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Change Barack Obama

US President, Barack Obama, swept to power in his first time on a message of change (Image Steve Jurvetson via Flickr)

If you believe online marketing is important to your business (in other words, that your business is important), then you need to strap yourself in for a wild ride.

Everything changes, all the time.

While you were away over summer, a number of online services you relied upon may well have ceased to be or been swallowed up by a larger enterprise.

You may have found that a new competitor or two is offering a compelling alternative to an existing service.

You will have likely discovered a brand new service or app that you never knew you needed.

One of the things we must all remember is that if WE are experiencing these forces of change, then our target market and the market in general will be too.

But rather than view change as a threat or burden, let’s see if we can find opportunity beneath the surface.

Some striking changes online

The big change in recent weeks has been LinkedIn, the business networking website, announcing that it has cancelled Answers.

Answers was a question and answer forum that let people seek advice, share wisdom and get invited to join projects.

The problem was, not enough of LinkedIn’s 200 million members were using it.

Instead, Linked In members and many other netizens with questions, were using a service called Quora.

Quora elegantly handles the question and answer medium, in a way very similar to the Linked In service, but has won the arm wrestle and won over the crows.

Rather than dwell on the ‘failure’ aspect of closing a service, Linked In is showcasing something else.

The site is showing that it will marshall its resources and use them in areas core to its business, rather than flog a dead horse by dragging out one part of its business that the market had shunned.

Payvment says goodbye with grace

Another service that is in the throes of closing is Payvment, so there were some worried emails when the announcement came through.

This was another handy service offering free online shop interfaces for Facebook Pages.

I have a number of clients using it.

However, unlike some web services that simply say ‘we’re going, grab your stuff’, the Payvment team has arranged for a simple migration to a different service for its users. Here’s part of what they wrote to us:

We know your Facebook store is important to you, so we’ve partnered with Ecwid, a leading e-commerce provider with a great Facebook store application and have collaborated to provide a ‘one-click’ transfer of your Payvment store to their platform. The Ecwid Customer Care team is ready to help guide you through the transition and help you keep selling on Facebook!

If you were closing, would you have bothered to strike a deal with another supplier to look after your customers?

The gift of change

As we set out into another year of possibilities, it might be wise to put a little time aside to think about:

  • new habits and preferences in the marketplace
  • our offerings and their delivery mechanisms
  • whether we need to inflict a little change on ourselves for improved efficiency

Approached the right way, change will be a positive force.

But, either way, change will be a constant.

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