What industry verticals should we be working in over the next 5 years?

By Joel Nicholson, Marketsoft

The challenges…

  • If only we had a crystal ball to see into the future!
  • Hindsight is good for learning, however often the trend has been and gone and we have missed the opportunity.  A good example of an industry vertical that a friend has risen over the past decade is the coffee business due to the rise in Australian culture on its fascination with coffee. How could you see this coming 15 years ago?
  • How do you currently identify and pick macro predicting-the-futuretrending industries that are rich in opportunities? Do you take lots of small bets to test and learn? Do you start with your existing expertise and test just a few industries that demand this expertise?

The concepts…

  • Some commentators or even futurists will look at key changes in the world such as the ageing population crisis, the growth of mass mid-class wealth in developing nations, global accessibility to resources and competition.  These influences are then correlated to broad industry opportunities such as in aged care, education, food, energy, real estate, etc.
  • Picking the wrong industries can be dire. In the last decade, if you decided to focus your time in non-digital industries like newspapers, video stores, or film processing, then you likely have also gone out of business
  • It can be misleading to only think in terms of industry verticals like retail, finance, heath. The opportunities may lay in industry horizontals such as support services, software, furniture or any service/product that is generic enough to work across many industry verticals

Actions – so what practical steps can we take to better our odds?

  • Understand your existing expertise clearly and look at the surrounding industries that are also showing signs of recent growth. For example our customer data management services in the finance industry could be applied to the new fin-tech industry that is bursting onto the market
  • Narrow in on the most generic part of your expertise and list a broad range of industries that could benefit. Then makes lots of small bets in each of these industries before picking the few that are proving most successful. Our example is to list all organisations regardless of industry with a large customer database of 100k+, then cluster which groups of companies are most responsive to our common set of customer data improvement services
  • Finally, a bigger leap of faith would be to educate or adapt your expertise into some of the bigger macro changes happening such as aged care, health, and food.