sources of info on Trends effecting Marketing, Business, Int'l Business and e-Commerce
|.||The most important
thing students can learn from this unit is this - knowing about current
trends is not something that can be done in textbooks, or just through
what the professor tells you -
"extremely unpredictable," which makes the business of tracking and forecasting
a tough proposition." says Judith Langer, a researcher at Roper-Starch
Therefore, witiger would suggest that if you wanted to work in an exciting and valuable field of marketing it might be trends - especially when this is one of the fields where young people can obtain work with little experience - why? - because they want young people who understand the trends effecting the young customers they are trying to sell to !!!
David Graham, writer for the LIFE section of the Toronto Star, had an article in July 2004 in which he explained how some companies specifically hire people to spot cool trends.
The Doneger Group offers its predictions to retailers including Nordstroms, Saks Inc. and Wal-Mart. They also work for such financial institutions as Goldman Saks and Merrill Lynch.
Politics and the state of the economy have an enormous impact on the way we shop, explains Wolfe, who scours newspapers daily in the hopes he can link a news story to a new consumer behaviour or need. "They are much more interconnected than you'd think. In the fashion industry they are much more important than the runway when it comes to identifying trends," he says.
Companies like the Doneger Group employ the skills of an anthropologist to identify patterns in behaviour that might lead to patterns in consumption.
These companies are called cool hunters, trend-spotters, futurologists and even consumerologists.
They are prized for their
ability to project trends. Nearly every big company, from Nike to Lego,
has its own "insight" department."
From Restaurants USA, June/July
The following paragraphs were originally written by Donna Oetzel
"The media has tended to portray so-called cool hunting as a fluffy New Economy phenomenon rather than a genuine research methodology. According to many of today's cutting-edge research consultants, however, their trend-tracking work is based on a tried-and-true scientific model: the anthropological field study.
"Usually, people do focus groups or they do quantitative research based on numbers," says Larry Samuel, the New York City?based partner of the trend-analysis company Iconoculture. "We're not trying to replace those techniques, but we think there's a need for a different form of research, too. We add the 'third leg' of the research stool, which is based on anthropology."
Applying anthropological techniques to market research, says Samuel, means getting out into the "real world" and tracking cultural trends: talking to people, snapping photos, buying merchandise. It also means focusing on behavior rather than opinions, because consumers are notorious for saying one thing and doing another — claiming to care about their fat intake while buying gourmet ice cream, for example. "We don't ask what people think. We document what they do," explains Samuel. "The proof is in the pudding."
"Cool hunting is only the first step for trend-tracking market-research firms. Once they've gathered their documentation, the firm's analysts typically set about trying to decode the materials, stepping back to gain a long-term perspective on short-term trends.
"We try to understand what's
making a trend a trend, which values are driving the trend," says Iconoculture's
Samuel. "For our clients, we'll say, 'Here are the trends, here are the
values we extracted out of them and here are 15 different ways you can
leverage those values.' If we identify tea as a trend, we don't say, 'put
tea on your menu.' We look at what's behind the taste for tea — wellness,
interest in plants or flora, the opportunity to be an expert. We put it
in a broader context."
|Problems in predicting Trends||
From Restaurants USA, June/July
"Trend-analysis firms represent an increasingly powerful force in the corporate world, where millions of dollars depend on discovering "The Next Big Thing" in music, fashion, food and entertainment. Corporate clients pony up thousands of dollars annually for access to research results via monthly updates, publications and password-protected Web sites. The annual fee for Youth Intelligence's Cassandra Report, which comes out three times a year, is $20,000; access to the company's new Web site, trendcentral.com, is priced at $8,000 per year for one to five users.
Is it worth it? The answer, according to industry experts, is "maybe." As the economy slows, many restaurant operators and other business owners are anxiously looking for indicators of the public mood, and trend-spotters can provide valuable insights. At the same time, according to Judith Langer, ** a researcher at Roper-Starch Worldwide, separating true trends from flash-in-the-pan fads is no easy task.
In her book, The Mirrored Window: Focus Groups From a Moderator's Point of View, Langer describes forecasting perils such as the "trendy-trend trap," which can befall marketers who focus too heavily on trendsetters as opposed to mainstream consumers. Trendsetters indicate "what's new," but it's the mainstreamers who confirm a long-term trend, says Langer. "Some things that are initially cool become long-term trends, and other things pass over very quickly."
Langer says restaurateurs looking for advice on trends must be guided by their own common sense, as well as their knowledge of their own local area and their customers. Some trends simply go against the grain in certain regions for reasons that are hard to fathom."
** Judith Langer, is also
president of Langer Associates
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