So I’m fresh back from my first ever business trip to New York (with a little time for pleasure of course) who I had been reminded on several occasions prior to departure were ‘2-3 years ahead of Australia when it comes to online marketing’. But from my few days experience with the few people I did come into contact with, I was pleasantly surprised and reassured…
My first opportunity to delve into the mind of US business owners was at the International Stevie awards for Women held at the Marriott Marquis on Broadway. I was a finalist in the Asian entrepreneur category and made sure I arrived at the event in time for the one hour networking session prior to the ceremony.
Rather than beating around with small talk I cut to the chase by asking ‘what are you currently focusing on from a marketing perspective and what are your plans for 2009?” They were more than happy to share…
A yoga instructor from Santa Barbara confessed that she is currently making a fitness series of short vlogs (or videos blogs) for download to allow busy mums and others who prefer to work out from home for whatever reason, the opportunity to do so.
The corporate fitness instructor standing at the lean to also confessed she is getting big into video – hers on the contrary however are live events where she fitness instructs and with just a few dumbbells in hand (I guess canned food would even do) you can join in with her via a live video stream, also from the comfort of your own home. Can’t make the time? No problem. It’ll be recorded.
Common theme going on here you think? Yes definitely.
PREDICITON NO 1: Everybody will continue to get on to the online video bandwagon.
Just like ebooks, conference calls and audios are not out of the reach of anybody now given the free or cheap technology we can access to become veritable video producers. See my previous blog on how you can create and edit your own video, and another on how you can promote your videos and amass an online following. You’re only letting yourself down if you are putting any pie in the sky dream of creating content like this into the ‘too hard basket’
Another opportunity I had to tap into the brains of business people was a whirlwind side line trip I took to see one of my international clients in Greensboro, North Carolina, Kindermusik International.
They’ve been focusing on social media of late, as we are too in Australia and New Zealand on their behalf. In just 2 months of having a Facebook page, they’ve amassed ‘fans’ of 500. Difficult to achieve? No. As easy as listing your page and making a mention once in fact. The effect and possibilities? MASSIVE. With partners in many countries and 100,000 active parents on their books, I bet they’ll have a large community of music loving parents and kids in no time. And we’ll be right there driving the Australia/New Zealand region for them.
PREDICITION NO 2: Having a company Facebook page will become a mandatory requirement if you want to succeed online. If you haven’t got one, check out this blog post on how you can do so.
My final interaction with a business owner in the States was the general manager of a recording studio in North Carolina. As I shook her hand for the first time she announced ‘I’ve just checked out your blog and signed up for your newsletter’.
‘What did you think?’ I asked back excited about building my community in America.
‘Very good,” she said. ‘I enjoyed reading your latest post about online video – that’s where we’re at.’
‘Post a comment,’ I encouraged her. ‘I’d love to know more about what you think as I continue to write more.’
Now I’ll let you in on a little secret here. I actually wrote that post a week ago before I left, knowing I’d possibly be too busy in New York to throw one up while away. I set it on a timer and it only went live yesterday. Cool huh? The power of word press.
PREDICITION NO 3: Having a company blog that you regularly update will become a mandatory requirement if you want to succeed online. If you haven’t got one, check out this blog post on how you can do so.
All in all, just as my experiences travelling over 40 countries in a 7 year period before I finally settled down in 2004 in Australia (let me tell you though, this New York rendevous has left my feet super itchy) again I experienced the fact that as diverse as the world and it’s people truly are, and as mind-boggling fast and vast the internet and technology is, through the connectivity now available to us, the more on par we become. I know it sounds like the HSBC bank ads every world traveler is subjected to at the airports (I love those ads by the way – great intellect and creative behind them), but in my eyes, it’s true.
As cliché as it sounds, the world is definitely getting smaller and we’re definitely getting more similar – like it or lump it.
Where once the fashion world was years, maybe decades ahead in New York, it’s now a season ahead or maybe not definably even behind or ahead, just varied. The fashion buyer from Melbourne I met on my flight home who cruises to New York, LA, London and Paris each season was testament to that. She’s regularly charged with buying up two suitcase loads of clothes from all the top stores in those location to modify, manufacture in Asia and have in store for our next down under winter next season (nice job huh girls?)
Where once the food was dramatically different, sometimes unidentifiable by taste, smell and sight, it’s now often something we’ve had before, or a modern take on a traditional meal. The pastrami on rye with mustard I was treated to at Katz deli was testament to that. Akin to my grandmother’s corn beef sandwiches, or the 24 hour sandwich joint in Brick Lane, London, it was however most definitely a New York experience, and some of the most tender meat I’ve ever had, apart from maybe Argentinian steaks. (Thanks Howie J)
Where once the music was cutting edge and a new sound, with the advent of the MP3 playing DJs (yes in downtown New York – no vinyl to be seen anywhere) the mix of tunes are familiar and dance inducing rather than completely unknown and intimidating. And even if we don’t know them, we could have them downloaded within minutes of getting a name to enjoy many times over.
On a more profound note, as fellow human beings, we all continue to have the inate need to share our stories, to feel loved, to ‘make it’ in this fast changing world, and we all have to deal with our dreams, fears and obstacles along the way.
From what I saw, the gap in technology, like everything else, has narrowed dramatically. 2-3 years? I’d say more like 6 months – a year. Maximum.