened and who will be affected going forward.

The report says that traditional retailing will decline in the coming decades and much wholesale trade may also disappear.

Mr Ruthven says that Australia has been slow to adopt high-speed broadband and benefit from the digital economy, and the major obstacle is scepticism.

“Because I think there’s been so many naysayers out there suggesting we don’t need it, which is it a bit like saying ‘dirt roads were quite adequate 50 years ago, who needs a sealed road and a four-lane highway?’” says Ruthven.

The report also predicts that one in four people will be working from home at least part-time by 2050, something that futurist Mark Pesce elaborated on.

“The idea of employment, as in a job that lasts for more than a few days or a few weeks, is going to be this very weird term by 2050. Our grandkids will go up to us and say, ‘You had a job and you did it for years at a time?’”, says Pesce.

“That much connectivity in the economy creates this enormous capability for fluidity, and so jobs are going to start to become gigs and those are going to start to become tasks, and eventually we’re all just going to be doing a little bit here and a little bit there and it may not be until we get up in the morning and check the smartphone that we’re going to be knowing what we’re going to be doing that day.”

Pesce feels that the employment market of 2050 is “going to look a lot more like eBay then it does like Seek.”

 

All are expected to be replaced by their online or digital equivalents.

 

How Austin – home to SXSW – stays vibrant with tech and innovation
19Mar12

A growing theme on this blog has been about how to grow a smart and innovative city. Its something we’ve been tackling here in Newcastle as we evolve from our old industrial base to something more vibrant and sustainable.

One model we’ve been looking at is Austin, Texas. Over the last decade Austin was the 3rd fastest growing city in the USA, booming to its current population of 790,000.

Its no coincidence that Austin is home to the famous SXSW festival, part of which is one of the biggest tech industry events in the world. This has led to Austin becoming home to around 3900 tech companies employing over 100,000 people.

Here is a 30 second video from Susan Davenport, senior vice president of the Austin Chamber of Commerce explaining how technology and innovation have helped build a great city.

Other posts on this topic:

My plan for creating an innovative city

How to build a smart city

Internships now available at Sticky
26Oct10

This year I have interviewed a lot of job applicants for various positions and one thing that I realised is that there are plenty of talented people around, but most of them have very little experience in the digital marketing world. Especially in Newcastle where we are based.

I don’t want to one of those employers that says, “Come back when you’ve got some experience.” I’d rather help foster new talent and grow the market.

So, we have announced a new initiative targeting the next wave of marketing and communication professionals: the Sticky Internship Program.

Here’s an opportunity to gain valuable experience in a modern, dynamic agency working across a wide range of areas. It’ll be fun, it’ll be challenging and it will be very worthwhile.

If you’d like to know more about the Sticky Internship Program please see the details on our agency site.

Position available at Sticky
15Oct10

We’ve just posted a new position available at Sticky. This is an excellent entry level opportunity based in our Newcastle office for a digital native looking to break into the industry.

Blue chip clients, interesting work, fun environment.

Don’t dawdle, this position will go fast. Visit the agency site for details.

Web developer position available at Sticky
19Aug10

I’m looking for a junior web developer to join the team at Sticky. We’ve had a solid year of growth and new client wins and it’s resulted in the necessary expansion of our team to keep up with demand.

We encourage a fun, dynamic environment so the most suitable person will balance the required skills with the right personality to be a good fit.

Please check out the position available and indicate your interest by Friday 3 September 2010.

How to get noticed in the web (or any) industry
9Jul10

Get noticed in the web industry

Get noticed in the web industry

I just came across a great piece in Smashing Magazine by Christian Heilman titled Making your mark on the web is easier than you think. There is some excellent advice in here for people looking to get noticed, make a start in the industry or win a job. In fact it has some parallels with my thoughts on getting a job in the media and marketing industry.

Here are the main points, but please check out the full article for more details.

Read the rest of this entry »

Looking for a digital account manager
11Feb10

Sticky is looking for a Digital Account Manager with great project management skills to join the team. The role is a crucial link between our growing client base and digital team. Its an important position so we’ll be taking our time to find the most suitable person for the job. All the details are here.

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