Can Media's Evolution Destroy Your Current Business Model?

What do you do when your social media audience as effectively changed the consumerization of your previous business model?

So I started my day by reading an article regarding generation Y and its single-handed responsibility for the destruction of the music industry. Now I do not intend to give you a summation of the article as I will not steal its thunder. You should read it.

The article made me realize that in the past five years, I have seen many traditional business models being adversely affected as they did not take into account changes in the lifestyle of their audience. This lifestyle change can be in many forms, but for our purposes they will be one of the following:

Mobile Bodies

I hope this goes without saying for my readers, but if you are not  prepared to service your online content with a "mobile friendly" version of your website then you wasting your time actively engaging social audiences to spend time on it. Furthermore, you should be hyper-engaging your audience to find how you can optimize your mobile strategy to better service them. Do you need to create an app? Does your website need to be more robust or does it need new features? The term "sticky" comes to mind in this particular instance. You need to proactively give your audience content, education, and entertainment in order for them to maintain any type of loyalty to your product, channel and/or service.

Brand Fragility

I discussed the term of brand fragility in the past with posts that spoke about the transient nature of loyalty and attention. But this is something that you should consider when fully embracing social media. Much of what you intend to create is an engagement of trust between you and your audience. And just like trust between you and someone you're close to, it can be broken if you say or do the wrong things. Herein lies the reason it is important to have the proper staff that is not only motivated for your success, but understands your brand and services at a very deep level.

Brand Agnostic —

Whether you like it or not, we are entering a phase in our society in which people are more interested in obtaining results quickly and efficiently without being tethered to a brand. Make sure the social engagement you engage in is progressively fine-tuned to the audience's desired outcome.

"I don't need to own it" —

Since the heady days of Napster and other peer-to-peer sharing mechanisms, we have started to become very comfortable with the concept of not needing to own the physical version of a product. Content is ubiquitous. It's on my phone, it's in the store, it's on a tablet, it's on my television. How I obtained it becomes less and less relevant as stacks of DVDs sit in the corner continually collect dust.

An Enterprise No More —

More and more industries are starting to understand that users no longer require solutions that are chock full of endless capabilities. This is especially evident in the mobile application community, where you find people willing to spend $.99 in order to accomplish 2 to 3 tasks within a given application and be content that it provides nothing more.

Service Erosion —

Taking all of these things into account, you will find that industries are doing less and less to fully support the needs of a particular product or service. The rationale being that if an audience member is simply subscribing to a service that is very DIY in nature, they should be able to service their own troubleshooting by sorting through forums and other online resources. There's a line of demarcation between physically putting asses in a chair to answer questions on the phone and engage the countless 24-7 threads on your social channels, versus simply letting the community balance itself with users who serve as moderators – whether you have officially empowered them or they are self-appointed guardians.

Disposability —

The last point about how you envision your social media and media deployment goes back to the foundation of what you are hawking. If you are a timeless foundational brand like Steinway pianos, then you want to create a sense of trust that will not only last generations but be perceived as a small investment in history.

The concept of disposability is becoming more widespread as younger generations evolve away from the need to invest in timelessness. Form and function are at the forefront of their minds, and any acquisition of such should be an afterthought. So think well beyond your brand and drop into the psyche of your most dominant customer base. Determine whether or not what you're saying has any relevance to them. If not, you may decide to redirect the importance of your product or service to meet the needs of your customers at a different level.

Understand, just because you used to do it one way does not mean it's working for you in today's mediums or channels.

  1. Ask your consumer what they want.
  2. Use this is a litmus test against the business model that you hold sacred.
  3. Summon the strength to re-craft messages that meet the needs of your most dominant of consumer demographic.

All in all, you need to ask yourself if the integrated marketing you're doing properly directs the audience to a sound business model that you have control of. If not, you need to make evolutionary changes to the future of your products and/or services. Allow your messaging to align with your audience for both efficiency and success. It's not to say that returning to your business model progressively isn't paramount in this day and age. But it might also be important to return to the fundamental pillars of what make up your business plan. These can come in many forms such as, but not limited to:

  • Do the names of my products/services correlate with the audience I intend to reach?
  • Have I created unnecessary roadblocks in marketing, call to action or directives that would prevent recruitment or retention of the possible customer?
  • Am I my selling perception, influence or simply a real-world product?
  • Do I feel that my service offerings are timeless, trending or specifically generational?
  • Should my brand's voice, look and perception be changed based upon my social engagement?