We’ve already shared with you blur Group’s review of 2011 and our vision for creative services in 2012. But as it’s that time of year when we dust off the crystal balls, run riot with our runes, draw lines between planets, here’s our thoughts on what different areas of the business might see in 2012. Sales For a long time sales folks have talked about the idea of personal engagement with the customer. Now that we have so many social tools available the idea that we are selling to a business, rather than the person within that business, just doesn’t apply. Social media is as important for sales as it is for marketing: it’s the fastest way to understand what really makes someone tick. Our job in sales is to make our propositions and proposals appropriate for the individual as well as for the corporate entity. That means much tighter engagement, making full use of our CRM systems to capture all the information about that person and their needs, and managing them through the entire process. Even if they don’t become a customer immediately, we need to understand how to make them one in the future. Finance Not surprisingly given our cloud life and love, we see financial systems moving increasingly to the cloud in 2012. For small businesses a cloud-based accounts package opens up not just the obvious benefits of no software to maintain, but makes it much easier to have an entire function managed remotely. Why pay for a financial controller in your office when you can work with one remotely using the cloud as your common platform. It makes outsourcing more valid – and not just for small businesses. Overweight finance functions should be a thing of the past – and 2012 could see the start of that. Finally, who’s to say that in just the same way that blur Group has revolutionized the provision of creative services through its cloud-based b2b Exchange, why shouldn’t finance services be sourced and delivered through this sort of Exchange too? HR It’s no coincidence that we’ve seen briefs for social media campaigns coming not just from marketing heads, but from HR directors this year. Internal communications has often been under the auspices of the HR team and now social media is falling into this function. As businesses become increasingly involved in social media at all points bringing the human and social elements together is an obvious marriage. For negative issues, it’s vital that the business understands when an employee is having an impact on brand sentiment. And recently we’ve seen how this can have further connotations with ownership of corporate followers under question. For the positive, it’s vital to get every employee behind the brand and able to determine who is the best person to respond and engage as the conversations about your business increase. IT Again we have to mention the cloud as the place where increasingly your IT is happening. As apps become prevalent, as software is nearly always delivered as a service rather than in a box to your office, the cloud is facilitating rapid development and deployment. Collaboration and corroboration become increasingly a part of our way of working: some of the most successful IT businesses of recent years involve sharing of data and process – all aided by the rise of cloud computing. The other way that we see IT developing is increased use of crowdsourcing, – again the cloud makes this more likely to happen, starting with companies who improve the basic offerings of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. We see that there will be a more sophisticated developers’ exchange emerging to provide a crowdsourced solution to IT development. Innovation Innovation and ideas will not just be functions within the organization. It’s not new for 2012, we know that some large businesses have had their own ideas input from complex patents to fun products for some time. But what we do expect to see increase is more innovation and creativity specialists – falling outside traditional npd areas, being independent of the product marketing function and really having that external viewpoint to making the inside business more powerful. Marketing Over 2011 we’ve blogged extensively on the future of advertising, the changes we’re seeing in the marketing team makeup, the way that businesses buy creative as we launched the Creative Services Exchange and the increasing use of mobile and social to reach customers. So we won’t rehash too much: but our biggest expectations are that 2012 is going to see a much more scientific marketing function. Data isn’t just about consumer profiling any more: the digital world means we see what’s happening as it’s happening and need the power to make those decisions based on that insight. Decisions that will influence revenue generation. Marketing and technology will move ever closer inside the business: creativity will be the outsourced element. Tell us what you think: 2012 isn’t going to start with the world in ideal economic conditions, so every business function must deliver in the leanest fashion possible. That’s why we anticipate growth on the Creative Services Exchange: the perfect example of cloud, data, creativity coming together to build value for businesses around the world. As we said through our 2011 campaign – there is no alternative but to use the Exchange Happy 2012!
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