The Coming Disruption Of Australian Business

There is lots of talk about ‘digital disruption’, but what does it look like in Australia?

Drivers Of Digital Disruption

We have all been made aware in recent years by the emergence of digital culture, new technical solutions, transactional changes, mobile device uptake, disruption of traditional businesses by completely new players. This has been developing for at least the past 20 years, but it is more keenly evident over the past 5 years when all of the ‘talk’ suddenly seems to have materialized into cold reality.

The cloud, and all of the changes Australia is currently experiencing, the transformation of established industry is accelerating; matters are becoming crucial because the vast majority of Australian business has been coasting along and ignoring the signs to a large extent. But now the times have ripened and people are being tangibly impacted.

The big differences with ‘digital’ is that new ideas and concepts can now be very quickly deployed, tested with real customers and then tweaked and improved – the ability to use flexible tools, all of this drives disruption.

EQ Much More Than A Buzz-Word

Emotional Intelligence has now become a favored skill-set. Technology and digital culture have completely changed the approaches to customers, we are all seeking to be treated as unique cases, not just another number, another consuming unit. Digital culture enables a business to finely tune its presentation, to build exclusivity into its marketing so that granular characteristics of social groups can be tailored for.

However, for many of the established businesses, what Deloitte have termed  long & short fuse disruption potentials, boards and senior executives tend to view the solutions as being primarily technology issues, when in fact it is more about the ways in which customers can be interacted with and the nimble responses to changes in the market; certainly technology is an aspect of this, but not the true emphasis.

This is where ‘EQ’ enters the arena. What for many has been just another marketing and HR buzz-word, EQ has emerged as being an extremely valuable business skill set!

Long & Short Fuse Disruption Candidates

The obvious growth of all kinds of social media has created an environment where real-time interaction and two way communication has completely changed how people approach and ‘do’ business. I don’t think many of the Australian business community truly grasped this during the shift, and this has continued to the present day. We see all kinds of awkward attempts, from hiring ‘Millennials’ to try and build customer rapport, to blasting messages 20th Century style.

It is very clear that Australian business will continue to experience disruption, in the short term:

  • Retail
  • Utility & Technical Services
  • Professional & Personal Services
  • Media
  • Real Estate
  • The Arts

will see digital culture impacting, driving and shaping new business solutions and approaches. We have all seen very powerfully how mainstream media has been massively disrupted by social media with the huge outcomes internationally of ‘Brexit’ & Trump’s juggernaut. ‘Uber‘ and AirBnB speak for themselves.

The longer term outcomes affecting the public sector, banking, transport, manufacturing, medical care will take more time to play out, but you can be certain that the digital revolution will see us living in a vastly different world by the end of this decade. Will you be ready to respond, to have the flexibility to adopt new ways of thinking? The writing is on the walls, 2020 is not very far away, digital disruption waits for nobody – digital media is cheaper, powerful and flexible but the digital culture which has arisen enables disruption to occur. The field really is wide open.

 

Marketing Trends For Australia In 2017

Looking At 2017 Trends Can Give Us Some Ideas

SEO And ‘Content’ Appear to Be Constants

At this time of year, each year I always have a look around at the major publications, and on-line commentators for discussions around ‘Trends’ in marketing. There are always lots of those familiar numbered recommendations, ten reasons for doing things, 5 major features of whatever; this year Forbes did not disappoint with: 

The Top 10 Trends Driving Marketing In 2017

This satisfies the trend of providing numbered lists! Anyway, this one had a significant point which I think stands out from the rest of them:

Better video content…and more of it. Yes, content is still king, but the kind of content that rules the web is changing. Social content, reviews, blogs, papers, and eBooks are all still crucial aspects of marketing, but video will be the rage moving forward. Considering the success of games like Pokémon Go, expect virtual and augmented reality to take us into the future. Brands that fail to incorporate visuals and videos will be left by the wayside.

 Video is extremely powerful, it is a content type that we promote and recommend to our clients; most significantly you can take video and get it syndicated and targeted more quickly than websites, or text. In fact we can point a video to any geographical location, right down to a street, and this video will appear for specific search & browsing contexts.

Going ‘viral’ is not even relevant, this is a persistent myth among many people on-line. The power of syndicating and geographically locating a video transcends any consideration of virality because it is not raw numbers you seeking, it is precision & targeted intent.

A person interested being treated for back pain, for example would be looking online and then see your video appear for your Chiropractor or therapeutic  clinic, possibly a short video suggesting how to ‘manage back pain at home’, nicely produced and clearly displaying your contact information, and fully optimized to appear for the patient’s location – powerful indeed! What television or radio commercial could achieve this for the investment?

Substitute ‘Financial Services’, or ‘Psychology’, or ‘Electrician’ – and you can see the possibilities.

So yes, Video is going to be a content type which will be leveraged and employed for many uses going forward in 2017, it has been developing strongly on digital channels for many years, in these impatient, short attention-span times. 

If you are interested in having information and promotional video produced, we can help you, both with the technical production and the positioning of this video product  for syndication and targeting. Extremely powerful and valuable.

Simply contact me directly from this form, or give me a call on: 0449 061 345

 

 

 

The Digital Divide Of Australia

Embrace The New Digital Paradigm Or Prepare For Extinction

 

web star services digital australia
Variations of awareness, skills and access will determine Australia’s future

Are We ‘Digital Ready’ Yet?

Digital, this word is emerging as being the most talked about and promoted term of the past ten years. The Australian government initiated a program called “Digital Ready” addressing the perceived ‘digital divide’ among the population. This was a smart step, but perhaps did not really go far enough to address the ‘Elephant in room’.

To put it bluntly, unless Australia pulls its digit out, we are destined for a very rough time.

What I see among the general business community is a kind of ‘stunned mullet’ reaction.

The 20 years of digital evolution in the western world has created an entirely new paradigm. I am loath to use that word, because it has been over-used and abused in recent times, but ‘paradigm’ is the only word that can express the transition into global digital culture, this is way more than simply a question of new technology.

 

I have worked in the U.K and exchanged information with USA associates over this time, researched and studied digital technologies and participated in the emergence of digital culture. 

In 2017 if you are not looking at digital solutions for your business then you are limiting the reach of your potential. The emergence of Radio, and then Television was the last major paradigm shift – Digital is of the same order of magnitude.

Increasingly business will be forced to deal with Social Media, with ‘pay per click’ advertising, with website development, mobile optimization, producing ‘content’ which serves a specific segment of a market – increasingly the game is all about re-launching business and cultural identity because the landscape is now very much in flux.

Content production, video, articles which are prepared for digital consumption – if The New Yorker is now mainly focusing on ‘Digital’ you can be certain the community rag of ‘Geelong’ will soon be needing to address their own survival digitally, or another more savvy and enterprising entity will snatch the audience.

This same dynamic will begin to play out in many industries, ‘disruption’ occurs when more observant players seize the new opportunities created by the digital revolution, and established business rests on its laurels, not imagining their market will disappear overnight.

‘Kodak’ were an example of this, it is very instructive to read about their story, a business that were synonymous with the very word: Photograph, they experienced what Digital means – have you noticed how they have mostly disappeared?

Kodak are kind of still there, but they have lost their dominant position, this is happening to many other seemingly giant players.

Digital is not simply about technology, but the explosion of potential options that the technology has enabled, this has spawned a completely different culture – unless we truly embrace this enormous shift in our society, there will be many more huge brands that will topple. They do not see this coming in many cases. The boards and senior levels of large corporate business can be rather like an Aircraft Carrier, too large to respond in a nimble way – it takes 20 miles to turn in mid-ocean!

Of course this also means that smaller players now have a significant opportunity, and we can see this everywhere, each street in every suburb seems to have a ‘Startup’, but entrepreneurial talent is still pretty rare; it is now a numbers game.

While all this talk about ‘Disruption’ is becoming almost commonplace, what this represents is not being fully appreciated by so many ‘serious’ business people – the lesson of huge corporate brands being toppled has not yet fully matured, there is change in the air.

The opportunity of digital is a two edged blade – there is significant danger for some types of business unless they become more cognizant of the emerging digital culture, and the tsunami of genuine disruption that is poised to sweep Australian business.

 

 

 

 

Content Is King

What does this concept actually translate into being for real businesses?

What Does ‘Content’ Mean For You?

How To Make Sense Of ‘Content Production’ For Specific Businesses

‘Content is King’, how many times have you seen this maxim being bandied about on blogs, forums for business, social media posts, discussions in local biz groups all across the western world? If I had $1 for each time, it would make a tidy sum.

OK, this assertion is extremely easy to state, and like so much of the shared wisdom concerning online publication, it does not really help you to actually do anything. I very often have a moan about the generic nature of information being offered business builders, the internet is stocked full of seemingly authoritative blogs, self-styled experts and opinion sharers – it is all too easy to adopt an air of authority and proclaim the generalities concerning digital publication. But this does not help anyone!

So this ‘Content is King’ idea, what does it actually translate into being for a person publishing a business website, working with social media and seeking to promote their organization, cause, business, charity online? And does this concept have true merit?

Where does this saying originate? This often repeated saying comes from an essay written by Bill Gates (no less) way back in 1996; this is pretty amazing to me, credit to the man for being insightful and for predicting the shape of things to come.

Back in 1996 the internet was truly in its infancy, at least as far as the public access to it goes. Bill Gates accurately prognosticated that ‘Content’ would follow a similar path to that of our other media channels – Radio & T.V as obvious examples. However,  it is the two-way dynamic of internet media which clearly differentiates it from all preceding forms. This crucial difference is highly significant. It is also where Bill probably did not imagine enough!

Right, good, we know that ‘content’ refers to the publication of information, interesting graphics, videos, text, audio, animations, downloadable documents and other media types. That we can reproduce similar formats from preceding media, like the format of a radio show (podcasts), a television interview (Video), Articles (blog posts), Cartoon presentations, Audio. The global network allows us to distribute our content very cheaply, we do not require affiliates and distribution partners to the same extent, as was the case with broadcast media. The costs are significantly less.

This is the way to approach being online for many business types, organizations, charities, personalities, creative artists, political parties and indeed the entire pantheon of social production!

After 20 years the approach to using internet resources has matured beyond all recognition to those early days, when Bill Gates foresaw that ‘content’ would be the currency of the emerging digital culture. 

What form would this take for say a Medical Center in the suburbs of Melbourne for example? Or a Building company in Sydney’s outer suburbs? A Fruit grower in the south west of Western Australia, a Psychologist in down town Adelaide?

Very clearly the type of venture is going to determine your approach. One size certainly does not fit all occasions! But this is what has been offered to you very often by digital services – a kind of template driven general approach. For even those services which purport to serve very specific business areas we have had this generic approach!

Flexibility very obviously is needed, responding to the unique qualities of your particular area. This is where we shine. Web Star Services is able to help a wide range of business areas because we have expertise in multiple aspects of digital production.

Content is one of those deceptively simple terms which actually correspond to a bewildering range of different skills and production standards. Very clearly for each case the type of content produced is going to also vary: a Medical center might decide to publish a series of videos describing how to manage a case of the ‘Flu’, or the benefits of Vitamin D3 on their Facebook page, a Building business might publish a DIY series on their blog on how to paint a room and optimize the articles to show up online to their area which include videos; the type of content can be purposed to reach and serve their communities, but also to promote their services and improve digital ranking.

Taking the production values and standards from other media areas we can produce a wide range of digital content and put it to good use. This is clearly an emerging trend and how we can build engagement, while also generating our digital presence, optimizing our sites and creating syndication, or wide distribution.

It is through broad digital syndication that today’s businesses are maximizing their investment with online publication; the approaches of using digital content have matured significantly, your website becomes your digital headquarters, and each business essentially is also a media company, providing valuable materials that potential and existing clientele consume; but also this same content becomes the PR mechanism, the means by which your business is discovered via the machine-level indexing of content. 

 

 

 

 

Just What Is Digital Marketing In 2017?

Digital Marketing Is Expanding Here In Australia

Breaking Down Just What Is Meant By ‘Digital Marketing’

Australia, we are a truly unique country. Our history is somewhat similar to that of the USA, in that we are a ‘break away’ culture from the old U.K & European civilization; the obvious difference being that Australia was deliberately used as a penal solution, and it took a rather different course than that of the republic alternative America became, Australia retained a stronger link to the origins of the U.K.

Perhaps it is the vast distance involved, Australia is obviously a long way from both the U.K & the USA – but the really big changes that occur in the northern hemisphere take a bit longer to reach us, and for new ideas and technologies to be accepted and implemented.

Sure we have our own ideas, lots of talented and capable people, but all too often this pool of ‘native talent’ has to leave these shores to gain any traction. We then take notice of them when they return, in the form of new businesses and enterprises, and in the form of new technical solutions developed overseas! 

The IT revolution which began to really take off in the mid 1990’s in Australian corporate circles, also seems to take a bit longer to respond to new developments. I think as Australians we just come to expect that we tend to lag behind the rest of the world in some areas. 

So it has been with the ‘Digital revolution’ which is playing out across the business and commercial world of the USA, UK & Europe (also Russia & China, Japan). Australia has taken much longer to recognize just what is occurring, we are participating, and there is activity and development taking place here – just not at the same scale, nor indeed with the same enthusiasm.

24 Million people, compared with the 365 Million in America, or the 65 Million in the U.K, the 743 Million of Europe, and so on. We have this hard reality of being a much smaller market. However there is a lot of business in Australia which deals internationally, and sells into much larger markets, digital marketing is a vital area.

The broadcast model of mass-media is one that our global society became very familiar with during the 20th Century, with the development of Radio & Television and the proliferation of published text with Newspapers and Magazines.

Digital media is very clearly different, it has a two-way, interactive dynamic, this simple difference is what makes ‘Digital Marketing’ a very different animal to that of previous forms based on the broadcast dynamic.

The very first and most significant means for publishing on the global network was of course ‘Websites’. However, since the earliest appearances of published sites there has been a steady development, and today websites are substantially different to how they started out 20 years ago. However, many business people have not kept pace with developments and many Australian business websites are not mobile-friendly, nor do they effectively work for their owners.

Social media has in fact become the major way in which billions of ordinary people participate online; this has been such a large shift that commentators and major personalities are describing social media as being  a ‘slang term for the current state of the internet’. In particular for social groups under 40 years of age. But even for the older members of our society social media participation is becoming ubiquitous. Social media in fact has been identified as being THE major agent of social and political change over the past 5 years.

The effect of social media has been recently experienced with phenomenon such as ‘Brexit’ & even the victory of ‘Trump’ in the USA presidential battles.

Regardless of your personal opinion concerning these outcomes, it is clear that the huge user presence on these social media platforms is resulting in shifts of thinking, the exchange of ideas and the dynamics of influence has massively shifted away from the ‘mainstream’ media outlets. So what does this mean for Australian business owners?

To describe every facet of digital promotion would result in a very large document, it would take a thick book to describe in detail the nature of:

  • Website Development
  • Video Productions
  • Text & Copy writing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Advertising Approaches
  • Email Marketing
  • Brand Building

Digital marketing is still very much in its infancy in our country, we have not had the same level of experience with it as northern hemisphere business, however it is clear that our country needs to catch up and begin doing business in the 21st Century.

Digital Marketing is gaining in popularity, and people have definitely become more aware of needing to learn how to use and leverage digital culture. Beyond owning a basic website and throwing up a Facebook page, digital marketing refers to not only technology, but ways of thinking and communicating also. The world is changing significantly, and Australia is very much a part of this world, we will be seeing much more involvement with digital in Australia from 2017, that much is obvious.

 

 

 

Website Development In Australia

Web Development & Digital Culture Have Massively Changed

Website Development & Digital Marketing

Since the beginning of mass access to the internet from around 1995, ‘Websites’ have been the default format of presenting business identities, enabling the exchange of information, the sale of goods & services, and of course presenting the business image of all kinds of commerce & industry.

Back in the early days (relatively speaking) building a website was a major undertaking, it was a slow, costly exercise with some businesses investing 10’s of thousands of dollars on expert designers and HTML builders. The resulting on-line HQ for many business owners could run into serious money.

The skills needed to produce a site which looked decent, professional and credible ranged from HTML, Java, CSS, PHP, Dreamweaver, Photoshop a whole slew of acronyms!

Agencies, and high street ‘web-shops’ sprang up in towns, sporting all kinds of garish logos and advertising industry graphics – the web became associated with predominantly graphic designers, and particularly here in Australia business people tended to look to these people to build their professional sites, companies like these assumed a dominant role in providing ‘Marketing’ on the new digital media.

Are Big Name Marketing Agencies Really ‘Better’?

These corporate marketing firms offer a seemingly glossy approach, with expensive designers, and ex-advertising executives delivering their smooth spiel with Powerpoint presentations and statistic-based graphs to impress the CEO’s and management of client businesses. But are the business results gained from these services more effective – or do they simply appeal to the digital naivety of the market?

The point is we have moved very quickly away from these early incarnations of ‘The Web’, today we have a very dynamic digital culture, social media and mobile have massively changed the game; the ultra glossy ‘high ticket’ presentations do not always perform.

The ‘big names’ of the marketing industry do not have anything more to offer than many other services – in fact many of the established big names in the high street are completely lost with today’s digital dynamic.

Many of the advertising ‘name brand’ agencies have been scrambling to re-invent themselves, they ignored the emergent digital culture, and now times have definitely proven to be very different.

The Digital Opportunity

The reality is that you now have a huge opportunity, you can choose to ignore the digital revolution, but this will be to your great cost. The world is changing very quickly, and the digital culture which is emerging via many social media platforms and the ubiquitous usage of Smartphones is massively shifting the numbers.

We need to move the focus away from raw numbers and gain the benefits of building rapport; rather than blasting sales messages we need to be gaining the advantages of customer relationship building; then we need to use the advertising tools to generate genuine sales. 

The  reality of today’s world is that ‘Digital’ is the major growth area, you can successfully implement useful digital approaches, or you can get stung with enormously useless ‘gloss’ from the big pretenders, the cool guys in that high street agency who are angling for another ‘award’ for their cool designs; which have zero impact on your business numbers.

The world has shifted, too many of the ‘big end of town’ agencies trade on industry bluster and hype. The results are being gained from recognizing the specific opportunities for reach & communication. This is the true face of disruption.

The current state of play with web development is vastly different today, excellent sites can be published far more quickly. It is in the after management of business websites that the real power lies.

The ongoing production of high quality, useful content, the syndication of that content, and your digital presence across multiple digital channels; this is the true ‘service area’- and this is not being addressed any more effectively with large name agencies; in fact it is the nimble smaller guerrilla agencies who are crushing it. 

So you will need to choose wisely who you select to help you, are the people working for your business brand more concerned with their next industry award and being seen as ‘Cool’ rather than obtaining genuine results? Avoid the generic approaches, seek out people who offer you tangible results.

So much of the message from the large corporate ‘leaders’ is generic in nature.  It seems many of the executives working in IT & Digital areas these days all read the same blog posts, they spout the same ambiguous, general digital advice, they adopt an air of authority that is not earned, or genuine.

This is why so many small and medium businesses are doing so badly with their digital efforts; they listen to the big companies.

Digital marketing should now be a large part of your overall marketing. If you understand that 82% of adult Australian consumers have a Facebook account, and the raw numbers of participation, then it simply makes good sense. We are all basically aware of the good sense in adopting digital presence building, but too many business owners still do not know just what shape this should take.