In the face of economic uncertainty, we often turn inward and look to explain the unexplainable using a variety of methods. The faithful have God; in business, we look to data, pundits, and anecdotal whining to validate or refute our conclusion biases. In an effort to continue becoming part of the problem, allow me to share a few key areas CI businesses should pay attention to as we move into the heart of 2023.
Death of the Middle
Maybe you missed the funeral, but the middle market is dead. Kaput. Gone off to join the bleedin’ choir invisible. CI has always been climbing to a higher rock, but the last few years really put the final nails in the coffin around pretending that production building and condo construction would continue to yield meaningful profits for CI. If you haven’t reoriented to the high end and maybe started looking into commercial projects, here’s a quick heads up — the starting gun went off in 2015. While your brothers and sisters might have a bit of a head start, it’s never too late to shake off the frustration of wondering where all your customers went and pivot into a new vertical.
Counterpoint: Investigating Mid-Market Opportunities for AV Integrators
CapEx vs. OpEx
Thank goodness for millennials. They ushered in an era where subscribing to everything became normal. CI companies used to chasing project work could now freely move about the cabin and began offering security monitoring and 24/7 remote support to more and more clients. This era even introduced us to the Everything as a Service (EaaS) concept where a client could subscribe to an entire technology solution with bumper-to-bumper coverage and upgrades every two-to-three years. This is a glorious time for those willing to target these operating expense (OpEx) minded folks. The resulting surge in business has put more CI businesses on solid financial footing than ever before, inching closer and closer to the magical point where all their OpEx is covered by passive income in the form of RMR.
Ubiquity Across Home, Car, and Work
Thanks to Covid-19, most of us are working and playing differently than in the “before times.” There’s now a collective expectation that we’ll be able to start an activity at home, hand it off to the car, and pick it right back up without a hitch at work. Some have called this movement resimercial. I call it removing friction. As CI companies choose to lead with simplicity, customers follow in droves as they seek to transfer risk and lean on their integrator to make home, mobile, and work technology blend together seamlessly.
Also by Henry Clifford: Upsell FTW
Artificial Intelligence (For Real This Time)
The “Winter of AI” is upon us with its blizzard of tools, including ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing. Once you’ve witnessed a conversational chatbot producing decent copy, it’s hard to unsee. These new capabilities are a true sea change for content creation. CI businesses should leverage these tools to create short- and long-form social media posts and blogs that would’ve otherwise gone unwritten. The big challenge comes in the form of knowing what questions to ask. The good news is AI will do exactly what it’s told. The bad news is that…you know the rest. It’s even led to the creation of a new job description called “Prompt Engineer.” Watch for new businesses launching to help tame these AI tools and offer integrators marketing solutions previously only available to larger players.
What trends are you seeing emerge in 2023?
Stay frosty, and see you in the field.