By Shannon Bianchi • January 24 2017
Your New Year’s resolutions may already be fading, but up-and-coming marketing trends are just getting started. Now that 2017 is well under way, businesses should be on the lookout for industry changes, focusing on what they can do to get ahead of “the next big thing.” Here are the biggest trends to watch in the new year:
Look out Generation Y— the infatuation and research surrounding your work habits and spending trends is about to become obsolete. A fresh crop of soon-to-be adults is about to come of age and they’re even bigger than the “Millennial” generation: Generation Z. Defined as young adults born in 1997 or later, they make up roughly 25% of the US population and contribute an estimated $44 billion to the American economy. With such significant spending power, brands are challenged with adapting their marketing efforts to effectively reach this population. In 2017 we may see a change in strategy to reflect some of Gen Z’s most distinguishing characteristics: they have low attention spans (eight seconds to be exact) with high connectivity power (they don’t know a world before the Internet). They crave authenticity and expect transparency. They appreciate personalization yet are sensitive to security. And lastly, coming of age in a post 9/11 world and experiencing the Great Recession, they are more money conscious than their Millennial older siblings.
Brand Ambassador Programs
Gen Zers and college students alike don’t want some brand sales person who doesn’t understand their lifestyle telling them what they need. One surefire way to skirt this skepticism is to create transparency and authenticity by going straight to the source- students themselves. Employing campus ambassadors, actual students who understand the needs and experiences of their peers, at target schools will help a brand build credibly with that specific audience. Acting as brand advocates, these students can help spread organic awareness to thousands of people, test samples on campus, and actually engage with consumers to collect genuine student feedback. Other students will see these campus reps as “one of them” and see how a specific brand can actually be applied into their lifestyle.
“On Demand” Economy
Having smartphones virtually attached to their hands, young adults have come to expect they can have pretty much anything at their fingertips, literally. This increasing need for efficiency and convenience has changed consumer behavior. In 2017 we will see the boom of the “On Demand Economy,” defined by Business Insider as “the economic activity created by technology companies that fulfill consumer demand via the immediate provisioning of goods and services.” Many companies are now vying to be the “Uber of” food or good delivery services, such as goPuff, or on demand haircuts like the app, Shortcut. Any service that may be deemed desireable will most likely have an “on demand” app counterpart in 2017, if it doesn’t already. This year brands should focus their efforts on marketing in a way that satisfies an unmet need and does so faster than its competitors.
With the continuous flow of information, students are attuned to the world around them more than ever. They recognize the problems present in today’s society and want to help solve them. While students themselves may be strapped for cash, they want to see companies, who have the influence and spending power to enact change, use their money for good. In 2017 companies should donate a portion of its proceeds to a certain charity, specifically a cause that college students particularly care about. They can then market their messages based off the idea of social responsibility, proving to students that what they’re selling is more valuable than the product itself. It’s no longer just about what the consumer gets, but what everyone else gets, too.
In 2017, consumer experience will get kicked up a notch with the emergence of virtual reality marketing. 360 degree videos that can be viewed either directly on a smartphone or through a VR headset will bring to life the messages marketers wish to convey. Immersing the consumer in the experience itself will allow them to view the product in a real life (or seemingly so) context. For example, The New York Times utilizes Google Cardboard VR headsets (both portable and economical) and an app based platform so subscribers can view additional content in a new way through The New York Times VR Experience. Seeing, hearing, and genuinely feeling a part of the story allows subscribers to widen and optimize their engagement with the Times. This coming year, brands should follow this example to give their consumers an unforgettable (and sometimes out of this world) experience.
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