It’s been said that there are three kinds of marketers and how they deal with trends: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened. So, for smart marketers who want to fall into that second group, paying attention to what looms ahead is the wisest move they can make.
Twenty-fifteen, and the future it will bring, will soon be upon us. In numerology, the combination of number 1 (representing leadership and forward movement) and the number 5 (the numeric for business and finance) becomes 15, the fusion of leadership and forward, profitable momentum. This is only useful, of course, assuming you’re a marketer willing to bet your brand’s success on a divine relationship between numbers and impending events.
In the real world, however, when it comes to trends and the future, a Brand Keys’ review over 150,000 predictive loyalty and engagement assessments is a more reliable way to identify trends coming down the road in 2015. Take a look:
- Everyone of a Kind: Consumers will crave more and expect more customized and personalized products, services and experiences. This will be fueled by. . .
- Magnified Human Technology: Digital and mobile in all forms will fuel the sense of empowerment and possibility for consumers.
- Real Brand Engagement: With awareness a given, marketers will link “engagement” to how well the brand is perceived versus their category’s Ideal, rather than just counting “likes” or leveraging imagery.
- The Everything Expectation: The ability for brands to measure real, unarticulated, and constantly expanding emotional consumer expectations will provide advantages to engage, delight, and profit.
- Real-Time Becomes Real Important: Increased real-time brand expectations will spread to product availability, delivery, and customer service.
- It’s Still The Brand, Stupid: Increased consumer expectations will increase perceptions of products/services as commodities. Brands will need to differentiate and stand for something meaningful, emotional, and important to consumers. Oh, and. . .
- Category is King: To engage those smarter, high-expectation consumers, brand wills need to be smarter about category-specific emotional values that they can leverage and believably own.
- Brands Will Get Emotional: Successful brands will need to identify emotional values in their categories and use them as a foundation for meaningful positioning, differentiation, and authentic storytelling.
- Non-Fiction Storytelling: Storytelling is fine, but the stories brands tell must reflect real brand values and category realities that differentiate and meet consumers’ believability criteria, otherwise marketers will end up entertaining rather than engaging.
- The Closing of the Showroom: The consumer will use 5+ online sources to facilitate actual purchase decisions, reducing reliance on traditional brick-and-mortars retail. But having identified that trend. . .
- High-End Shoppers Expect High-Tech Shopping Experiences: Retail will include a seamless transition from human-only service to digital assistants and virtual valets. Watch for more RFID, beacons, and touchscreens to supercharge the retail-shopping experience.
- Much More Multiculturalism: As ethnic groups grow, brands and retailers will integrate a sense of culture and culture-specific brand experience with all forms of outreach.
- Online Authenticity: As ‘The Internet of All Things’ matures, consumers will expect greater security as regards personal purchase data, which will act as a confidence builder for online sources and the brands using them.
- Dead-On Digital: Brands will shift their digital platform question from “should I be here?” to “what should I do now that I am here?” with success linked not to just outreach alone, but contextual relevance.
- Going Native: Content marketing will continue to become a specialty unto itself. Tools like Digital Platform GPS can optimize placement and resolve issues related to native advertising and shorter consumer attention spans. Metrics will move away from counting the number of views, sharing, and likes, toward real engagement (see Trend #3).
One doesn’t need predictive metrics to know that every day marketers face new challenges. But, as the saying goes, if you want to do something new, you have to stop doing something old. These emotionally-derived engagement trends provide brands with the opportunity to break old habits and discard old-century legacy measures, and instead embrace new methods of brand engagement, new business models, and new and profitable opportunities for the coming year.
All the best for 2015.