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business successThere is no question that the Internet has helped small business owners expand their reach by leaps and bounds to an exponentially greater target audience. They are now able to compete with their larger counter-parts by having the same access to potential consumers. With the use of effective Internet marketing strategies, small business owners now have the means to promote their brand that they didn’t have prior to the Internet revolution. The increased usage of social media marketing opens up even more doors to small business owners by enabling them to interact with and engage in online conversations with prospective customers/clients.

However, just like the side effects of medications we take to cure an illness, there are some negative consequences for some to the powerful functionality of the Internet. The Internet has completely transformed the way we live and do business today.

Take for instance, the small local business owner who has enjoyed a successful business based on word-of-mouth advertising and maintaining a good reputation in the community. What if this same business owner either doesn’t have a website or has an outdated one? In the past, this wouldn’t have mattered but now in today’s times with people using the Internet more and more for purchases, doing research on items before they buy, price shopping, etc. , this small business owner might find that he or she is losing customers to the competition that has more of an online presence. What choice is there but to “keep up with the Jones” and either create or update one’s website in order to maintain a competitive edge?  Even though word-of-mouth advertising is still the single most cost-efficient and effective form of advertising, not having an online presence or less of one than your competition will have a negative impact on your bottom line. A website visit is often the first interaction a consumer has with a business, and without one or an ineffective one, some small businesses are at a significant competitive disadvantage.

Remember telephone booths? Remember when there were phone booths on almost every major street? Now the only place you can find a phone booth is on a street on Disney property. Many people are giving up their land line phones in favor of cell phones. How about phones that are attached to phone cords? How many of us even have a phone in our home that is NOT cordless? (You will wish you did if you have a power failure!)

The business world is now becoming one that is consumer-driven. Consumers want what they want when they want it. Many industries are being negatively affected by both the Internet and the new consumer of today.

Email is replacing snail mail and is having a negative impact on the US Postal Service as they continue to raise the postage rates.  The cost of newspapers has increased significantly while the circulation has decreased. It is much easier for people to get their news from the Internet than to rely on a newspaper. Online news is immediate and accessible 24/7 which is much more convenient and today’s consumers flock towards convenience. Many newspapers have had to shut down while others are having tremendous difficulty staying afloat.

Travel agencies are losing business because people are no longer reliant on them to book airline flights and hotel reservations. The Internet makes it much easier and sometimes more cost effective to go online and make your own reservations. The entire market sector of the travel agencies has changed and perhaps in time will cease to exist as more and more people make their own travel arrangements.

The music and video industries have been seriously affected by the Internet. Music, movies and television are readily available for free. With sites such as Hulu which allow you to watch anything you want anytime you want, what will happen to DVD rental companies? The music industry, in particular, has been turned upside down in trying to keep up with the changing technologies and the way music is purchased, marketed and shared. The large music stores have had to change their marketing and business strategies because of how simple it is to purchase mp3s from the Internet. There has been a significant negative impact on the music industry’s revenues due to how easy it is for anyone to basically steal whatever they want whenever they want to. Copyright infringement is running rampant on the web resulting in time and resources to try to police it.

The Automotive industry has had to change their business model to keep up with the times and the increased usage of the Internet for researching reviews, online companies that help consumers find the best price, and online car auctions. The internet is now the main player where people look to sell or buy used cars, trucks and vans. Auto makers realize that if they want their cars to get good press coverage, they need to have a strong online presence.

“Survival of the fittest” is a phrase that carries enormous meaning for many industries. Those that adapt and change their business models and marketing practices in line with the effects of the Internet are those that by natural selection will survive. Those that don’t, will die off.

So what does this mean for business owners, both large and small? It means that during the natural course of evolution, unfortunately, some niches will no longer have a market, however, by keeping up with technology and the needs and wants of the consumer, it is very possible to alter your company’s offerings to be able to continue giving your perspective clients/customers exactly what they are looking for.

The printing industry is a perfect example of how this can and has been done. Stay tuned for my next post about Cross Media Publishing.

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About the Author

Julie Weishaar Provides Internet and Video Marketing Solutions For Business

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21 Responses to “Keeping up with Technology: Survival of the Fittest”
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  1. Stacy Bursch says:

    I am in “prepper” mode as I type this, and just thought about a flashlight I recently purchased. Cannot recall the name of it right now, and its in the house downstairs or I would go get it. But it produces over 200 lumens (extremely bright) from only three tiny AAA bateries. Waterproof, focusable beam, aluminum body, magnetic base, strobe, power adjusts hi-med-low. An amazing piece of engineering and it fits in my pants pocket. You need a super reliable flashlight, rechargable batteries and a solar charger. I need the solar part.

  2. I’m typically to blogging and i actually recognize your content material. The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web internet site and maintain checking for brand new information.

  3. I'm concerned by what Susan noted in her reply to your fine post Julie – Google has purchased ITA flight software. The way I see this is that Google in some ways, are competing to be a monopoly, which obviously is not necessarily a good thing whatsoever to smaller companies or sole trader online businesses – of which there are millions.
    We've seen these sort of things go before, recently of course it was Microsoft, which although peaked in share price about 10 years ago, is still far too much of a monopoly for almost any other company in that line of business to even consider entering those markets – with exception to Firefox which has managed to grab hold of a large chunk of the web browser market, and to some extent Safari which is for Mac computers in-the-main.
    Perhaps I'm a bit off topic with this comment, but Google are pushing hard for more and more search engine searchers to click on their AdWords ads, which is at the expense of the organic results. More money to Google, less money to everyone else, unless you are top notch with your AdWord usage.
    So I don't know – yup, survival of the fittest being Google in this case, but at the expense of almost everyone else, at least until some governing body steps in and puts a halt to the current proceedings of Google – the company – buying left right and center.
    Survival of the fittest is far from a level playing field!

    • Thanks Joseph for your insights. Yes, survival of the fittest is often not fair to those who can’t compete. But no one ever said life was fair did they? Thanks for the clarification about Google.

  4. Julie, you mentioned local small business, and I think that is a must for them. I have seriously considered going after that market with me online marketing and SEO experience, but so many of them are "hunkering down" through this bad economy, that they don't want to take action (spend money to grow their business). I truly think all small, local businesses could do much better with not only a web presence, but social media as well.

    • Hi Mike,

      Most definitely small businesses not only can but should create, enhance, and maintain an online presence through their website and with the use of social media. It is ironic how in tough economic times, marketing is the first place they look to cut their budget when it is in reality, the first place they should focus their energies. Fortunately, the web offers so many free ways to promote one’s brand, that all these small business owners need is the knowledge of how to maximize these avenues and the time to attend to them.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. I look forward to more networking with you :)

  5. Newspapers have been struggling to survive for years now as more people get their news online. Imagine my surprise, when we recently looked for a used car for our daughter. After searching online, I ended up on Craig's list. I was surprised to find the number of car dealers that are selling there. I remember when Craig's list was primarily autos sold be private owners. Now, these dealers are going to the auctions and listing their vehicles for free. This is just one more way the papers are losing ad revenue.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..4 Basic Steps to Better Blogging- Better Branding and More BusinessMy Profile

    • Hi Sherryl,

      Yes, newspapers have been struggling for years and the future doesn’t look good for that industry – in my opinion. With information so easily available online and in real time – their value is questionable. Craig’s list is huge these days and the fact that it is FREE is certainly a benefit for those who want to advertise there. However, I am a little weary of what I find there because some of the ads are a little misleading. Do you think this shift from print to online advertising is a good thing, a bad thing, or just the way it is?

  6. Paul Novak says:

    Although I believe the net still has lot more in store for us as far as how we do business, I also think we are rapidly reaching a peak and that physical interaction will begin taking back some of the ground it has lost within a few years. Like every other new medium, as it was with Radio and Television, so it will be with the internet.

  7. Bill Bean says:

    Technology has certainly leveled the playing field to a great degree. That's quite positive. At the same time, this leveling has resulted in an exponential increase in the competitiveness of any given playing field. No doubt "keeping up" is keeping most small business owners up…at night.
    BTW, your post didn't strike me at all as negative.

  8. Keyuri Joshi says:

    Julie, this is an excellent reminder about not getting complacent in our businesses.  Our online presence is a "tipping point" for a customer who is about to make a decision.  Thanks for the great information.  Lookiing forward to your next post.

    • Thanks Keyuri. You are right – we as small business owners have to stay on top of the latest technologies just as the larger companies do. I guess it is time to trade in my “stupid” phone for a “smart one”? Not sure I am ready for that yet LOL

      I am also looking forward to the next post as it is about some really neat totally integrated marketing solutions for larger businesses. I love that word “integrated” even though it tends to be overused. When it is used in practice correctly and not just in theory, it is pretty powerful.

      Thanks for your comments!

  9. Many small business owners don't even have a website, and, if they do, they are outdated, as you state in your post.  They don't understand that Google penalizes static websites, so if you aren't searched you don't exist!
     

  10. Words to the wise here from you Julie. There are change maikers and people who will be the last to change. You either stop getting better or you stop being good. Some people may still be saying, the internet is just a fad. Those chia pets were a fad; they came, they soared, and now how ironic – you can find them with an internet search. Thanks for the perspective.

    • Hi Pat. Can you really find Chia pets in a search? LOL How about pet rocks. I love to use that as an example of absolutely BRILLIANT marketing. Can you imagine convincing people that they should pay money for a pet rock?

      Thanks for your comments. The Internet is definitely not a fad as we all know.

  11. Susan Oakes says:

    Hi Julie,
    I just read this morning that Google has bought ITA flight information software which will shake up the travel industry again.
    Technology is changing the way we do business and as small business owners. I thoink those companies that have a deep understanding of their customers will be able to utilise technology the best over their competitors.

    • Thanks Susan – I didn’t know that about Google. You know this post was originally written as a guest blog for someone who will remain nameless and rejected because of it’s apparent negative tone. I didn’t intend for it to be negative and am so grateful that you guys see the value in it . You are right about the importance of understanding what our customers need – after all – isn’t that what it is all about? Their needs?

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