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Ten thoughts on what's next in marketing innovation

In the past, thoughts on what's next and planning was done either in the beginning of the year or at the start of a new project.

But in the year 2020 professional firms have been presented with a unique opportunity to adapt to the new ideas and re-think the direction in which their strategy is heading.

  1. Most professional firms have had to absorb the new and adapt to the digital ways of working online and the use digital channels for communication. Digital channels and communication will be front and centre in the coming years. Using social media for communicating, not only for reaching out or from a personal point of view, but also from a business point of view. More and more brands and organisations will be looking at their social media profiles, their digital channels to make sure it is open as a channel of communication 24/7 with people who they do business with and for their prospective clients.

  2. There will be an alteration in physical space usage. How office space is used, more working from home will continue in years to come. This change has shown everybody that it's realistic. It can actually happen and that to survive in the future businesses are really going to have to look at this because, if as a professional firm an overhead of 250,000 dollars a month on office space that is not necessarily required. Professional firms will reassess on how that space is used effectively. There's going to be a big shake-up in the way office space is used in years to come and the people and processes surrounding it.

  3. Reconfiguring spaces for work flows into how we attend conferences and events. Most events have now moved online or virtual, but we'll see a lot more innovation in terms of how events are now delivered, how conferences are delivered online and that is a big sector of the industry that will completely have to innovate and come up with new ideas. There will be a surge in new apps and immersive event technologies that will make events more interactive without in-person attendance. Learning online will be a big plus. World known universities are offering free courses and restructuring how study can continue globally. Learning will become more accessible in the next coming years.

  4. With change in physical location of teams and online meetings, the next logical change will be required in how people and teams are managed. Often professional firms are run by having somebody stretching around the office making sure everyone's got their face pressed to their computer keyboard. What's going to have to change if people are not co-located in the same office, there's going to be a need for management by outcome and a more cooperative style of management that encourages discussion and encourages innovation. What that suggests is working with people, so that they can produce their best outcomes. There is going to be a shift in management styles in professional firms. Telling people what to do, will no longer help them achieve and influence the overall outcome.

  5. Following on with change in how people are managed and what tasks they perform will be the topic of automation of repetitive tasks. Professional firms in the service sector, legal, property, aged-care who are already thinking about automating repetitive tasks will be ahead of their game. It will become important for professional firms, depending on whatever industry they operate in to think about what services can be automated. Automation will help repetitive tasks being completed efficiently, with no intervention from humans after the initial setup. Automation will be an industry to be closely watched in this decade, as the seeds of opportunity are becoming more relevant as we navigate through the periods of change in the economy.

  6. Automation will lead to reassessment of value proposition. When repetitive jobs are automated, the actual value of a particular service, within a professional firm, is going to be the analysis of that automation. This is the way that the business should have been heading anyway in the service sector but a big chunk of what people are doing is just been doing the task of collating information rather than actually analysing it.

  7. Business travel will change and adapt to immersive events and online communication. Lot more questions about efficiently talking to teams globally from home and justifying the reason to fly. There will always be the need to go from one city to the next or one country to the next there's going to be a lot more discussion about why and the value in looking at alternate ways.

  8. When movement of people is limited, it leads to rapid movement of data. Professional firms will constantly have to share information and start taking digital first decisions. The definition of data security, privacy, personal and business data will have to be created. New rules and policies to deal with personal information, boundary of personal vs business data, what is personal? what is not personal? Responsibility will not only be on the organisation but on the individuals as well as to what data are they sharing? What data they want to own? And what is personal data? What is public data? How do professional firms manage the fine line? And how to make sure all online communications or data that is shared is actually used for the purpose that it is collected. This will be a complicated aspect of online behaviour and will need input from different groups working in the global data economy.

  9. Professional firms will see an increase in cross-functionality. The way that we build and work through systems is going to change. More and more people working from home, reduction in travel, different usage of space and managing outcomes will lead to cross functionality of teams. There is going to be more communication rather than less. People are starting to think, that's an interesting skill, that works with that, this works with this.

  10. Collaboration will grow. Not necessarily limited to like-minded collaboration but also cross- industry collaboration. Technology has now become kind of embedded into, say education and technology those two sectors work together. Technology works with almost every industry out there. Experts from silo sectors will now start to work at the intersection of sectors. Be it education sector, non-profit or service sector, professional firms, experts from the other upcoming sectors with new-age skills who understand multiple sides of the innovation will merge in professional firms to provide unique value. And cross collaboration will enable new innovation ideas to be revealed at a new level and help services organisations to grow and adapt rapidly.

If these points stimulate thought and make you think about what's going to, maybe you've got your own ideas about what's going to happen in 2021 and beyond. Please share them in comments below.

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