2012's Top Growth Industries
We’re not happy about it, but it is a fact that the downward turn of our economy has left many Americans in financial distress and increasingly indebted to creditors.
The debt collection industry has risen from the ashes of our economy and has experienced massive growth in the past two years. According to IBISWorld, the average debt collection agency will be generating a profit margin of 10 percent by 2015, up from about 5.9 percent in 2010. Third-party collection agencies reap the benefits when companies look to them to do the dirty work and confront debtors. And as employment and the housing market regains some footing and people are more capable of paying back their loans, debt collectors actually have something to collect.
Job Training and Career Counseling
The growth of the career training industry is a somewhat obvious extension of our nation’s economic troubles—when people are forced to leave their jobs or switch careers, they need to sharpen up their skills to pay their bills. That’s where job training steps in, taking aid from a new wave of government-funded programs to help job seekers eclipse their competition and help employers improve their odds of finding the best of the best.
E-Commerce and Auction Sites
As 2012 emerged, Internet retailers had plenty of reasons to celebrate. The 2011 holiday season brought the industry its strongest sales ever. In fact, online holiday sales in 2011 beat the previous year by 14 percent.
So, if the economy’s still faltering, why is online retail booming?
There are a few factors at play, but we’re betting on the increasing popularity of making mobile purchases sales from smartphones and tablets.
An IBM report found that sales from mobile devices doubled in 2011, up 11 percent from 5.5 percent. The combined power of the ease of mobile shopping and the evolution of mobile devices will surely keep those numbers climbing throughout 2012.
In February’s feature on the most expensive Super Bowl ads of all time, we filled you in on the fact that the average 30-second Super Bowl commercial slot now costs about $3.5 million dollars, excluding production expenses. Now, the Super Bowl is, if you will, in a different league of advertising exposure, but its escalating ad pricing is indicative of the industry’s development as a whole. Consumer response is increasing and analysts predict that within the next five years digital ad spending will double. Companies that can savvy up enough to throw their money into the right digital media outlets will see the best returns.
One of the main reasons biotechnology is expected to grow massively in 2012 is the fact that it has a hand in the development of a variety of other industries. Health care, crop production for food and other products and environmental consulting all rely on advancements in biotechnology to thrive. Strict regulations and even stricter allotment of funding produce challenges for the biotech industry, but it has still continued to show impressive growth through the beginning of 2012. Paragon Financial reported earlier this year that both small and large biotechnology companies had outperformed the broader Nasdaq market by a wide margin and that the industry was up more than 14 percent over last year.
Call it revenge of the nerds if you’d like, but the fact remains that the video game industry has been one of the fastest growing global industries of the last several years. As technology continues to advance, video games will simply become more complex and more influential.
Last year, US gaming industry sales hit a record amount—$18.6 billion with 15 percent growth over 2010. The PC Gaming Alliance expects that the industry will grow about 37 percent to an astounding $25 billion by 2015.
During this year’s SXSW Interactive festival, a panel on the future of games—just one of many of the festival’s gaming-focused panels—shone a spotlight on the industry’s power. A group of journalists, including Kill Screen Magazine founder and editor Jamin Warren, Matt Buchanan, Morgan Webb, N’Gai Croal and Ross Miller, weighed in on the evolution of gaming.
“I think in 30 years, we’re going to look back at the idea of holding a controller, sitting in front of a screen and think, ‘oh, how quaint,’” said Warren.
We’ve already seen a remarkable progression in the way people think about games. They are no longer tailored for tech-savvy audiences, and companies like Zynga are making games a part of our daily activities. (Anybody with a grandma hooked on Farmville can attest to that). Plus, the increasing action element of gaming is transforming it from a spectator event to a participatory experience. When people are waiting for an opportunity to play, the energy and emotion of the room changes.
What’s next for gaming? Well, nobody really really knows, but Buchanan pointed out that biometric sensors are getting cheaper, so gaming controls are becoming more advanced. The possibilities really are endless.
And of course, gaming doesn’t even always have to be all about play. Gamification has been gaining traction in education (as a means to get students thinking about innovation), business (as a means to give employees incentives for performance) and cultural institutions (as a means of embracing games as an art form).
“The future of gaming isn’t just technology—it’s culture,” says Warren.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.