Monday, September 25, 2006

Six Future Trends Changing Marketing

By Mary Brown

1. Consumers Are the New Creative Directors

Brands that create a process of discovery drive passion and ownership of the brand. Consumers like being the creative director and feeling in control of shaping the products and brand. Born from consumers' desire to differentiate themselves from the mass market, this trend toward customization will continue to grow with the flexibility and efficiencies offered by technology at home and in manufacturing.

2. Cynicism Raises the Bar for Authenticity

With consumer cynicism about marketing at an all-time high, brands must cultivate authenticity on a level never demanded before. Consumers are smart, resourceful and savvy. If your brand doesn't deliver on all its promises, or fails to speak to a consumer's specific, personal needs, your brand will become irrelevant, or worse: a pariah.

Conveying brand messages via third parties, especially if they are a trusted, impartial source, will be better received. We'll see an increase in brands using the more transparent channels of public relations, sponsorship, niche interaction, word-of-mouth/buzz and blogs to deliver seemingly unbiased brand communications.

3. Multitasking and Info Overload: Don't Waste My Time

Consumers look to companies, media and marketers to provide information filters—tools to edit the mass amount of data available. As Robyn Waters, trends guru and former VP of Trend, Design and Product Development for Target, points out, "too much information without editing is toxic."

To effectively filter and communicate relevant data to a specific consumer, brands will need to be well versed in the art and science of interpreting, translating and delivering information. This requires cultural, ethnic, gender and generational expertise as well as sophisticated global knowledge of word associations and linguistics.

4.Humanisticn of Technology

Successful brands will "humanize" technology by delivering a brand experience where the technology is transparent to the consumer. Products, services and communications fashioned around innate human behavior, instead of the ideals of a programmer, will win consumers.

5. From Multi-Channel to Uni-Channel

Increasingly, consumers will be less aware of separate marketing channels. Instead, all experiences of brand communications will be perceived as one all-encompassing, 360-degree, 3-D channel. Brands can prepare now by investing in creating a consistent and integrated customer experience across today's communications channels.

6. Trends in Trending

With more than ever a largerproportionn of the population aging, marketing will need to find ways of catering to this ever important demographic.

Mary Brown is president of Imago Creative. For more information, visit www.imagocreative.com.

Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly PR & marketing tips newsletter by visiting www.actionstrategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.

No comments: