Nine Top Trends In Marketing

The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) has published its list of what it considers to be the nine top trends affecting marketing, with the consumer’s increased desire for control being the overriding theme throughout all of the highlighted trends.
 
According to NMI, consumers today want more control in all aspects of life, whether it’s their health, their lifestyle, their finances or other critical areas, while at the same time they want new and innovative products and more information.  And they are also demonstrating increasingly fragmented, and possibly less predictable, behavior.

This calls out the importance of having a clear understanding of what is important to those who buy your product or service, communicating the information they need in clear and compelling terms and, finally, delivering the information in a way that the individual is open to receiving it.

The NMI’s Top Ten Marketing Trends include:
 
The Age of the Individual

The Age of the Individual is a reaction to mass marketing and a declining trust in the traditional authorities of church, government and the corporation, driving a culture of consumer-generated content, products and services that are “made just for me.” Consumer customization already spans markets from personalized beverages with programmable bottles, to Puma’s custom-designed sneakers, to Toyota’s customizable Scion. 
 
Seize the Moment

From the rental of couture handbags and luxury car timeshares to “pop-up” retail events, consumers increasingly respond to temporary events in a culture that is less permanent and forever on the move.  This means faster product lifecycles as consumers demand greater innovation and exhibit a greater willingness to try new products regardless of brand.  This decline in brand loyalty is witnessed across categories as consumers seek the thrill of discovery of new products and innovative packaging concepts, and seek greater value during these challenging times.   
 
A ‘Deeper Values’ Experience

The retail and brand “new luxury” explosion that made consumers expect an extremely high level of experience at every touch point is now evolving beyond the physical and emotional dimensions to the experience of fundamental core values.  From hybrid cars to dresses made from organic and sustainable fabrics, it is not enough to have it all — we also want to feel better about what we have.  This is reflected in the growth of Ecotourism, cause marketing programs, and social causes becoming a part of the consumer brand experience; as well as the growing popularity in organic products and, most interesting, the willingness to pay a premium.
 
Back to the Future

In response to decades of over “massification,” and an unsure economy, consumers are embracing back-to-the-past simplicity, authenticity, hand-crafted work, and a belief that quality is better than quantity.  Consumers are gravitating to smaller footprint retail environments, including a resurgence of exclusive shopping for one-of-a-kind offerings.  Products with legible labels, simplified ingredients and reassuring packaging are also experiencing success.  Nowhere is the movement more apparent than the explosive growth of consumer brands perceived to be small and authentic.
 
The ‘Fear Factor’

Scandals across religious, government and corporate institutions began the erosion of trust we are struggling with today, while the explosion of widespread technology in a post 9/11 world is creating a highly fear-based society, driving consumers to attempt to take ever-greater control of their environment, property, time and safety. Consumers appear to be shutting down (mentally and attitudinally) as a result of these mounting external factors, with growing concerns about food safety, climate change and our reliance on fossil fuels.  This is translating into an increased desire for safer foods and beverages, organic and environmentally-friendly products, and significant opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to build market share through trust and reassurance.
 
The New Consumer-Centric Media

New media is putting the consumer in greater control in a content-driven world, changing the role of branding from one of authority to that of a peer.  Websites are increasingly enabling consumers to customize their on-line experience, creating tight-knit communities of like-minded people driving word-of-mouth about products and services as a result.  The internet is a growing platform as consumers confirm the increased influence of the Internet on their purchases.  In fact, consumers are currently shopping the internet with increasing frequency for a growing range of products.
 
Memory Fast Lane

Consumers have an insatiable demand for knowledge and learning as keys to self-actualization, creating an ever-increasing desire to maintain and optimize brain power.  With distractions and 24/7 connectivity intensifying, consumers find their ability to concentrate and retain memory being drastically reduced.  Not only a problem among Baby Boomers, consumers across all age groups indicate significant concern about preventing concentration and memory problems.  Nearly three-quarters of consumers are currently using supplements, foods or beverages to prevent memory problems and further opportunities exist to target the needs of consumers — from students to gamers, to mothers, to seniors.
 
Working Women Revisited

After years in the work force, women — especially mothers — are revisiting everything from flextime to dinner-time as the pendulum swings back to find a manageable center.  A recent study linked women’s entrance into the workforce in the 1970s with a significant decline in children’s diets, including the onset of juvenile diabetes, childhood obesity and other health problems.  This is resulting in more Americans committing to eating dinner at home together at least three times a week, to working women looking for healthy convenience in snacking and meals, both at home and away-from-home.
 
The Centenarian Century

Seniors living past the age of 100 (believe it or not — the fastest-growing demographic group) are raising concerns regarding society’s preparedness and ability to deliver the health care, insurance, social services and financial resources required to support them.  Baby Boomers will be the first wave of older adults to lead a fundamental shift in the demographic structure, suddenly altering the products and services catering to seniors.  Significant changes lie ahead in retailing, product offerings, and packaging solutions as well as the financial services, long-term health care and retirement options they will need.


Posted by John Harden  February 17th, 2009

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