You may be scratching your head saying, “NEVER.” That’s a typical holiday in other highly-developed nations like Europe.
If you think the issue is just our current economic woes, it’s not. Twenty years ago, a two week vacation for Americans was average. In the last decade we squeezed down to mini-vacations. Long weekends became the trend.
Lately, we’ve ushered in even shorter vacations – the staycation. No travel, just spend a night or two at a local hotel to kick back for 24 to 48 hours before jumping back into the fray. Oh, and bring your laptop and your cell phone along.
The ten trends listed below I got from a website called Brand Strategy Insider. We must understand, even as a woman, home-based business owner that branding is important to surviving, thriving and creating success in a world of ecommerce and change where you might hear about a product or service on Twitter or Facebook before you ever see the logo or connect with the products.
1) Value is the new black
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.
2) Brands increasingly a surrogate for “value”
What makes goods and services valuable will increasingly be what’s wrapped up in the brand and what it stands for. Why J Crew instead of The Gap? J Crew stands for a new era in careful chic –being smart and stylish. The first family’s support of the brand doesn’t hurt either.
3) Brand differentiation is Brand Value
The unique meaning of a brand will increase in importance as generic features continue to plague the brand landscape. Awareness as a meaningful market force has long been obsolete, and differentiation will be critical for success –meaning sales and profitability.
4) “Because I said so” is so over
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 and make it so. The consumer will decide, making it more important than ever for a brand to have measures of authenticity that will aid in brand differentiation and consumer engagement.
5) Consumer expectations are growing
Brands are barely keeping up with consumer expectations now. Every day consumers adopt and devour the latest technologies and innovations, and hunger for more. Smarter 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.
6) Old tricks don’t work/won’t work anymore
In case your brand didn’t get the memo here it is -consumers are on to brands trying to play their emotions for profit. In the wake of the financial debacle of this past year, people are more aware then ever of the hollowness of bank ads that claim “we’re all in this together” when those same banks have rescinded their credit and turned their retirement plan into case studies. The same is true for insincere celebrity pairings: think Seinfeld & Microsoft or Tiger Woods & Buick. Celebrity values and brand values need to be in concert, like Tiger Woods and Accenture. That’s authenticity.
7) They won’t need to know you to love you
As the buying space becomes even more online-driven and international (and uncontrolled by brands and corporations), front-end awareness will become less important. A brand with the right street cred can go viral in days, with awareness following, not leading, the conversation. After all, everybody knows GM, but nobody’s buying their cars.
8) It’s not just buzz
Conversation and community is all; ebay thrives based on consumer feedback. If consumers trust the community, they will extend trust to the brand. Not just word of mouth, but the right word of mouth within the community. This means the coming of a new era of customer care.
9) They’re talking to each other before talking to the brand
Social Networking and exchange of information outside of the brand space will increase. Look for more websites using Facebook Connect to share information with the friends from those sites. More companies will become members of Linkedin. Twitter users will spend more money on the Internet than those who don’t tweet.
10) Engagement is not a fad; It’s the way today’s consumers do business
Marketers will come to accept that there are four engagement methods including Platform (TV; online), Context (Program; webpage), Message (Ad or Communication), and Experience (Store/Event). But there is only one objective for the future: Brand Engagement. Marketers will continue to realize that attaining real brand engagement is impossible using out-dated attitudinal models.
Accommodating these trends will require a paradigm change on the parts of some companies. But whether a brand does something about it or not, the future is where it’s going to spend the rest of its life. How long that life lasts is up to the brand, determined by how it responds to today’s reality.
Contributed by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys
DMM: Below is a snippet from Entrepreneur Magazine about marketing trends. Admittedly it’s not a brand new article – but it was news to me. I figure the word probably hasn’t filtered out to everyone – so there may be some news value for you. As a woman, home-based business owner it’s important to use your marketing dollars wisely. Bear in mind, it’s important to do something even if it’s not perfect – rather than nothing at all.
According to the Mobile Marketing Association, by 2009, 89 percent of brands will use text and multimedia messaging to reach their audiences, with nearly one-third planning to spend more than 10 percent of their marketing budgets on advertising in the medium. As phones with video capability become more prevalent, expect more rich media marketing options. Plus, now that mobile phone service providers are dipping their toes into the credit card pool–soon your phone or PDA may make plastic obsolete–customers will be relying on these devices more than ever.
“There are some low-cost mobile marketing onramps for small businesses,” says Kim Bayne, author of Marketing Without Wires. “Businesses can implement opt-in text messaging services and coupons with their loyal customers. We’ve already seen local restaurants send the day’s specials to nearby lunch patrons. The cost is fairly low, and it can be done from a PC, without involving a pricey service provider.”
“Think globally, act locally” is now the mantra for entrepreneurs advertising online. Online ad spending is up as much as 33 percent over last year, says David J. Moore, chairman and CEO of digital marketing firm 24/7 Real Media Inc. in New York City. Google launched a new local advertising program linked to its map service and AdWords program, allowing businesses to drive some of Google’s traffic to their brick-and-mortar locations.
“[Entrepreneurs] should pay attention to any targeting that allows them to increase advertising efficiency by reaching users in their particular geographic area,” says Moore. Online ads are also migrating to podcasts and blogs, where advertisers can reach very specific niche audiences. And with increased access to broadband and the falling cost of video production, Moore foresees a rise in online video ads for businesses as well.
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By Denise Michaels, Author, “Testosterone-free Marketing”
Last night President Obama gave a speech to Congress about health care. The raw emotions brought up by the debate this summer have made obvious growing trends and cultural changes worth paying attention to as a woman as you market and sell in your business.
No matter which side of the issue you fall on, clearly many Americans ability to have a respectful conversation and “agree to disagree” has been compromised. It’s not surprising our ability to have respectful discourse about important issues has eroded. Consider the following changes in our society the last decade and ways to respond to them:
* There’s a massive ability to spread lies and mis-truths with email and blogs. No checks, balances or investigation are made into the truth of claims before they’re sent out. So, if you use email marketing communicate with confidence and credibility.
* The newspaper industry has been declining for 20 years. However, major news organizations are responsible for most fact checking. Not much fact checking in the blogosphere. A good article includes both pro and con points of view. If you blog for your business and you can help prospective customers do a little consumer research – it will be appreciated.
* Schools no longer have to time to teach critical thinking skills to evaluate the merits of one point of view over another. Classrooms have become crowded and a more teaching is done from a computer – time to teach the finer points of deductive reasoning just isn’t there. If you’re selling online don’t infer or hint at what you want customers to do – tell them.
* We don’t have to come to common ground – we just “unfriend” people. We’re attached to the anonymity of living behind a computer screen, rather than dealing with people eyeball to eyeball. Don’t worry about losing a few list subscribers now and then – it’s not personal. It just means they’re not the ideal customer for you.
* Dysfunctional behavior is rewarded. Consider reality TV. The person who screams the loudest and makes the most noise gets the most air time and gets their own show next season. Don’t fall into this category and become a drama queen in business. Yes, it gets the exposure and air time but nothing hurts your credibility and integrity faster in business.
* News is expensive and must get ratings to stay on air. In our “news as entertainment” era, cameras are looking for the most bizarre, outrageous and salacious behavior. Then they reward it with air time. Higher viewership means higher ratings and increased advertising. Don’t be afraid to startle or shock a little with your message. Nothing is as easy to ignore as a boring advertisement.
* Congress members are considered “bad” if they even talk with those with an opposing point of view. Polarizing behavior is rewarded with votes. But, how can you get anything done if you don’t speak? Talk to everyone – even people you feel are competitors. Chances are you can learn and you might even find a way to help both your businesses.
* We like painting people with quick, handy labels. Characters on TV, in movies or in the media are painted in broad brush strokes as “the villian” or “the hero” for our speedy consumption. Most people are much more complex but labels are handy and we fall back on them. Have an image or brand about you and your business that’s clear and congruent. A confused mind always says “no.”
In his speech the President said the time for bickering and games are over. It’s time to sit down and work together. We know more about effective communication than ever. Yet, millions hide behind their computer screens. Women in business who win are people who learn to communicate, build real relationships and solve problems.