In addition to working with thousands of small business owners each year, I also work very closely with trainers, consultants, and small marketing agency owners. These people are, of course, small business owners in their own right. Nevertheless, this work gives me special insight into the challenges, workings and characteristics of this specific niche of business owners. (You can learn about the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network here)
With that in mind, I present the 5 biggest trends that will affect coaches and mentors in 2021 and beyond.
However, I need to add a 2020 disclaimer – I don’t know what 2021 will bring, and anyone who claims that they are is delusional, lying, or just speculating. So, while everything I’m about to share is all or nothing next year, please don’t request a refund.
As much as anything, 2021 will be about reappraisal, rediscovery and full recovery.
And that leads me to my first instinct, which is pretty much meta, into a post about coaches and mentors.
1) Explosion in coaching and mentoring practices
The good news is, it’s business going to happen next year. As corporate giants reevaluate their business models, some current employees will jump into the world of consulting. These small, agile firms will compete with huge, slow-moving, expensive consulting options.
You can expect a lot of personal growth next year and the doors open to wellness, mindset and skills coaching practices of all shapes and sizes. (In fact, we have created a Certified Marketing Manager program for 2021)
Of course, look for coach certifications, coach training programs, and “coach” coaches to follow this growth trend.
2) More and more crowdsource talent firms
Much related to trend number one is the constant shrinkage of silent departments for everything. Marketing departments of the future will become very lean and rely on quick-strike teams that can be assembled for specific initiatives and campaigns.
Look for freelancing sites like Upwork to join the game of assembling teams.
3) Social media engagement becomes more specific
Almost every social media platform got a little more complicated last year. To stand out and increase market share. Features such as reels, stories, and stitching enable content creators to produce in multiple formats that require short, attention-grabbing tricks to compete.
The simple fact is that with a team consisting of someone other than a full-time social media influencer, it has become too overcrowded and too complicated to attempt to compete on multiple platforms.
Look for consultants with expertise and scatter in platform-specific strategy and similarly look for businesses to rein in your social media involvement.
Social media will continue to drive more transactions, but only if done near perfection.
4) People want fast consumption
Spending between eight and nine hours a day in front of a screen while “working” with video calls has largely quelled the appetite for anything streaming that isn’t full-fledged entertainment.
Does the world need that streaming video of you driving in your car talking about how real the struggle is? Um, it’s not a tough one. (If I cursed in my writing, this is what I would do.)
Do we want concise, punchy, maybe even a little funny, but content to the point? Can I have Amen now? This is a bit ironic but consider this; We can consume almost three times the amount of reading material as compared to listening.
I’m from the Midwest, so I don’t talk very fast, about 150 words a minute. But I am a fast reader, about 600 words per minute. So, don’t assume that audio and video content is what everyone wants. What we want is something that entertains or provides value quickly. (Though I’d give a major plug because of the portability of the audio stuff – you can listen while doing many other things.)
5) AI becomes very practical
I wrote about this idea in my general 2021 Small Business Trends post, but it certainly permeates anyone who produces or produces content or helps others create content.
Almost every Trends article you’ll come across this year will talk about AI in some form or the other. While I mention this here as a trend, I do so for some of the practical things that technology now brings rather than the promise of the future.
Without knowing too much about the workings, the roll-out of Generative Pre-Trend Transformer 3, or GPT-3, in mid-2020 made AI a useful tool for many applications.
No longer limited to those pesky bots on website help desks, AI is now being embedded into our basic typing tasks. You might have noticed that when you compose an email in Gmail, the application keeps suggesting you to end your sentences.
This is not just a feature added by Google; It is the AI at work that powers routine tasks.
This fall, I wrote my latest book, ultimate marketing engine (HarperCollins Leadership September 2021), entirely in Google Docs. I was amazed at how often the suggested AI helped me write better or at least easier sentences than a simple suggested start.
Look for a range of tools, services, and websites aimed at making writing easier in 2021. Tools like Headlime, Letly, Descript and Marketmuse will change the way content is created.
AI applications can already write an article based on a handful of Fed keywords. Now, is this award winning prose? Well, no, but is that blog post you paid someone $15 to write as good as AI – probably not. AI writers can give you 80% of the way to get you there, and then you, that brilliant content strategist, can spend your energy making it shine and have it read by others.
It will shake up the content creation, social posting and freelance industries dramatically.
This crystal ball material is fun, but more than anything, be curious in this coming year, and you may actually discover a new and exciting chapter in business and life because the only thing I know for sure is It is that change will keep coming.
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7 Steps to Grow Your Consulting Practice Without Adding Overhead
The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network Has Helped Me Grow My Business 40% in the last 12 months. ~ Michael Quinn – The Michael Quinn Agency, Fargo, ND