Business today has been greatly impacted by both positively and negatively by the Internet. As an independent artist and business owner, I have seen these impacts first hand and have had countless discussions with my peers and colleagues over the last 10 years being in business. There are three areas of importance in this dramatic change in how we do business today, which I feel, can demonstrate an understanding of this transformation, they are communication, competition, and marketing.
First communication is a necessity to any business whether it’s communication with clients, employees or associates. In the years before the Internet business communications relied heavily on in-person meetings, telephone conversations, and standard mail, however, in the last 20 years, the Internet has provided major advancements in how we can communicate, how quickly we can communicate and the ways in which this communication is more personal even from a distance. Business communication has expanded to emails, video chat, messengers, social media, and email with new advancements in communication always being tested and tried. When looking at the time it takes to make contact or communicate, it’s often much faster and efficient through Internet access. For example, sending a quick email to a client to answer a simple yes or no questions can be less stressful and easier for both parties than trying to connect over the phone and aligning schedules to do so. Also, the personal aspects of communications have transformed with how people come together for business. Companies now have access to video chats, for example, products like Skype offer the world of video and voice chat for free. This also creates opportunities for people globally to make more national and international connections without having to buy a plane ticket, plan a trip or greatly alter schedules to meet personally. These offerings of new communication have greatly impacted the way businesses are able to connect with clients, employees or associates.
The second important transformation is how a business’s view and understand competition. For example, as a gallery owner and internationally recognized and exhibited artist, the Internet has changed the overall essence of competition in the field of arts. As an artist, years ago to get artwork seen by collectors or potential buyers, the artwork had to be discovered in galleries and museums, which only a select few made it into. Today, artists have been able to take their careers in their own hands, creating a brand, building websites, and web stores, utilizing social media and selling directly to collectors. However, this has also flooded the market making competition stiffer, yet given more artists or creative an ability to be a success if they do spectacular work, are driven and have a good work ethic. Overall, competition in any market has drastically changed based on how we communicate, market and see the world.
The third important transformation is how businesses market themselves with the advancements and understanding of the Internet. Marketing is one of the most important aspects of how a business grows, develops and sticks around in any market. Marketing was handled years ago by direct mailing; telephone calls, advertising through TV, radio, and magazines. 20 years later the Internet has provided a marketing platform like no other and a way to connect with potential buyers in new ways. A good example of this is years ago and even today T.V. ads we marketed to segments of the population based on time of day, the T.V. program a person was watching but was a lot less specific than the Internet’s ability to target in marketing. Today, a potential buyer or client can visit the Apple website looking at a new computer, they can close out that window and go to Facebook and an ad will pop up with a coupon for Apple on the right side of their Facebook feed. From a personal perspective, I find this to be a little unnerving but from a companies perspective, this is great target marketing. In marketing companies know that it’s important to keep the product/brand in the face of the consumer, and offering discounts is always a bonus. This is a great example of how marketing has changed with the introduction of the Internet.
In conclusion, the way the Internet has transformed business is substantial and has many pros and cons. The Internet has helped businesses communicate better, understand their competition and create new ways to market themselves. There are so many more advancements and transformations in our future as the Internet grows and is understood more not only by large companies such as Nike but even small businesses.