- Thu, November 29 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I’ve been asked by blogger Nancy Schwartz what are my to three marketing to-dos in 2008. I really have one main to-do, which is to try to maintain a higher order of consciousness. By that I mean, being better attuned to what’s going on for consumers as a whole so that my marketing efforts connect with their values. Focusing simply on getting people to give money or eat healthy or any other do-gooder agenda naturally pulls us into our narrow viewpoint. We then lose sight of creative opportunities to tap into people’s minds and hearts.
In this spirit, I took an important Trendwatching list I read this week—Eight Important Consumer Trends for 2008 and put some thought into what they mean for marketers of good causes. Keeping this list in mind is Job One for my 2008 marketing agenda.
Here are eight consumer trends with nifty names that you should know.
1. STATUS SPHERES: “A variety of lifestyles, activities and persuasions, which can be mixed and matched by consumers looking for recognition from various crowds and scenes. Four Spheres are of particular interest to us.
First, the Transient Sphere—An obsession with the here and now, an ever-shorter satisfaction span, and a lust to collect as many experiences and stories as possible, is undermining the perceived value (and thus status) of fixed goods and services, says Trendwatching. That means you need to keep your communications more concise and compelling than ever and give people a steady stream of fascinating tidbits portioned for today’s Media Snacker. Remember, everyone is a snacker in this day and age, and not just online. Who on earth has time for the equivalent of multi-course meals of information throughout the day? No one has time to read a tome on our topic, to sift through an overwrought appeal or to idly sit around and listen to us getting to the point. They may sit down for a four-course “meal” on occasion, but they are going to dine on something very important to them personally. And that something is not likely to be what we’re dishing out.
Second, the Online Sphere: In an online world or virtual world, social status 2.0 is all about who you connect to and who wants to connect to you, tribal-style. It also encompasses status gained from the number of views for one’s photos on Flickr, to the number of friends on Facebook, says Trendwatching. Since connections are precious, you want to find a way to insert your cause into those personal relationships. Read all about how to do that here.
Third, the Eco Sphere: A substantial subset of consumers is already bestowing recognition and praise on Prius drivers while scorning SUV owners, and this will only accelerate as even more design-minded and branding-savvy eco-firms push to the forefront in 2008, says Trendwatching. If you’re an environmental cause, create a hall of fame or fabulous recognition system for your supporters and advocates. Green is the new black!
Four, the Giving Sphere: Gates, Bono and Buffett have made philanthropy a status symbol. Place special attention on the care and feeding of major-donor prospects.
2. PREMIUMIZATION: “With more wealth burning holes in (saturated and experienced) consumers’ pockets than ever before, quick status fixes derived from premium products and premium experiences will continue in full force next year,” says Trendwatching. With everything from premium laundry detergent to premium security lines at the airport, there’s nothing that can’t be upgraded. VIP Volunteer program, anyone?
3. SNACK CULTURE “represents the ‘transient sphere’ on steroids, catering to consumers’ insatiable craving for instant gratification. SNACK CULTURE thus embodies the phenomenon of products, services and experiences becoming more temporary and transient; products that are being deconstructed in easier to digest, easier to afford bits, making it possible to collect even more experiences, as often as possible, in an even shorter timeframe,” says Trendwatching. I cited this above, but don’t forget that the long eNews may not be the way to go this year. Short, great, snacky stories about specific people are better. And be sure you have online giving - our research shows the #1 reason people like it is it’s easy. Convenience is king.
4. ONLINE OXYGEN: “Control-craving consumers need online access as much as they need oxygen,” says Trendwatching. That means you need to think more mobile than ever - online content and widgets so your content can be packed up to go online. I’d also recommend starting to build a mobile phone list because before too long, people will be doing a lot more with their phones - including giving. Some things to watch in particular online:
ECOMMERCE: “Never before have so many consumers been willing to overcome security threats, still shockingly bad (or boring) design, and delivery screwups. In other words, 2008 could be a goldmine for smart e-tailers, who, if they get their act together, could make billions and billions,” says Trendwatching. That bad design point really applies to our sector, folks. Want to fix you site but have no money to do it? Learn how to here. A site that is easy to use and makes it simple to give is gold.
NETHOODS: “One thing to watch is social networks of any kind going local, if not hyperlocal. Neighborhoods. Streets. Buildings. Floors. Neighborhoods, streets and even apartment buildings will get their own internet and intranet sites: not just to promote the many qualities they have to offer their (prospective) inhabitants, but also to provide communal interaction and localized services,” says Trendwatching. If you’re a local, small organization this is GREAT news - connect to these neighborhood networks as a fantastic potential audience. For national organizations, segment your communications regionally so people feel connected to you by where they are, not just by what you do.
5. ECO-ICONIC: This means “eco-friendly goods and services sporting bold, iconic design and markers, that help their eco-conscious owners to visibly tout their eco-credentials to peers,” says Trendwatching, and it’s hot. As I hinted above under “Eco Spheres,” I think there’s a real opening for green groups to have fun in helping people show their support - and status - in visible and fun ways.
6. BRAND BUTLERS: “If consumers value the authentic, the practical, the exclusive, and they’re also forever looking to make life more convenient, even save some time, then why persist in bombarding them with your mega-million dollar/euro/pound, one-way advertising campaigns? Think baby food or diaper brands opening a lounge area, including diaper-changing facilities and microwaves, for parents and their offspring at a major airport or in malls. Or a bank installing secure, high-tech lockers next to the beach, so beachgoers can safely store their belongings when going for a swim or walk,” says Trendwatching. So what does this have to do with a nonprofit? How can you make your supporter’s lives easier? We recently helped a nutrition program get the word out about their great, easy recipes. Imagine if they’d put them on cards in their office.
7. MAKE IT YOURSELF: “For years, we’ve been going on about GENERATION C, with the C mainly representing ‘content’. In other words, digital creation. Pictures. Movies. Blogs. Music. It’s a mainstream trend now, one that keeps giving, with millions of consumers uploading their creative endeavors online, and tens of millions of others enjoying the fruits of their creativity. User-generated content, at least in the online world, has grown from a teenage hobby to an almost equal contender to established entities in news, media, entertainment and craft,” says Trendwatching. This is a GREAT trend of us—your beneficiaries and supporters ahve wonderful content and things to say - give them the space and means to do it. It’s compelling and it saves you a lot of work of communication.
8. CROWD MINING: “When co-creating, co-funding, co-buying, co-designing, co-managing *anything* with ‘crowds’, the emphasis in 2008 will move from just getting the masses in, to mining those crowds for the rough and polished diamonds. How to do that? Shower them with love, respect and heaps of money, of course,” says Trendwatching. Think of your supporters or potential helpers (design students, volunteers) as a crowd that can help you market your cause - then find the diamonds via contests and recognition for the best of their material.
More on applying these trends to your work is here.