With the world moving at such a fast pace technologically, one can almost be forgiven for not being up-to-date on what is for offer. In any case, these four trends are a handful of the hottest areas to be getting involved with. The article will explain how startups and growth companies are taking part and leading change in these areas.
1). Human-to-human marketing
The first trend would be the movement from cost and quality based digital marketing strategies to service-based digital marketing. Instead of service being a by-product of producing something, goods are now a by-product of providing a service. This is also known as the human-to-human (H2H) model.
The world’s major economies are service-focused. As such, the companies providing the best service have gained an advantage. Therefore, it is important now more than ever to make it an excellent experience for customers. In the startup scene, this is especially important because facebook reviews and customer feedback can make all the difference. In the sense of digital marketing, it is about trying to give the customer the idea that they will have a great experience being a customer with you, rather than them just getting a great item.
To give an example of an industry leader, Singapore Airlines has become the most awarded airline due to the fact that they make sure that any aspect of the company visible to customers is done to the best possible level. This means excellent presentation and customer service. Meanwhile, all the back-office things that customers cannot see and interact with have their costs cut to the bone and are made sure to be super-efficient.
On the smaller scale, Maria 01-based startup Mistor has focused on creating a tailored customer experience. They are a platform that offers a personalized styling solution for smart casual and formal clothing needs. The website is designed to be very customer friendly and the focus is more on making the experience a good one, rather than just the clothing. For example, there is a clothing price guarantee and 14-day trial period for each clothing item, and you only have to pay for what you keep.
2). Smart solutions to get rid of waste and make things more efficient
With a population of the world approaching 8 billion, there is an ever-increasing amount of waste, particularly of objects, food and also money. Many companies have taken it upon themselves to try to make this situation better, and it presents a unique opportunity for the startup scene. According to the UN, around 33 percent of the food produced each year around the world is wasted.
ResQ Club, a growth company originating in Helsinki that started up in 2016 has become a success story in this regard. Their mission is to stop the waste of restaurant meals which would otherwise go to waste by allowing customers to ‘rescue’ the meal with just the click of a map on their app. After clicking on the meal they would like, the customer can then go there in person and receive the meal in a convenient take-away box, usually for half of the regular price. From their roots in Helsinki, the company has now gone Europe-wide with a presence in Sweden, Germany and, the Netherlands.
Likewise, startups are also combating the problem of excessive rubbish and pollution. RePack is one of the startups at Maria 01 that is taking a hands-on approach to this as it is offering a recyclable packaging delivery service. Once a package has been delivered, the packaging can be returned to RePack for a voucher. This is an innovative way of reducing rubbish while also having a sustainable delivery service that contributes 80 percent less CO2 emissions than regular delivery services.
3). The gig economy
With the nature of technology changing across the world, so too is employment, which has resulted in the rise of the on-demand economy. This has meant that services have become much more flexible and everyday people can get jobs and services on demand simply by checking in via the apps of services such as Uber. This has been one of the hottest areas for startups to achieve success in the past few years.
Uber started off as an alternative for a taxi service offering lower prices through allowing the employee drivers to use their own vehicles and work at their convenience — and for customers to book a trip easily via the app. It has since spread worldwide and has become an iconic company in the changing technological world. Likewise, it has spawned a food delivery service UberEATS where people can use either their cars or bikes to deliver food on-demand. Services like Wolt and Foodora have emulated this concept and are active in the Helsinki region. This is just a snapshot of such services and an ever-increasing number of them are popping up in unexpected ways. In the future, we might expect to see something like employees checking into a factory or clothing store and working on-demand in a similar fashion to the current gig economy.
4). Being healthy is easier than ever
Another trend is that it has become easier than ever to stay healthy. There are a plethora of apps, websites and services around which help with staying healthy both physically and mentally. Startups are particularly going on-board with this trend. For a number of years now, there are apps which keep track of physical activity, and this is made easier by the popularity of smart watches. In the area of healthy eating, HelloFresh is a Germany-based company that started off in 2011 and has achieved great success, being available across several continents, including North America, Europe and Australia. The basic idea is that you can sign up for a meal plan and then the company delivers all the ingredients fresh, along with the recipes. The meal is delivered ready to cook.
Startups at Maria 01 are also taking part in this trend. TwoDads is focused on providing healthy and wholesome cereals and juices for children. With the prevalence of so many processed foods, their food focuses on the dietary requirements, which leads to kids being smarter, active and happy. To tackle the issue of mental wellbeing, MeruHealth is an online mental health clinic also based at Maria 01. They offer an 8-week mobile mental health program with access to a personal therapist and anonymous peer group. It is a cost-effective and efficient solution to those suffering from depression. And it has been successful in its approach as 75 percent of clients has had reduced symptoms after the 8-week program.
These are just a handful of the trends startups and growth companies have been getting involved with. They represent not only great opportunities now, but also for the coming years.
Tristan Pokornyi is a marketing intern at Maria 01 whilst completing exchange studies at Aalto University. Originally from Australia, he enjoys photography and exploring new places in his spare time.