The business buzzwords set to dominate 2013
YOLO. Swag. Totes. Although Generation Y has a great deal to answer for when it comes to questionable additions to the lexicon, it’s worth remembering that the business world also has its fair share of linguistic aberrations.
Terms such as ‘helicopter view’ and ‘eat your own dog food’ do little to help improve your business. Often, they describe quite obvious things, such as testing your products and having a proper strategy, that you should be doing anyway.
Each year seems to usher in new buzz terms, such as 2012’s obsession with ‘big data.’ While many are vapid, some actually describe significant trends that you should be across.
Here are five buzz phrases that you will probably be hearing a great deal about in 2013:
An amalgamation of the words social, local and mobile, SoLoMo is a term gaining traction among marketing experts tracking consumer behaviour.
The concept looks to tap into the increasing use of mobile phones by adding local information to search engine results. Therefore, people searching for a product or service you provide will be attracted to you due to your location.
This can be taken a step further by pushing offers to mobile phone users based on their location. Either way, it’s increasingly important that your business is optimised for local search by giving clear information about your location and offering a ‘click to call’ option so customers can easily get in touch.
Interestingly, actual sales conversions via smartphones are still very low – around 1% on iPhones and a tad over that for Android-enabled devices.
People are far more likely to use their phones to find out location and product details before going in-store to fulfil the purchase. Therefore, SoLoMo.
An "acqui-hire" is when a company buys a start-up to obtain the start-up's team. It’s easier than owning or developing its products or technology.
It’s now becoming a trend. Acqui-hires in recent times include Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and Twitter’s acquisition of blogging platform Posterous.
A US start-up called Twice pushed the trend to new levels last year by offering $1 million to acquire any “well-qualified” technical and design-savvy entrepreneurs who have failed with their own ventures.
It’s a tough choice. There is the prospect of money and rewards for all that hard work and creativity.
On the other hand, you are losing control. The company’s founder is losing their baby. And when a company has been taken over, certain roles may no longer be tenable.
All in all, it’s not a terrible position to be in. Your skills and business savvy have been recognised by a bigger player and you have the chance to cash in your chips.
But not everyone takes the money and runs. Queensland games developer Halfbrick, creator of Fruit Ninja, has been approached many times by overseas and local companies.
It’s not interested in becoming part of a bigger company. It has knocked back every offer because it does not want to lose that creative drive.
Halfbrick executive producer Ben Vale says the company would be suspicious of any predator that told them they could keep their entrepreneurial drive. The money, he says, is less important than the creativity.
“I don’t think there would be anyone wanting to acquire without having some control over the creativity,” Vale says.
“We are trying to keep that creative control to make sure our products are as good as they can be.”
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3. Pain point
OK, so ‘pain point’ isn’t exactly a new term. You will probably find it in dusty old business manuals that implore you to find a consumer problem to solve, rather than start your business with a cool idea.
But the term is taking on a new meaning due to the more seamless nature of improving a business’ procedures. It’s now about how you do things, not just what you do.
“At the start of its semiotic life, a pain point was a thing – a point at which some problem or inefficiency caused a business to feel the pain,” explained Kevan Christmas, a marketing and advertising expert, to Behind the Buzzwords.
“Then it was a moment – when the customer became so exasperated with a situation that they actually acted in response.”
“Most recently, pain point has been used to describe a constraint – a key limiting factor. In some cases, solving a pain point doesn’t fix a problem, but creates a new market entirely.”
“Pain points used to be identified in order to solve a problem so that a business could take a specific action.”
“Now they are what makes a business take action – faster and faster. We’ve moved to a world of no friction, in which everything is streamlined.”
“It began with simplification of software and web interfaces, hiding less-used functions deep in menus.”
“Now, as a result of the propensity to reduce all processes to two clicks or less, we’re left wondering: ‘How exactly do I control my privacy settings?’”
Much like ‘pain point’, ‘wantrepreneur’ isn’t exactly a bold new concept. It’s a familiar term that’s been given a slightly daft name.
The term in question? Procrastinator. Wantrepreneurs are wannabes who ‘want’ to be an entrepreneur.
They talk about it, dream about it and even act like they are running a business. But they don’t actually do anything. They sit and wait.
This is a major problem as entrepreneurship is all about action. Unless you are perpetual whir of motion in the early days of a start-up, the chances are the start-up isn’t happening.
“It is almost like an illness,” says physiologist Eve Ash.
“It can creep up on you; a moment's hesitation to do that important task, a feeling of having tried before, a sudden paralysis. What is going on in your mind? A battle of wills – but how can it be a battle when you are the only player?”
Here are Ash’s top six tips on how to start doing, rather than overthinking.
You know all of those unpaid work experience kids that are handed the keys of a business’ Twitter account? They now have a name for their situation – ‘twinternship.’
Many large firms have realised they can use this young, free labour in lieu of a proper social media strategy. Pizza Hut, for example, saw its Twitter followers rise from 3,000 to 13,000 in just a few weeks after plonking 22-year-old Alexa Robinson at the controls.
There are obvious dangers with giving unpaid interns free reign on your Twitter and Facebook pages, but for large corporates the benefits appear to be outweighing the risks.
As a start-up you may be tempted to indulge in a twinternship yourself, but beware. You should have a direct, authentic line to your customers yourself – don’t readily give up one of the best ways to do this to someone who doesn’t know or care that much about your business.