Trendwatching.com has a list of 11 consumer trends for 2011. The one that stands out is the Random Acts of Kindness. "In 2011, expect companies to monitor consumers' public moods and act upon them with random acts of kindness...marketing may never be the same ;-)"
Fresh Books and Zappos already are at this level of customer engagement. Knowing what your customers are doing and saying helps you to engage them; learn from them (to develop new products); teach them how your services will solve their problems.
The one thing about engagement is that you are in front of the client. It's a little more personal, which takes the commodity tag off your services.
The other trend is the effect that social media is having on pricing strategies. Social media has become the home of coupon codes; special promotions; group buying; flash mob buying; GPS-related sales (like with Gowalla, 4squared, FB locations); etc. The big complaint with consumers in 2010 was that the online and brick-and-mortar are treated separately, with different pricing and not much mesh. It tends to lead consumers to think that the company thinks they are stupid. But the online stuff can drive sales - bundles, special pricing, hardware - effectively.
Group buying can be applied to a lit building or a rural area, where you can get the residents to sign up together. "When we get to X number of pre-sales, we will build out to your building or neighborhood."
Just some thoughts.
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