Put your glasses on! 3 opportunities are right under your nose

I myself am an optimist, so I always try and look on the bright side of life. Perhaps we live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world, but this world can also be Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy and Astounding. It is just a matter of perspective. And perspective is what this blog is all about.
The world is changing, we all know it. But most eyes are on the future, therefore it sometimes is hard to see what is already right in front of you. “Be a game changer, think differently” said Peter Fisk. And that is exactly what I think you should do. Think differently. Change your perspective. Stop staring into the future and put your glasses on so as to spot the opportunities that are right here, right now. Here are 3 opportunities, presented at STIMA Congress 2015 and waiting to be seen by you.

1. Remember your granny

The world is dealing with a silver tsunami and already a next generation of seniors is arriving. Today, the senior care model is under pressure and the existing solutions are often insufficient. Overbooked nursing rooms, expensive health care, children who need to look after their senior parents, loneliness… Nowadays getting old no longer is a blessing, it is a curse.
Having experienced this trouble first hand with his beloved grandmother, Geert Houben decided he wanted to help. With his promising start-up CUBIGO, he developed a platform which is used as the link between different care components and functions as the interface with the end user. Its ultimate aim: involving the end user and provide them with more comfort.
That seniors and the world are in need of solution, is made clear by the success of CUBIGO. The start-up was selected as one of the most promising tech start-ups by Google, making Houben the first Belgian ever to join the Google bootcamp Blackbox Connect. Furthermore, over the past 5 years the number of attendees joining the Aging2.0 events has been increasing exponentially. It seems the Babyboom market is booming again.

2. We are the same yet we are different

Not only seniors are worth investing in. Have you met the new Belgian consumer? They are born and raised in Belgium, but their roots are in a whole different culture. I’m talking about the new urban Muslims. These new consumers are hip, have money and… are completely forgotten by you!

We are the same and yet we are different“, says Rachid Lamrabat, founder of TIQAH. “We have one foot in a whole other culture and that is something you should take into account.” He is not only talking about religious holidays (although there are many opportunities here too), but mostly about other habits and causalities. Targeting these consumers with a relevant message is very essential here. But only a few are really focusing on this. That is why many marketers often drop the ball when it comes to connecting with those consumers.
An example is this cola ad.
Cola ad at STIMA Congress
If you know Muslims have the habit of reading from right to left, this message suddenly has a whole other meaning.
Cola ad part II at STIMA Congress
The new consumers are here and they are not going anywhere. In fact, this group is getting bigger every day. Rachid shows that, in 2020, only 29% of urban kids aged 0-9 will be originally Belgian. 21% will be foreign, but the biggest group will be this Belgian mix. “We are the same yet we are different.” These consumers are also expecting your message to be relevant. Are you up for the challenge?

3. Cure yourself from VIPiritis

This shows that opportunities are within reach. But there is not need to re-target to have a shot. There still is some work left with your current audience. Because, let’s face it, exactly how well do you know your consumers? I’m sure you think you are very consumer-centered, but are you really? How long has it been since you personally experienced what it is like to be a client of your own product/ service?
Us, marketers, we all have a disease. A disease called VIPiritis“, says Peter Decuypere, known for his recent book we love events, to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. Do you fully understand your consumers, if you do not know what it is like to be in their shoes?
For example, imagine you are organizing a festival. As a marketer, your experience is biased. You have your own private campsite (close-by of course), your own tapas (5-star chef!) and even your own private bathroom (queue? what queue?).

So how can you understand what could really improve the experience? “First, make your clients happy. And then you can make them even happier.” dixit Peter.
To illustrate how it should be, I want to share my personal example of the Esperanzah! festival in Belgium. At the campsite, there were many toiles which were cleaned several times a day and emptied every night (make your clients happy). I still had to queue for about 5 to 10 minutes, but while I was waiting a few people were playing music (make them even happier).
Luckily, there’s a cure for your VIPiritis. It’s called: GET OUT THERE! Step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in the world of your consumers. Only then can you spot opportunities that were in your blind spot before.
I hope these examples show to you that the future does not have to be fuzzy. There is a bunch of opportunities waiting for you. You just have to put your glasses on and change your perspective. Stop staring at tomorrow, put your focus on today. And you will see, the future will turn out great after all.

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