Consumer Trends to Watch in 2011

wpid-Trendsthumb.jpg

Trends thumb Consumer Trends to Watch in 2011Eleven key consumer trends to watch in 2011 include acts of kindness from brands, the developed world launching products for emerging economies, and online status symbols, according to consumer insights firm trendwatching.com.

Following is a brief overview of each of the 11 consumer trends which trendwatching.com predicts will have a global impact on marketers in 2011.

1.Random acts of kindness: Consumers’ cravings for realness, for the human touch, ensure that everything from brands randomly picking up the tab to sending a surprise gift will be one of the most effective ways to connect with (potential) customers in 2011, especially beleaguered consumers in North America, Europe and Japan.

trendwatching.com advises that the rapid spread of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook among consumers gives brands previously unavailable insight into their moods, wants and locations, and also provides a new direct channel to deliver acts of kindness.

2.Urbanization: Urbanization remains one of the absolute mega trends for the coming decade, with about the global population currently living in urban areas. Urban consumers tend to be more daring, more liberal, more tolerant, more experienced, more prone to trying out new products and services. In emerging markets, these effects tend to be even more pronounced, with new arrivals finding themselves distanced from traditional social and familial structures, while constantly exposed to a wider range of alternatives.

3.Pricing Pandemonium: Mobile devices and social networks allow consumers to constantly receive targeted offers and discounts, even at the point of sale from a rival brand, as well as join interest groups. Brands should target consumers with offers and features such as instant mobile coupons and discounts, online group discounts, flash sales, and dynamic pricing based on real-time supply and demand.

4.Made for China/Emerging Economies: In 2011, expect an increasing number of ‘Western’ brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated to consumers in emerging markets. Growth in consumer spending in emerging markets far outpaces consumer spending in developed markets, and Western brands are favored more than local brands in emerging markets. Western brands including Levi-Strauss, Apple and BMW have already capitalized on this trend.

5.Online Status Symbols: In 2011, trendwatching.com recommends that brands supply customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or ‘real world,’ that helps them display to peers their online contributions, interestingness, creations or popularity. This includes personalized social networking memorabilia as well as location-based games and contests which award virtual or real-world prizes.

6.’Wellthy:’ 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. Products such as mobile health monitoring devices, as well as online health apps and health-dedicated social networks, will serve the multichannel wellness needs of consumers.

7.‘Twin-sumers’ and ‘Social-lites:’ Both of these types of online consumers identified by trendwatching.com are critical to spreading positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Twin-sumers are consumers with similar consumer patterns, likes and dislikes, and who are hence valuable sources for recommendations on what to buy and experience, while social-lites are consumers who consistently broadcast information to a wide range of associates online.

8.Emerging Generosity: This trend is about brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets (especially China) who will increasingly be expected to give, donate, care and sympathize, as opposed to just sell and take. And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale. It’s a profound cultural change and a consumer demand that their counterparts in mature markets have had a few years to getting used to.

9.Planned Spontaneity: With lifestyles having become fragmented, with dense urban environments offering consumers any number of instantly available options, and with cell /smartphones having created a generation who have little experience of making (or sticking to) rigid plans, 2011 will see what trendwatching.com calls full-on “planned spontaneity.”

Brands can expect to see consumers in 2011 rushing to sign up to services (the planned part) that allow for endless and almost effortless mass mingling with friends, family, colleagues or strangers (the spontaneity part). A developing segment of this trend is consumers signing up for mobile services that passively and constantly broadcast their location.

10.Eco-Superior: When it comes to ‘green consumption’, brands should expect a rise in “eco-superior” products; products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way. Trendwatching.com says brands should think of a combination of eco-friendly yet superior functionality, superior design, and/or superior savings.

11:Owner-less: Fractional ownership and lifestyle leasing business models have re-emerged, with services such as car-sharing and public bike programs enjoying success around the globe. For many consumers, access is better than ownership.

Emerging economies are an increasingly important source of consumer innovations, according to earlier findings from trendwatching.com. The company cites a number of statistics to support its premise that emerging economies are becoming a major source of consumer innovations that will have a global impact. For example, these economies have accounted for nearly 70% of world growth during the last five years, accounted for 34% of global GDP in 2010 and will account for 39% in 2015, and will account for two-thirds of world trade in 2050.

In addition, trendwatching.com says emerging economies contain a growing middle class of 2 billion people who spend $6.9 trillion USD annually. That figure is expected to rise to $20 trillion by 2050.

tt twitter micro3 Consumer Trends to Watch in 2011


View the original article here

Gaining Consumer Trust Online and Offline

wpid-tt-twitter-micro3.png

Trust and credibility are the gold standards by which relationships are measured. This is true of personal relationships as well as connections between people and brands.

The rise of social media has reinforced the importance of trust. Successful and enduring social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn are built on a foundation of trust and transparency. But social media has also distorted the notion of trust and put an emphasis on the size of a person’s network and connections.

“Most people’s decisions are shaped by word-of-mouth input, whether online or offline, from a tight circle of close friends and relatives,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Leveraging Trust Online and Offline.” “Marketers seeking to maximize their reach should focus on the quality of social network connections rather than their sheer size.”

According to Invoke Solutions, quantitative measures such as the volume of content and participation, the length of time people have been fans or followers, or the raw number of followers or fans mattered far less in inspiring trust than the openness of the dialogue, the quality of the comments, and the responsiveness of the sponsor or author.

And Vision Critical found that among US consumers overall as well as daily social network users, friends and family were trusted for product recommendations far more than brand-originated content or people consumers did not know.

And marketers around the world agree that popularity does not equal influence on social media sites.

“The level of influence over one’s friends, followers or fans is the real key, and influence does not necessarily correlate to the size of the network,” said Verna.

In addition, there is a feedback loop between online and offline word-of-mouth, and marketers must understand the connections and differences between the channels.

tt twitter micro3 Gaining Consumer Trust Online and Offline


View the original article here

Social Media Working Better for Retention Than Acquisition

Campaigns to acquire new customers have not taken off

Social media marketing has been around for several years, and as marketers begin to converge on best practices and use the channel in more uniform ways, it is emerging that their top goals are brand awareness and cultivating customer loyalty. Conversely, customer acquisition through social media is less important.

A July 2010 survey of US marketers by the Direct Marketing Association and COLLOQUY found that brand awareness was the most popular objective of social media efforts, followed by customer growth and loyalty.

Primary Social Media Objective of US Marketers, July 2010 (% of respondents)

A July eROI study similarly showed brand awareness was the top goal of US marketers using social media, and business-to-business (B2B) marketers reported the same to BtoB magazine and Business.com. In April, search marketers surveyed by MarketingSherpa cited increasing brand awareness and improving brand reputation as the two objectives for which social media marketing was most effective.

The DMA and COLLOQUY also looked at average marketer spending in various areas of social media marketing and how it changed over time. While marketers started out in 2008 spending similar amounts on branding, customer loyalty and customer acquisition, by 2009 customer acquisition budgets had failed to grow as quickly as the others. Customer acquisition budgets more than doubled twice between 2008 and 2010, but they still lagged behind the even more dramatic growth of spending in other areas.

Average Social Media Marketing Spending Among US Marketers, by Objective, 2008-2010 (thousands)

The report noted that customer acquisition is a more important goal for smaller companies, which often use social media as an inexpensive marketing channel. Those companies are devoting budget to gaining new customers through social media, but by definition their budgets are small. They are overshadowed by large companies who have chosen social media primarily as a venue for cultivating customer loyalty and spend more heavily in that area.

Social Network Ad Spending to Approach $1.7 Billion This Year

6.7% of all US online ad spending to go toward social networks this year

Social network advertising is getting renewed attention in 2010. The US’s gradual economic recovery, combined with marketers’ incessant focus on reaching consumers in social media, has led companies to make big increases in social network ad spending in the first half of 2010.

eMarketer estimates US advertisers will spend $1.68 billion on social networking sites this year, a more than 20% increase over 2009. Spending will rise even further by 2011 to more than $2 billion.

In December 2009, eMarketer forecast $1.3 billion in social network ad spending for 2010. Strong performance from online ad spending in general, and Facebook in particular, has resulted in the increased forecast.

US Social Network Ad Spending, 2009-2011 (billions and % change)

Facebook will receive half of all social network ad spending in the US while MySpace continues to diminish in importance. Twitter, which finally launched its ad business earlier this year, is incorporated into eMarketer’s forecast for the first time. While spending on the microblogging service will be low in 2010, the potential for 2011 and beyond could be dramatic if it proves that its “resonance” model of measuring advertising effectiveness works.

Spending on social network advertising will grow even more quickly elsewhere in the world. In 2010, eMarketer estimates just over half of social network ad spending worldwide will come from the US, but 2011 will bring a reversal in that proportion.

Social Network Ad Spending Worldwide, US vs. Non-US, 2009-2011 (billions and % of total)

Another important development in the social network space is the role of online social games and applications. Advertising is not a primary revenue stream for game companies such as Zynga or Playdom, but their large audiences are drawing the interest of marketers. eMarketer expects such companies will attract $293 million in spending worldwide in 2011, up from $220 million in 2010.