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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More on 2006 predictions

Several people asked for more details on my 2006 predictions post. Here you go. Happy Holidays.

Insourcing vs. Outsourcing
Rather than going outside to outsource low-value or transactional work, companies will see the value of insourcing marketing talent and ideas. Insourcing has helped Procter & Gamble add $3 billion in revenue per year. Rather than typical “research & development,” P&G now uses a “connect & develop” approach, insourcing more than 30% of new product ideas coming from outside the company; the goal is to get to 50 percent “insourcing.”

New market concepts vs. new products
Buying music online is a big new market concept, which is why iPod and iMusic are so successful. The Segway scooter, on the other hand, was a big new product idea but not a very big market concept, which is why it hasn’t been so successful. Companies who get innovation will focus more on market concepts, which are difficult for the competition to quickly copy, and less on new products, which can be easily knocked off.

Consumer insights vs. market research
Conventional market research is too slow and superficial to keep up with fast changing market trends and fickle consumers; what was hot six months ago is often in a deep freeze by the time the focus group results are in. Continually gathering market insights will become more important than conventional qualitative research. In a recent speech at Wharton’s Marketing Conference, Hershey CEO Richard Lenny urged companies to rely on insight-driven customer marketing to increase the odds of success.

Communities vs. Blogs
Blogs are beginning to be too hard to keep up with and are still more of a one-way conversation, with the blogger talking at the blog readers. As customers yearn for two-way conversations – and an easier interface – they’ll seek out communities of interest. Also, companies will find that creating communities for their customers is the best way to find consumer insights.

Meaning making vs. promoting
Customers are tuning out advertising, promotions and spin. What they want is trusted help in making decisions. Companies that adopt more of a meaning making approach – helping customers make sense of so many competitive choices – will out market their competition. Meaning making will become especially hot for companies selling expensive, high consideration purchases.

Point-of-views vs. messages
While messaging helps define what you want to communicate, messages themselves have limited value unless they’re translated into interesting, sometimes provocative, talkable point-of-views that gently smack people in the face, getting them to pay attention and join in the conversation. POVs jump start sales conversations, presentations, and media interviews.

Teach me vs. tell me
Educational psychologists would make great marketers. They know that the keys to teaching students of any age are 1) make sure it’s personally relevant, 2) put it in a larger context, and 3) give it some emotion. And one more: make it involving, a partnership more than a transaction. Teaching vs. telling implies a lasting valuable outcome, not just information. Marketers will benefit by taking a page from the teaching textbook.

Salons vs. conferences
People will be more attracted to small scale salon-style events where they can meet with other interesting people in an interesting setting, and enjoy a looser, more “open source” approach to the agenda. Salons provoke thinking; conferences just present information.

Podcasts vs. Webinars
Get it and go, downloading company speeches and presentations to your PC or iPod so you can listen to it at your convenience will replace set time and date Webinars. We’re all too buys to rearrange our schedules to when a company wants to host an online meeting. But we will tune in to valuable ideas, when it fits into our schedule.

Voice of the customer vs. voice of the company
“Are you talkin’ to me?” Smart companies will listen more to the customers’ voice, address what the customers want to know, and talk the customers’ language, not some artificial “brand voice” created by the agency.

Behavioral targeting vs. 18-45
Behavioral targeting vs. demographic or even psychographic segmentation is the difference between being appreciated because you’re relevant and being a clueless pest. Done right, behavioral targeting increases both profitability and loyalty. Heck, even the Federal Reserve Bank gets it – a new Fed research center is focused on “behavioral economics” to better understand how people really make their spending and saving decisions (hint: it’s rarely rational); insights will feed into the Fed’s policy work.

Analytics vs. metrics
Metrics have their place in measuring tactics, like advertising clickstream data. But metrics tend to be rear view mirror, while analytics provide predictive data you can act on to constantly improve programs and get new ideas.


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