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    The Multi-Platform Business Opportunity

    Since the mid-1980s I’ve been involved in information, media, and technology. There were exciting times back then as each year we saw major changes surface in what was possible – from the expansion of targeted television programming and interactivity, to proprietary information industry networks like the real-time market data industry on Wall Street. But I can tell you there’s no time as exciting as right now for what I call, “the multi-platform business.”

    Instead of one platform and channel creating a path to customers, businesses have the opportunity to drive new business and serve clients with multiple platforms. What does this mean? You can service clients face-to-face, you can service them online, you can service them using mobile devices, you can service them through the post office, and you can service them through multiple other channels working along with partners. In other words, there are no limits today to the way you can reach clients, engage them, drive new activities, and thus create new transactions, revenues, gifts, and donations. The problem is that I rarely run into a business that is doing this effectively.

    Email and text notifications, video access, online purchasing, e-membership cards, on-boarding online, online training and orientation, coaching online, virtual classes and conferences, audio guides and instruction, and much, much more is possible for every business today. But most businesses are locked into one model which has worked for them. The challenge is that most business leaders think of new advancements as trends – and not tools.

    The growth of the Internet and social media has had everyone rushing to put in place the lastest technology capability that’s heavily promoted. Over the years I’ve seen private corporate television networks, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, email, webinars, social media, live webcasting and more have its turn as the dominant enabling technology.  But what’s interesting is that none of them go away. Instead, we now have all these tools in our arsenal. Aside from the fax machine, we typically don’t replace technology platforms, we just add them to our toolkit. (The exception could be in the music business where the shift to digital-only has been real – but even there we’re seeing vinyl records reclaim their place and cachet.)

    The question: how can you better use the available technology toolkit – now cheaper to implement and fully accepted by the marketplace -- to expand your reach as a business and send your message of excellence to your tribe? This is worth pondering for more than a few minutes as we enter a new year of possibilities for your organization. What most businesses need today is the will to move forward, and a well-thought-out plan to execute across multiple platforms, creativity and experimentation in doing so, and a commitment to make more than one of these vehicles work financially.

    At no other time in history have there been more ways to drive results to your business. And today the technology is there to do it, more affordable than ever before. I say, you must make the development of a multi-platform strategy to serve your clients, audience, fans, and supporters among your top priorities right now. That priority is at the top of my list.

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