Five years ago, Facebook was new, YouTube had just launched and Twitter didn't exist. Now imagine, as a marketer, if you had gotten an early heads up that these platforms would become powerhouses. What if you were the first person to walk up to the CMO and say, "We should really be investing in consumer generated content and social networks." You'd be a hero. When you know what's coming up next, you can build campaigns that don't follow your consumers but are already at the destination when they get there.
The secret to being this psychic? Paying attention to startups. I'm not recommending you spend your experimental budget on a library of phonetically spelled company names led by recent college grads. But by looking at the overarching trends in cutting-edge businesses, you can be ready to react when the time comes to put money down.
One of the best sources of high quality startups is seed venture firm Y Combinator. At the end of August, it hosted one of its semi-annual Demo Days. This is when the newest companies from its fold get exposed to the public, and of course, other investors. It was when I perused this list of unfamiliar company names and snappy descriptions that I realized how important it is for marketers to be aware of these up-and-coming gems-and up-and-coming trends in digital.
Featuring GinzaMetrics, AdGrok, GazeHawk, Brushes, Koduco, FutureAdvisor, InDinero, The Fridge, MessageParty, and FanVibe.