Our friends at trendwatching.com spend all day, every day, tracking, watching and anticipating trends that will impact us as consumers, as business leaders/owners and certainly as marketing professionals.
They just released their top 11 consumer trends for 2011. Rather than try and shove all 11 into a single blog post, I'm going to break them up into bite-sized posts and dig in that way over the next few days. Easier to digest!
I've added a question or two after each trend — to get you thinking about how you could capitalize on it.
1.Random acts of kindness: Consumers’ cravings for realness, for the human touch, ensure that everything from brands randomly picking up the tab to sending a surprise gift will be one of the most effective ways to connect with customers and prospects in 2011, especially beleaguered consumers in North America, Europe and Japan.
Question re: trend #1: This is really about surprising your customers and prospects. How could you build in (they don't happen accidentally) a little bit of delight?
What could you do in a seemingly random fashion (like Southwest's enthusiastic flight attendants) that would generate some word of mouth buzz and make your customers feel special and appreciated?
2.Urbanization: Urbanization remains one of the absolute mega trends for the coming decade, with about the global population currently living in urban areas. Urban consumers tend to be more daring, more liberal, more tolerant, more experienced, more prone to trying out new products and services. In emerging markets, these effects tend to be even more pronounced, with new arrivals finding themselves distanced from traditional social and familial structures, while constantly exposed to a wider range of alternatives.
Question re: trend #2: The interesting part of this trend to me is the idea that people are longing for traditional social structures but moving away from them. As humans, we need to belong.
How could you create a sense of shared interest or goals among your customers? Could you give them something to band together around? Maybe this is where your charitable giving comes into play? Could you create a cause marketing "family" that holds your customers close to you, like Avon has done with with their breast cancer efforts?
3.Pricing Pandemonium: Mobile devices and social networks allow consumers to constantly receive targeted offers and discounts, even at the point of sale from a rival brand, as well as join interest groups. Brands should target consumers with offers and features such as instant mobile coupons and discounts, online group discounts, flash sales, and dynamic pricing based on real-time supply and demand.
Question re: trend #3: Okay…I'm going to buck the trend a little on this one. What if instead of bombarding your customers with coupons and deals (which always makes me worry that they're going to wonder why you haven't done that before) you create a secret place for where only your best customers (who of course will tell everyone they know) can access special deals?
Remember how much we all love feeling special, being in the know and being able to demonstrate that we're among the elite. Could your pricing strategy take advantage of this trend combined with those human truths?
Come on back tomorrow and we'll look at the next set of trends!