Monday Mornings with Madison


Keeping up with marketing trends is a lot like keeping up with fashion.  Just when you think you are styling and profiling with what is in vogue, the season changes and its time to update your wardrobe again.  Marketing is very similar.  Just when you have your company’s website updated, have installed the latest CRM system and positioned your company on the most popular social networking sites, new tools and strategies emerge and you are running to catch up.

To help you keep up, here are a dozen of the latest marketing trends to emerge in 2010, according to the sages.  As you read, think about how your company might capitalize on these trends to take your business to the next level!

1.  Think ‘Location Marketing’

Augmented reality and geo-location aware services have been around for a while, but is poised to go mainstream soon.  Now that Facebook and Twitter are starting to play with the technology for tweets and updates, enabled by the GPS technology on most every new phone, expect this marketing tool to tip.  Location sharing services like Google Latitutde, Loopt, and others are already receiving mainstream media mention. It won’t be long before every rating and review site, such as Yelp, build this into their site and push value-added marketing to customers such as coupons and discounts based on location.  This will take regional and area-specific marketing to a whole new level.

What does that mean for you and me?  Imagine standing at the top of a skyscraper in Manhattan, pointing the camera on your phone in any direction and getting a full tour of goods and services in the area including restaurant recommendations from friends in your favorite social network or coupons to a sale at a nearby department store. Walk into a museum, plug in your headphones and point your phone at a painting or sculpture. Then, read about it while a video interview from an expert on the artist loads.  Your location, or that of your customers and prospects, will become another data point in the marketing mix. 

2.  Watch What They ‘Do’

Market research used to be all about opinions and attitudes.  That was and is as reliable as a Ouija board.  Today, if you want truth, watch the feet, not the mouth.  Look at research on behavior, not attitudes.  This already happens online, because it is easy and it works. The off line world is catching up, slowly.  More and more, marketing is looking at ‘show me’ not ‘tell me’ behavior.

3.  Gray is the new Black

America is graying and aging Baby Boomers want ads – actually products and services – for something other than stair-lifts and walk-in baths. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the average net household wealth for the trendy, funky media target of 25 to 34 year-olds in 2004 was $14,200.  But seniors (ages 55 to 64) had an average net household wealth of $248.700.  And, according to the US Census Bureau, between 2005 and 2030, the senior market will grow to over 95 million people – that’s over four times the growth of the 18-59 age group for the same period.  Although household net worth fell from 2007 to 2009 by a total of $17.5 trillion or 25.5% (the equivalent loss of one year of GDP), it is no surprise that those who have had the most time to save still have the most net disposable income. 

While it is not news that America is graying, only savvy marketers are focusing on and finding innovative ways to reach this demographic group.  Given that seniors control over 70% of all disposable income and currently spend over $7 billion online each year, this indeed is a lucrative market that is really is just kicking into gear now.  In fact, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that the number of seniors who go online increased by 47 percent between 2000 and 2004. 

So how do you market to seniors?  Seniors tend to have more available time to make purchase decisions. They will ask questions – sometimes many – before making a purchase.  Make sure staff are knowledgeable and patient to answer questions.  Seniors are also life savvy so avoid hype in your marketing to this group.  Online, ensure you use keywords such as ‘seniors’ for products and services that specifically cater to them.   Finally, when designing marketing materials catering to this group, use models that are in their 40’s, not in their 20s.  While they want to see models that reflect maturity, it has also been well documented that most seniors see themselves as being 15 -20 years younger than their biological age.

4.  Online Marketing vs. TV Marketing

TV still counts.  Americans still spend an average of 28 hours per week watching TV. But online advertising spending is already larger than TV.  In 2009, media spending on internet overtook media spending on TV.  For top advertisers who have not yet worked out how to harness the internet, it is time. 

5.  The Power of Brand

Consumer spending, even on sale items, will continue to be replaced by a reason-to-buy at all. This spells trouble for brands with no authentic meaning, whether high-end or low.
What makes goods and services valuable will increasingly be wrapped up in the brand and what it stands for. Why J Crew instead of The Gap?  J Crew stands for careful chic — being stylish and smart.  The unique meaning of a brand will increase in importance as generic features continue to plague the brand landscape. Differentiation will be critical for success.  Brand values can be established as a brand identity, but they must believably exist in the mind of the consumer. A brand can’t just say it stands for something for it to be so. The customer will decide, making it more important than ever for a brand to have measures of authenticity that will aid in brand differentiation and customer engagement.

6.  Reputation is Gold and Talk is not Cheap

In today’s marketing, conversation and community rule.  For example, ebay thrives on consumer feedback. If consumers trust the community, they will extend trust to the brand.  It is not just about word of mouth, but the right word of mouth within the community. This means the coming of a new era of customer care.

Also, as social networking and exchange of information outside of the brand space increase, look for more websites using Facebook Connect to share information with the friends from those sites. More companies will become members of Linked-In. Twitter users will spend more money on the Internet than those who don’t tweet.

7.  Expect Change

Marketing is changing at very uneven rates. The life assurance industry is still in the Stone Age. When you have clients signing up for 25 years, there is not much urgency to change.  Meanwhile other ancient industries – such as publishing – are about to revolutionize.  Amazon has over 50 per cent of the book market. The arrival of e-books moves the industry away from dead trees.  The value proposition is still being defined and the pricing and format of this new world of publishing is still being defined. But someone is going to make a fortune and many will perish. Where will you be when the revolution arrives in your sector?

8.  Adding C and P to the Marketing Horizon

Marketing is becoming more financially aware. We have added costs to the old formula of channels, customers and competition. And profit belongs somewhere amidst product, price, promotion and place.  These days, marketing for profit counts as much – if not
more – than marketing for share.

9.  Identify and Satisfy Unmet Expectations

Brands are barely keeping up with consumer expectations now.  Today, consumers adopt and devour the latest technologies and innovations, and hunger for more. Smart marketers will identify and capitalize on unmet expectations. Those brands that understand where the strongest expectations exist will be the brands that survive – and prosper.

10.  Be Real

Brands trying to play consumer emotions for profit will fail.  For example, in the wake of the financial crisis of the last few years, people are more aware then ever of the hollowness of bank ads that claim “we’re all in this together” and then rescind customers’ credit and turn retirement plans into case studies. The same is true for disingenuous celebrity pairings: think Seinfeld & Microsoft. Celebrity values and brand values need to be authentic and make sense.

11.  Engage Your Customers

Traditional marketing said there were four engagement methods:  Platform (TV; online), Context (Program; webpage), Message (Ad or Communication), and Experience (Store/Event).  But in the future it will be all about brand engagement. Marketers will continue to realize that attaining real brand engagement is impossible using out-dated attitudinal models.  You need to meet your customers where they are.

12.  Embrace Online Applications

2010 looks like the year that small businesses will truly embrace applications that exist online only. Document, spreadsheet, database, and presentation software will function as Internet applications at greatly reduced costs and ultimate real time collaboration. File sharing and storage, including total file backup from tools, will become standard.
Remote workers and a global supply chain dictate that project, task, scheduling and collaboration of all manners will make a dramatic move to the web with tools like CentralDesktop.  Likewise, online meeting tools like, Skype and GoToMeeting and ConnectPro with video, will continue to allow people to connect in richer ways online.


“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” Peter Drucker

© 2010 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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