At the beginning of each year, I reach out to different experts to generate insight on what lies ahead for the next 12 months. Below, David Fischer, Chief Revenue Officer of Facebook, provides thoughts on consumer behavior, AR/IR, vendor management, disruption, personalization, diversity, resilience, and other areas.
People are changing their buying behaviors and it’s speeding up consumer trends by 5 to 10 years.
Small businesses are now able to engage with their consumers online in ways that they never thought possible and they are relying on advances in technology to drive their business forward, full steam ahead. Beauty company Glamnetic has leveraged the power of AR to allow consumers to try out their various eyelash products using Instagram filters, without ever stepping inside a store. And advances in commerce like Shops allow consumers to shop directly from their favorite store’s social media accounts. In 2021, we will continue to see AI and AR change the way people shop, permanently.
Diversify your dollar.
Diversify the ecosystem of vendors in your rolodex. In addition to making sure that diverse communities are highlighted in your advertising, there are also major changes that can be driven behind the camera. Supplier diversity benefits your business by promoting innovation through new ideas and solutions, but it also benefits the ecosystem at large. For example, the recently launched GroupM Multicultural Marketplace raises awareness among clients about Black and Hispanic-owned publishers that focus specifically on Black and Hispanic audiences. Meanwhile, Sephora recently became one of the first retailers to take the 15% pledge, which asks companies to assess the diversity of the makers of their merchandise, and commit a share of at least 15% to Black-owned brands.
Don’t be afraid to disrupt yourself.
One of the lessons of 2020 was that businesses can change much more quickly than they might have thought possible. The businesses finding success right now are the ones that are moving fast, and making changes to their working models to fit the new normal. For example, consider Brendan and Bailey O’Leary, owners of True Respite in Maryland. When stay at home orders started last March, they expanded from their brewery and taproom to launch an online platform called biermi (“beer me”), where people could order beer for delivery or curbside pickup. After realizing how huge the demand was, Brendan and Bailey decided to open up biermi to other breweries, completely free of charge. By the summer, the platform had surpassed $2.7M in sales, with hundreds of vendors from 30+ states. Moving forward, I’d expect self-disruption to become more of a habit than a forced consequence.
For small businesses, personalization matters when every dollar has to work as hard as it can.
In the middle of a pandemic, a wasted marketing dollar is something no business can afford. A new Deloitte study found that 44% of small to medium-sized businesses in the US started using, or increased their use of targeted advertising on social media since the pandemic began. And the businesses that used targeted advertising were twice as likely to report higher revenues. The ability for small businesses to easily identify and reach new consumers is now more important than ever, and it will remain a much-needed lifeline for small businesses, especially during the economic recovery.
It’s time to operationalize resilience.
Despite the challenges of 2020, small business owners consistently told us last year that they remained optimistic. Their eyes were on the future. Honestly, that optimism isn’t surprising when you consider that behind every small business is often someone who’s put everything on the line for their dream. I spoke with two resilient entrepreneurs last Fall: Arian Simone, and Courtney Scipio. After overcoming enormous personal, and professional obstacles well before the pandemic, they both agreed that running a business is often just as much about the internal, mental work as it is about the external. Their secrets to success include gratitude lists, vision boards, and a meditation practice. As we look to an unpredictable new year, a spirit of resilience will remain just as important as any business strategy. Maintaining it will require constant focus—but no small business owner is a stranger to hard work.
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