According to Thomas Oppong of AllTopStartups.com, there are a few emerging trends ahead for startups in 2016. He predicts that in the coming year a few waves will come crashing in. Some startups will ride those waves to success, others will drown in them. These trends and opportunities include:
- big data,
- data privacy,
- better analytics,
- content marketing,
- greater use of freelance contractors versus full-fledged staff and,
- increasing alternative payment options.
Not only will there be more startups popping up in these specializations and sectors, startups in all industries will need to evaluate their business and marketing plans for the 2016 business cycle to see if they’re positioned to optimize these trends.
1. Big Data or Bust?
Once upon a time, only the big boys could afford to benefit from big data. Recently, though, the cat’s out of the bag and a growing number of firms and companies are capturing and selling data at rates even the little guys can get in on. Part of this trend stems from how open people are on social media sites and profiles, and willing they are to interact with ads and promotional platforms.
Sophisticated and specific data can eliminate guessing games in demographics and target markets. Although the population has rampant suspicions about how that data gets collected, most people can easily recognize and understand that big data does have some pretty practical benefits. Which ones can you put into play for your business in 2016?
2. Better Safe Than Sorry
2015 saw a lot of data security fails, not only for startups but for established players as well. Things will likely be just as tough in 2016. As more businesses invest in cloud and cloud-hybrid technologies, there will probably be a continued growth in this industry. What are your biggest data security risks? Or will your startup be the one to capitalize on the opportunity to provide premium security features?
3. Building Better Dashboards
Up until now, most analytics dashboards are active and dynamic, requiring the user to manipulate the data to find what they’re looking for. Coming soon, these dashboards will become more passive. Instead of you sitting down and operating the platform, your platform will work on autopilot in the background and alert you when significant changes occur in the metrics you’re measuring. This will give you greater control over your information in a more real-time fashion. In fact, this trend towards automation will show in other areas as well – with a heavy concentration in marketing-related functions.
Manipulating dashboards? Ain’t nobody got time fo that.
4. Content Marketing is Here to Stay
Content marketing was the buzz word of the 2015 year. Buzzzzzz. Don’t expect things to change in 2016. Content marketing is a key component of the trend towards inbound marketing, which is effective not only at producing more leads but also by doing it cheaper than traditional outbound marketing and advertising outlets like television, radio and print. In fact, HubSpot reports that inbound marketing brings in about 54% more leads than traditional paid marketing does and saves the average company $20,000 in annual advertising costs! Traditional smaditional.
Which brings us to the next trend of 2016…
5. The Just-In-Time Workforce
Startups are always pressed for resources, and a significant portion of them end up in the human resource department. As traditional advertising outlets are left by the wayside, so are a number of the more traditional workforce models. Salaries are a huge expense. So are benefits and other perks.
Today, startups are trending towards investing as much as they can in building the best founding team and then turning to the contract, freelance workforce to fill in the gaps, if and as needed. Virtual assistants are as effective as receptionists. Content marketing doesn’t require that you pen every blog post – there are freelance sites to shop out steady sources of content at surprisingly affordable rates.
Which positions in your startup could be supplemented with a freelance team versus a traditional staff? An estimated 33% of the American workforce is now moonlighting and freelancing. Business Insider predicts that number to grow to 40% by 2020.
6. Do We Take What?
Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, have revolutionized the concept of digital payments and other major players decided to get in on the action. Mobile payments are constantly on the rise and even Dollar General has set up payment systems in their stores that allow you to pay directly from your PayPal account. Gone are the days where just any merchant account will do. Today, there’s a greater needs for diversity. Be on the lookout for all-in-one payment systems that update regularly so you can say yes no matter what alternative payment system customers throw your way!