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Entries Tagged as 'Trends'

Who determines absolute value?

March 5th, 2014 · Books, Branding, Trends

AbsoluteValueMany people, myself included, believe in the power of a strong brand. Brand positioning has influenced buying decisions for years and a company with a strong sense of their own brand and a commitment to authentically walking out that brand is at an advantage over their competitors.

In the past, a great brand could significantly influence if not determine the absolute value of a product or service.

But, is that marketing truth evolving?

I’ve just finished reading the book Absolute Value, What Really Influences Customers in the Age of Nearly Perfect Information* by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen and it digs into this issue. The book offers many examples of how consumers have viewed and evaluated brands in the past and how they are coming to interact and judge them today. When you see the trends spelled out, in example after example, it’s pretty eye opening.

To kick things off — the authors list 5 widely held beliefs and suggest that they are all becoming less true today.

  1. A company’s brand is more important today than it has ever been
  2. Nurturing loyalty should be the marketer’s primary, day-to-day concern
  3. All customers are irrational
  4. An overload of opinions may actually paralyze people
  5. Positioning is the most important part of the marketing game

The authors assert that most brands are losing their role as a definer of quality and that a consumer’s past satisfaction is not as anchoring as it used to be. They also contend that because of the abundance of rational information that is so readily available to all of us, our methods of evaluating products and services has changed dramatically.

We really don’t shop/buy the way we used to. Let’s say you need to buy a car. Back in the day, you either went to a dealer based on your brand preference or you might have reacted to a TV spot or your neighbor’s experience.

But today, what would you do? You would look online and read the reviews. You’d look at safety reports. You’d then go to a site and could review exactly what the dealer paid for any car you were interested in. Finally, armed with print outs and a price you knew was 3% over dealer invoice, you’d head to the dealership.

Suddenly, you have access to all kinds of data that wasn’t readily available a decade ago and much of that data is ranking, grading and critiquing the item in question.

Given those two choices – a fuzzy brand preference or hundreds/thousands of reviews from other people – which do you think will influence you more today?

If you’re like most other people, you’ll trust the masses more than your own perception or previous experiences, unless you’re already a brand zealot.

That’s where the problem comes in for marketers. In this new marketplace, there’s a voice that is overshadowing theirs. And it’s not just word of mouth. It’s word of mouth, amplified. Many voices and they’re so much easier to find/listen to. And it turns out, their collective wisdom and experience is quite compelling.

This book is a thought provoking read. (Buy a copy of the book**) It will make the marketer in you tilt your head and really wonder about the effectiveness of your efforts. It will make the consumer in you examine your own purchasing patterns and identify some of your biggest influencers.

But whichever hat you’re wearing — it will force you to look at our world and your work in marketing a little differently. Just like your consumers are doing.

 

 

 

*I received a copy of this book from Emanuel Rosen but I really did read it and I really liked it and found it thought provoking.  You’d be amazed at the number of books I receive that I don’t really like… and therefore, don’t mention to you.

**Amazon affiliate link

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Trends we can’t ignore

January 31st, 2014 · Trends

 

In marketing, we’re always being asked to look into the future and foresee what’s coming down the road. We get plenty of help as the New Year rolls in, as the predictions freely flow.

One of the most comprehensive looks at the coming year is JWT’s Trend Report. Their report is the culmination quantitative, qualitative and desk research throughout the year. They identify the top ten trends that they believe will significantly impact the coming year and explore how these trends will show up and impact our day to day lives. It won’t surprise you that technology finds itself in the center of most of the trends – interestingly, in some cases as we embrace it and in others, as we try to escape it.

Let’s take a look at the ten trends and how we’re already seeing signs of them in our world.

Immersive Experiences: This trend has significant marketing impact. It’s all about how consumers don’t want to passively watch – they want to actually be immersed in their entertainment, narratives and brand experiences.

Early signs: In 2013, visitors to the Museum of Modern Art could control the rain in a special exhibit and Nike launched their “The Art of Science of Feeling” in New York City, using sensory technology to simulate barefoot running on various surfaces to promote the Nike Free Hyperfeel shoe.

Do You Speak Visual: We’re shifting to a visual vocabulary that relies on photos, video snippets and other imagery, chipping away at the need for text. Apps like Snapchat and Pinterest are making photos the medium of choice.

Early signs: Taco Bell has been sending disappearing, 10-second coupons and new product teasers to consumers using Snapchat and Sony created a program called “Pin it To Give It” that donated a dollar to the Michael Phelps Foundation every time a Pinterest user re-pinned from the board.

Proudly Imperfect: Imperfection in its messy, ugly and flawed glory—is taking center stage in a world that’s become neatly polished and curated. Imperfections provide an unfiltered, very human version of reality that reflects all the diversity that’s seen in everyday life.

Early signs: For a while, everyone was focused on putting their best photo shopped foot forward in their profile photos and status updates. Recently ugly selfies have become a counter to the glamorous self-portraits that proliferate on social media. Trending today are selfies that get tagged with #badhairmondays or #nomakeup moments.

The End of Anonymity: Thanks to the barrage of new technologies and ever increasing efforts to collect personal data, it’s practically impossible to remain unobserved and untracked. As anonymity becomes more elusive, consumers will pushback and there may be a growing paranoia around technologies and services that affect privacy.

Early signs: NEC IT solutions developed a facial recognition system and are selling it to retailers to help salespeople recognize VIP customers and on the flip side, counter-surveillance fashion and accessories are on the upswing for those who don’t want their data collected; OFF Pocket designed by technologist Adam Harvey blocks GPS, wi-fi or cellular signals from reaching a mobile phone.

Raging Against the Machine: As we move further into the digital age, we’re starting to both fear and resent technology, worrying about what we’ve lost as we chase this unprecedented speed of change. 65% of American adults believe that technology is taking over our lives.

Early signs: In Amsterdam, Kit Kat launched wi-fi free zones for people to “have a break.” Simple “analog” toys like wooden puzzles, simple costumes and blocks are flying off the shelf as adults hunger to give their kids a taste of a non-tablet, non-tech life.

Remixing Tradition: No one can say that the world isn’t changing. Our social norms have been dramatically altered and it’s not about to stop now. With this shift comes a new blending of cherished traditions with some very interesting twists that reflect this new world.

Early signs: Pope Francis, who is proving to be far more progressive than his predecessors is shaking up some Catholic traditions and is the first Pope to embrace Twitter. Another sacred icon, funerals, is now being live-streamed so that those far away can join in the event.

Mobile Opens Doors: Especially in emerging markets and poverty stricken areas, mobile devices are becoming a gateway to new business tools, education, and new markets.

Early signs: iCow is a mobile application that helps cattle farmers in Kenya optimize milk production and provides tips to keep the animals healthy. The app also keeps track of milk production, breeding and gestation.

Telepathic Technology: As brain-computer interfaces become more sophisticated and accurate, we are getting closer and closer to actually being able to read someone’s mind and mood. This technology can then instantly create custom responses, based on the data input.

Early signs: In Australia, as part of an effort to raise awareness about driving a car was designed that uses neuron-technology to make it go when drivers are paying attention and slow when they’re not. In a joint project, the Japanese and US Armies are attempting to develop a helmet that would read brainwaves and eventually could allow soldiers to transmit code words to each other just through the power of their minds.

Mindful Living: It should come as no surprise to us that the bombardment of technology upon our daily lives is causing both a huge surge in usage and an almost counter culture shunning of it. People are hungry to live in a more conscious way, shutting out distractions and focusing on the moment.

Early signs: Google holds bimonthly silent “mindful lunches” that allow their employees to commune with themselves and just be. Along the same lines, there’s a big backlash against the FOMO (fear of missing out) movement, which drives people to multitask and feel stressed because they can never keep up. The JOMO (joy of missing out) crowd encourages people to be grateful that they can and do shut down their technology and the noise that comes with it.

The Age of Impatience: Ironically, the last of the ten trends is all about how the constant on-demand economy and information flow has accelerated consumers’ expectation for speed and ever-availability. This combination of impatience and impulsiveness just keeps intensifying.

Early signs: This is one of the more mature trends, so it feels pretty mainstream. Services like Netflix have turned us into binge watchers – often consuming an entire season’s worth of shows in a single weekend. In the same vein, Amazon’s same or next day delivery has made the more typical 3-5 days delivery seem out of touch and unrealistic.

These are trends we can’t ignore.  They’re already influencing our world and it’s just begun.

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Direct mail is the hot new media

November 15th, 2013 · Media, Trends · 13 Comments

Who would have thought it?  People have been predicting the death of direct mail for over a decade.  And yet, here we stand in 2013 and have to admit — direct mail is the hot new media. As everyone flocks to spending more time online, a curious thing happened  Our mailboxes got a lot less [Read more...]

In marketing the constant is change

May 29th, 2013 · Strategy, Trends · 2 Comments

You know, the annoying thing about clichés is that they’re based in truth, even though that truth may be a bit worn in places. And lately I’ve been very aware of the idiom “the only constant is change” as it relates to business and especially to marketing. Maybe it’s always been this way and our [Read more...]

How does your paper resume stack up to this?

May 1st, 2013 · Innovation & Creativity, Trends · 3 Comments

The world has changed.  Things are different.  This is the new normal.  This ain’t your grandaddy’s marketing. We can say it a million ways but some folks just aren’t going to get it.  Or at least not yet. With the tools out there, the connections that can be made and the audience’s diminishing tolerance for [Read more...]

What do consumers want from brands?

April 24th, 2013 · Customers/Clients, Marketing, Psychology, Trends · 4 Comments

That’s the age-old question, isn’t it? When you think about everything we’ve experienced in the last decade and a half – from the Y2K scare to 9/11, Iraq and then the recession – no wonder that a certain level of insecurity about the future has become a permanent part of our psyche as we ease [Read more...]

JWT Intelligence — Trends for 2013

December 21st, 2012 · Trends · 3 Comments

The end of the year = predictions for the upcoming year.  All of them are interesting but the one I really put stock in is JWT‘s annual trends report.  They invest a huge amount of time and money to explore and investigate our culture and I’m always impressed by the line-up of experts they reach [Read more...]

Email open and click rates – are they rising?

September 11th, 2012 · Media, Trends · 8 Comments

(download full-sized infographic made by B2BMarketing.net) Interestingly, the answer is yes.  And no.  According to a recent study done by Experian Cheetahmail (download the white paper) shows that open rates are up but click rates are down a little bit in the 2nd quarter of 2012. (As you can see by the infographic above, different studies [Read more...]

Are you making one of these 7 content marketing mistakes?

May 29th, 2012 · Love affair with customers, Storytelling, Trends, Web/Tech · 3 Comments

It seems like everyone is talking content marketing these days, like it’s it hottest thing since sliced bread. Of course, for many businesses — this is just a new name for something they’ve been practicing for eons.  They’ve been creating valuable newsletters or writing white papers for years. Which does not mean that you’re doing it as [Read more...]

Content marketing is important but not free!

May 21st, 2012 · Love affair with customers, Strategy, Trends · 3 Comments

One of the things that irks me is when I hear a marketing “expert” extoll the virtues of content (or social or digital) marketing and to close the sale — they remind their audience — “and best of all, it’s free.” Poppycock. (I know…such language!) At MMG, we believe there’s not really an organization in existence that can’t benefit [Read more...]