On Becoming Extinct

00011387phoneWatching trends is critical to remaining relevant in business. I received an email this morning detailing 25 things that are going the way of the drive-in movie theater. It listed a few things that made me nostalgic, like the closing of local swimming holes due to lawsuits and the decline of family farming in favor of agribusiness.

Many items on the watch list relate to media and communications and make me think of the revolutionary changes in the years since I left college, where my first news writing course was in a classroom with manual typewriters and I learned graphic design with a T-square and X-acto knife. Here are a few items on the endangered list:

– Yellow Pages directory. Think online alternatives to this hefty waste of paper.
– Newspaper classified ads. Think Craig’s list and FREE.
– News magazines and TV news. Think immediacy of internet news.
– Movie rental stores. Think Netflix.
-Telephone land lines. Think cell phones and Skype.
-Film cameras. Digital is here to stay.
-Hand-written letters. Think 210 billion emails/day.

What if I had stayed in the newspaper business my whole career? What if I relied on yellow pages advertising and nothing else to grow my design business? The trends listed above are fairly obvious today. But what trends are just appearing on the horizon that could change the way you do business next month or next year?

-Can your work be easily offshored or replaced by a cheaper alternative? A friend just returned from Malaysia where he trained people to do his former co-worker’s jobs at a fraction of the cost. But nurses are still in demand.
– Is your service easier to find and cheaper on the internet?  I can buy a quality stock photo for $10 that I would have paid $250 to a traditional stock agency for a few years ago and $500 to have shot by a photographer 20 years ago. Custom portrait work cannot be offshored.

What changes to your service line can you make now to help ensure your long term success? What shifts in your marketing approach are needed to address the changing media landscape? What training are you lacking to stay abreast of change?

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About jocelyncanfield
Graphic Designer/Writer/Photographer and owner of Communication Results

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