Welcome to 2020. What better way to kick off the new year than by looking ahead at key trends affecting the business community. We asked several leaders to identify a trend in their industry they felt other business leaders should know about. Here’s a peek at what they told us. 

The impact of voice search
Rachel Adams, executive director, Two Rivers Marketing
In the last few years, personal digital assistants dramatically changed the way consumers access information online. Beginning with the Google voice search app for iPhone, then Siri and Cortana, user habits moved slowly to voice search. But this is rapidly changing. By the start of 2019, Amazon reported more than 100 million Alexa-powered devices sold. Now, just a year later, market saturation of voice search devices has reshaped consumer search habits. In 2020, it’s estimated that 55% of queries will be voice searches. For marketers seeking to boost content engagement, traffic or online conversions, this means a sea change in both paid and organic strategy. … Expect voice search to place a premium on search intent, the why behind a user’s query. Users tend to turn to search engines at key moments — often when they want to do research, locate something, learn to do a task better, or make a purchase. Tailoring content to meet their need in those moments will be critical to marketing and business success in 2020. 

Data drives agriculture productivity, sustainability
Billi Hunt, executive director, America’s Cultivation Corridor
For decades, farmers have been collecting data, then using that information later to make decisions to provide better animal care or improve yields. New innovations in data analytics, predictive agriculture and connectivity with smartphones and other devices are leading to a step change in how that data can be reported and analyzed to quickly make precise management decisions. … As consumers increasingly want to know how their food is produced, farmers are capturing and reporting information about conservation practices like minimum tillage and cover crops, precise application of fertilizers and other inputs, and how animals are raised. This information is shared with food processors, retailers and ultimately consumers. 

Cloud security initiatives
Sherri Davidoff, CEO, LMG Security & BrightWise
Businesses have rushed to move data and services to the cloud — and are often shocked to discover later that cloud providers do not always handle security. In fact, certain aspects of security (such as password selection) are the responsibility of businesses themselves, not the cloud provider, and criminals often take advantage of these weaknesses to break into valuable online accounts. During 2019, we saw an epidemic of cloud data breaches, including a rash of email hacking cases where criminals steal sensitive data and reset passwords for other accounts. High-profile cases, such as the Capital One data breach, illustrated that cloud data is vulnerable and even the large, sophisticated financial institutions are at risk. This coming year, we expect to see organizations investing in cloud security, in order to ensure that their data is safe. Cloud risk assessments are absolutely critical, so that you can prioritize and come up with a plan for managing your cloud cybersecurity. 

Subscribers: Read the full story