Almost anyone you meet in marketing will usually be a fan of getting their data and insights about major trends in consumer behaviour from research reports. After all, we generally pay a lot of money for them, and (ironically) many of the most authoritative are BRANDED either by a research organization, or by an authoritative institution such as a renowned business school. To some degree, this is valuable and much needed … since anyone can publish the results of any unscientific poll or survey done hastily on Twitter and more weight to the "data" produced than they should. Yet you don't need an MBA in analytics to have a voice in spotting hot trends.
For those of you who actively read and digest information about the world around you – Trendhunter.com has a home for your thoughts. Whether you happen to write your own blog or prefer to remain a participant instead of a creator, the site has built a platform for what they call "Crowdsourced Consumer Insight." Last week they released a sneak peek at their 2011 Trend Report which takes individual examples of interesting trends and applies a filter to identify some top level trends that they may point towards.
As I read it this weekend, there were a few trends in particular that caught my eye and will definitely be useful for me in the coming months as I help several of our clients with building and executing their own marketing strategies for 2011. Here are a few standouts:
- Charitable Deviance. As I read this report about how charitable organizations are using more attention grabbing methods to capture attention, I thought of the recent Digital Death campaign that I profiled on this blog. Getting people to pay attention to world changing ideas is (and has always been) a marketing challenge. Finding a solution to these challenges through creativity is something every marketer should find some time in the new year to participate in … even if it lands outside of your day job.
- Brand Reversion. I have a live example of this in my own home, as my six year old son has become a huge fan of He-man – an animated series that was popular when I was a kid in the late 80s. This larger trend is about the return of the old, in many categories from fashion to art. Nostalgia will always be a part of us, but as social tools allow us to reconnect with our pasts in ways such as rediscovering lost grade school friends and purchasing those toys we used to play with on eBay – this trend will only continue to rise. Super Mario Brothers anyone?
- Next Besting. One of the more brilliant terms to come out of TrendHunter back in 2008 was this term which described the consumer behaviour of finding slightly cheaper, but still good alternatives. Being number 1, in this world, can be a big liability because consumers may be more willing to trade down for your next best competitor. I agree with the report's assessment that this trend is on the rise again and will likely show no signs of slowing down in 2011.
- Democratic Selling. A term that they assign to the process of consumers voting for products to get made – I think this trend speaks to something that is even larger, beyond selling to donations, or content creation, or even advertising. Consumer creation or co-creation as it is often called is extending into unexpected areas and I think we will continue to be surprised each time it creeps into a new area of the world we didn't expect.
- Discreet Consumerism. I have a theory about this particular one in the sample report, and why it is placed last. If you happen to work in marketing, you will probably have the same reaction I had right after you read this trend … that you need to get the rest of the report. Discreet Consumerism speaks to the idea that there may be a backlash growing against brands and our overly branded world. This is something I have been thinking about for some time as well, and the reason for this rebellion comes down to distrust. The challenge for marketing is how to regain that trust without relying to gimmicks or luck to do it.
To download the full 35 page PDF sample report, use this exclusive link for Influential Marketing Blog Readers. Also, stay tuned as the rest of this week I will be exploring a few other interesting trends not included on that report which I think will be worth watching in 2011.