There is a real problem with Internet Marketing; it is focused on the past. Google Analytics, for instance, provides you with history, telling you what people DID on your website. The various books and guides you can buy or download tell you how other “marketing geniuses” MADE their money. And all of the market research information you can lay your hands on is based on what people did in the PAST. Nothing really tells you what you should sell or do in the future.
That is a real problem; you cannot sell to people in the past, you can’t do what people did in the years gone by to make your fortune in the months ahead. What we really need is some kind of soothsayer who can predict what people will be buying in the future to help us set up websites and create products that people WILL want to buy. We don’t need advice telling us that this is what people USED TO buy.
Toy retailers know the problem well. They know what people bought for their children LAST Christmas. But they have already placed their orders for toys they will be selling in six months time – hoping that their predictions of what people will want turn out to be correct. Each year it is a big gamble. But when they get it right, goodness me does it turn into massive financial success. When their predictions of future toy-buying are correct, their tills are ringing constantly, demand is high and stocks run low.
For toy shops, thinking about the future is a way of life. But for many Internet Marketers, thinking is focused on the past – where people WENT on their website, what they DID and what they USED TO buy. And as many psychologists will tell you, past behaviour is only a weak predictor of future behaviour. What your customers did in the past is not necessarily what they will do in the future.
Successful businesses focus much more on the future than they do on thinking about the past. However, in these recessionary times, many companies are focused on the previous good times – how they can get BACK to those days. “If only we could get the good old days back,” they whine. But there are hugely successful firms doing well even in an economic downturn and they are spending most of their time thinking about the future.
This is backed up by interesting new research which shows that the GDP of a country is directly related to the kinds of Google searches which take place within that nation. When the bulk of searches are future related, GDP is high; when the searches are mostly about the present and the past, GDP is low. There is a clear and consistent link between search behaviour and economic success of a country. When most people are focused on the future, the economy thrives it seems.
So, if you are having troubles with getting your online business working effectively, or you wish you could make more profits than you did in the past, start thinking more about the future and your online success is bound to follow you.
- Online searches for future linked to economic success (newscientist.com)
- Traditional marketers want the good old days back (grahamjones.co.uk)
- The Three Most Important Factors of Business Success (ducttapemarketing.com)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+