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6 Bold Predictions

6 Bold Predictions

February 28, 2014

“I Predict...” are two pretty gutsy words. They are easy to say, but you have to be ready to stand behind the words that complete that sentence. Last week, I explained how you can better predict and, if you’re ready, I will follow last week’s article on predictions with my six bold predictions that provide insight and more information into your potential target audience.

Jon’s Six Bold Predictions

As I noted last week, good predictions can sharpen your marketing strategies and boost your sales. But you need to do your due diligence before uttering those two important words “I predict.”

Using last week’s demographic comparison between Baby Boomer and Gen Yers as a starting point in your search for trends, here we go...

1.      Spending will decrease as Boomers age

 

Which segment of the population has the biggest impact on the economy?  Baby Boomers.  There are over 80 million Boomers, and they are now entering their retirement years.  Logic says they will be more cautious with their money and spend a little less (remember, life expectancy is increasing and they may need that income for years to come).  According to Gallup, last year Boomers aged 50 to 64 spent $93 a day on average, while those 65 and older spent only $78 per day.  This is where Boomers are headed and why I predict a decrease in their spending.

What can you do about this?  If you are marketing to Boomers, you can adjust prices to fit their decreased spending. But don’t forget their numbers — so there should be a steady or increased demand for what they are buying, such as vacations and luxury cars. And while plenty of Boomers are quite savvy when it comes to technology, many have stopped looking for the newest high-tech trends. So don’t bet on selling bleeding-edge tech toys to them. 

2.      Home prices will decline  

Many Boomers are selling their homes and downsizing to smaller houses or moving into retirement communities.  I’ve heard it called “The Great Senior Sell-Off.”  There will be a housing shift from Boomers, who are turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day, to Gen Yers entering the workforce at a rate of 10,000 per day.  Do you see the problem here?  The rapidly growing younger generation cannot afford to move into the Boomer homes, and there isn’t a large enough population of  Gen Xers to force prices higher. Add to that (1) the increase in new homes being built plus (2) predictions of higher interest rates and (3) the fact that income levels have not kept up with increasing housing costs in recent years, so I predict a decline in home prices.

If you are in real estate, you can focus your attention on the myriad of downsizing Boomers or focus on the Gen Yers seeking starter houses.

 

3.      Flex schedules will continue to rise

 


When Henry Ford created the 40 hour work week, little could he imagine that one day those 40 hours might include nights, weekends, two people sharing a job, or employees working from their own homes.

 

The old way of “be here” has shifted to “flexible schedules.” We’ve seen huge companies, including Kraft Foods and Texas Instruments, experimenting with flextime. They have realized, along with many other companies, that a happier, less stressed workforce equals increased productivity.  Therefore, I predict flex schedules and job sharing will continue to increase.

 

As an entrepreneur, this has multiple repercussions. With this trend, you can enjoy increased productivity, but you can also use the newfound flexibility to minimize your costs.  Flextime means less unplanned absenteeism (which according to a Georgetown University study, costs some companies as much as $1 million annually). Job sharing and flexibility also mean that instead of fitting 100 people into one office, you can potentially save money by downsizing and spend the savings on growing your business.  

 

4.      Gaming will continue to grow in business

 


Once upon a time it was simply “buy one, get one free.” But in recent years, “gamification” has come to mean incorporating game mechanics into your marketing activities to drive customer engagement.  People love games, and they’re fun!  McDonald’s even incorporated an actual game (Monopoly) into their marketing… and people loved playing it. We also love accumulating and using frequent flier miles and credit card points.  Even your local haircutter is giving you a punch card to get that tenth haircut free. So, I predict the continued growth of “gamification.”

 

How do you cash in? Plan a game that fits your demographics – what would they enjoy doing to interact with your business?  It should be fun as well as measurable. Remember to keep it simple and reward customers with points or other rewards so you can boost the value per purchase, increase the frequency of purchases, and/or even drive your customers to new products or services.

 

5.      The sale of businesses will rise significantly

 

In the next ten years, nearly 7 out of 10 business owners will sell their companies. Wow! Talk about a fire sale. Part of this is because the Baby Boomers are retiring, and some of it is because an unsteady economy makes it more inviting to take an opportunity to get out. The store owners who once said “I’ll never sell this place” are now more likely to sit down with a prospective buyer who has ready money.  And finally, the recession of 2009 dropped business sales by 28%. Several years later, those business owners who wanted to sell have a slightly better economy and are readying themselves to make a deal. This is why I predict an increase in business sales.  

 

If you are considering selling, now is the time to ready yourself. If, however, you are looking for a new direction, you might think counter-intuitively and train or coach these new business buying entrepreneurs.  As a business owner, if you’re not selling, you can also market consistency and stability as a reason to shop at your company rather than the always-changing competition.

 

6.      We will be wearing more technology

By the end of this year Americans will be wearing over $3 billion of technology. Be careful and don’t get mugged!  Today, people are using their smartphones to go online more often than their laptops. But technology keeps moving one step ahead. While smart watches are gaining momentum very slowly, there will be an increase in wearable mobile health technology, including both health and exercise monitoring wristbands. And then there are smart glasses, like this version from Samsung. Some are even able to process data, run mobile apps and even serve as a GPS — all for about $500.  Therefore, I predict we will be wearing more technology in the coming year(s).   

 From your standpoint, you should be ready to market your products on anything and everything wearable to the Gen Y and even Gen X markets, who will be the ones to start wearing their technology anyplace they go.  Are smart bellybutton rings next?  Possibly.

What do You Think?

Do your research and look at demographics closely.  


 
Based on your research, demographics like those above and studying the latest trends, these are my predictions for the near future.  It’s now up to me and my colleagues at Brand Launcher to help our clients capitalize on them.

 

But what about you?  What predictions so you have? Send them to me, jongoldman@brandlauncher.com.

 

Taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

 

Jon