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2011 Marketing and Consumer Trends

12/30/2010

Marketing & Consumer Trends

2011 is here – right now! Yes, the economy continues to languish, yes, consumer confidence dropped in December and yes, there are companies out there just killing it – right now! Here’s a brief look what those companies are focusing on:

1. Content is King – All companies must become media companies, in that the content they provide is valuable, consistent, and non-salesy. Focus on “what we do and why” is as big (while some would argue it’s bigger) as “what we’ve got is great and why”. Examples include videos, social network collaborations, flash-sales, white papers, enewsletters, and podcasts.

2. Pricing Pandemonium – While consumers have always looked out for special offers and discounts, new technologies and services mean that 2011 will see total pandemonium. Always-on connectivity is changing consumer spending habits. Using your smart phone at the counter, getting the latest deal via GPS, or bar code scanning is well, smart. And therefore a source of status rather than shame. Group buying, member sales, flash sales, and dynamic pricing contribute to the commotion.

3. Wellthy Status – Good health is now as important to some consumers as having the biggest, newest or shiniest status symbols, growing numbers of consumers will expect health products and services in 2011 to prevent misery if not improve their quality of life, rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments. The ‘consumerization’ of health means that more consumers will choose products with embedded health benefits that are actually well designed, desirable, accessible, fun, tasty, interesting or storied.

4. Search and Social Hybrid – “The crossover between Social and Search is undeniable – both help people be found, and heard online.” says John Newton of ClickThrough Marketing. A number of companies with limited web development budgets or capabilities have spent the last 12 months throwing their energies into building their social media profiles and communities. Now, as budget freezes start to thaw, it’s time for them to consider how to integrate social media functionality (for example, incorporating the power of Facebook comment boxes on site to provide a feedback loop for consumers) onto their main site. Sites will become a hub to aggregate and explain activity on social networks, and add long-form value.

5. Marketing Analytics Rule – The avalanche of data generated by online marketing is also fueling the growth of analytics.  After all, the goal is not to collect data, but to develop insights (I know more than a few planners who need to understand that principle). The social conversations are giving marketers an unending stream of incoming data but marketers need advanced analytical capabilities to identify, analyze and describe patterns amidst all the digital garbage. Unfortunately, people who are skilled at doing this are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Many marketers will look to outsource this function from their database marketing service providers, consulting firms and boutique analytics service providers.

5.5 – Tracking Social Metrics – A subset of #5 earns this trend a .5 ranking. Since businesses need to know if their methods are working, there will be more concentration on utilizing tools and analytical data to determine the success in these areas. Companies are becoming more concerned with how well their efforts are working getting quality results rather than simply performing an application for the sake of it. Analytics products and providers will emerge in the first half of 2011.

5.5 trends – that’s half of the predictable 11 Trends for 2011.

Sources include TrendWatching.com, ClickThrough Marketing, Sigma Marketing Group,

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