October 18, 2011
We see a number of trends in technology and business today, the biggest include mobile web, social media, gamification, and real-time everything. All of these elements have challenged businesses to think differently. A new book, The End of Business as Usual by Brian Solis, examines those changes as it looks to guide businesses into the future. The book takes an in-depth look at the latest consumer revolution, the role technology plays in changing consumer behavior and how this change influences decisions and actions. It also provides a step-by-step guide to help businesses adapt to the new opportunities that arise due to these changes.
Skimming through the pages of this nearly 300 page book unveils loads of research and data points to back up that research, all while exploring the latest trends in the business world. While I have not yet finished the book, I did come across some interesting passages like the one below, which shares some insight into the behavioral changes that are occurring and where people are spending their time online. Let’s take a look at part of this special preview chapter below.
The Medium Is No Longer The Message
by Brian Solis
When you go online, where do you go? What do you do? If you were similar to the people studied by Nielsen in 2010, you would spend a majority of your time on social networks. In a study that illustrates the ever-changing landscape of U.S. Internet time,1 22.7 percent of people use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. This number is up by 43 percent over the previous year and represents a new reality. Online games followed with 10.2 percent, which in turn, was trailed by email with 8.3 percent. While email was once a critical point of inbound and outbound interaction, it is becoming less important.
People are spending more time on social networks because there’s more reason for them to be there. Friends, family, and peers all connect through shared experiences. The social graph represents those relationships we maintain online. To many, it represents much more than the nodes that define their social network, the act of social networking offers a sense of belonging. And as such, it pulls people online over and over. These networks become a home away from home as social technology brings people together. But ultimately, it is the value of each relationship and the merit of corresponding interactions that magnetize time and attention.
The media channels that compete for our attention are transforming our behaviors, empowering users to take control of the information that reaches them. The era of mass broadcasting and consumption is winding down only to be reborn through context and the relevant experiences of people and organizations we value.
The relationships that people form online and the nature of their connections define the paths for information and content to travel beyond their intended medium.
- Television programs are now live-tweeted.
- News no longer breaks, it tweets.
- Online video networks are destinations for engaged entertainment, no longer just temporary distractions.
- Local businesses are gaining greater visibility based on the reviews and social check-ins of patrons over traditional advertising or the Yellow Pages.
- The cycle of decision making is becoming a public practice.
- While people may start their search in Google, the results are qualified in social networks.
- Mobile is the new point of purchase and consumers are scanning products, searching other consumer experiences, seeking deals, and asking questions online before finalizing the transaction.
In 2010, Experian Hitwise, a part of Experian Marketing Services, analyzed the top 1,000 search terms in 2010. For the second straight year, Facebook was the number-one term people searched. But more importantly, Hitwise documented an important shift in online behavior. For the first time, Facebook was ranked the top-visited website, accounting for 8.93 percent of all U.S. visits between January and November 2010. Facebook surpassed Google, signaling a shift in attention from search to social. Google is quite aware that individuals are increasingly relying on their social networks for just about everything. Over the years, the company has introduced a series of socialized products such as Social Search, GoogleWave, and GoogleBuzz only to learn that developing products with an engineering focus was no match for a social network that placed people and their relationships front and center.
Don’t count Google out, though. In 2011, it introduced Google Plus (or Google+) and became the fastest social network to reach 10 million users. In just 16 days it accomplished what took Facebook 852 days and Twitter 780 days. Innovation is constant, however, and regardless of the network de jour, people are learning that online connections are just a way of life.
As a result, budgets and resources for reaching customers should be focused on intercepting consumer attention. While we are seeing businesses shift greater budgets to new media, most decision makers lack the insights necessary to bring meaning and value to these numbers. But that’s why you’re reading this book. It’s not just about moving businesses toward Facebook, Google+ or Twitter; it’s about identifying the various groups of customers within the network, extracting intelligence, and reverse-engineering programs to activate desired responses and outcomes. Basically, start with the end in mind and work backward from there.
Editor’s Note: The above was excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc., www.wiley.com , from The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution by Brian Solis (c) 2012 by Brian Solis.
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