It’s the Holy Grail of marketing: Being able to foresee a fad or trend, and capitalize on it. I was recently talking to an analytics expert who shared that he once worked for a large retailer that would monitor purchasing habits early in the day on the U.S. east coast — and let that inform their inventory and shelf stocking decisions on the west coast. It may sound extreme, but consider the recent death of Whitney Houston, how quickly the news spread, and how that impacted sales of her music.
Or Jeremy Lin. . . Being in position to take opportunity of that kind of viral explosion can dramatically affect a company’s sales performance. Digital technologies and social media have created an even faster platform for consumer interests and habits to aggregate, if that is even imaginable. And, marketers are armed with more data than ever before because of Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Stuart Elliot reports in The New York Times that a new “futurist” agency has been formed by the Omnicom Group and is beginning operations this week. Comprised of a team of 8 professionals, Sparks and Honey has been created in order to identify pop culture trends and generate sponsored content specifically around those topics.
Another fascinating article in the Times detailed the sophisticated data analytics work by Target to understand their customers’ shopping habits. In this case, they were able to determine which women were pregnant — in particular, those at the start of their second trimester — using behavioral research acquired through giving each customer an identification number and closely monitoring habits and purchases. A spike by a woman in purchases of unscented lotion, for example, paired with other types of purchases, triggered a new way to market to that customer.
As for Apps and websites that aim to aggregate communities of common interest, expect more of it. One of the hot announcements debuting at South by Southwest last week was WeatherMob. A mobile social network designed around the local weather will no doubt harness even more data on consumers’ opinions, desires, and needs.
In theory, even patterns like changes in the weather can inform shopping patterns, and market-savvy data-crunchers will increasingly be behind the scenes, trying to predict opportunities and make sense of the information. Anything from bathing suits and sunblock to food, water, and emergency supplies can be directly marketed to consumers in real time, serving their unique needs.
This entry was posted on Monday, March 12th, 2012 at 12:45 pm and is filed under Advertising, Business, Customer Experience, Marketing, Media, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.