A little flavour of what's in store...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Article - What's in store for 2007?

Article – What can we expect in 2007?

With so few days left of 2006 and the promise of lighter nights, it occurred to me to look at what’s in store for us in 2007 and how much of that can we integrate into our own marketing attempts?

Men’s cosmetics – anti ageing and wrinkle creams or grooming for men are already being advertised – expect a small amount of ridicule by comedians but they probably made the same jokes when men first started getting their ears pierced.

Ethical products – more interest in fresh, local produce as we become more concerned about the effects on our environment caused by transportation and the packaging required. And whilst we’re on the subject of packaging, look out for refillable packaging – we may need it but at least we can re-use it.

The new market to take advantage of is apparently going to be the Teen market – consumer goods, electronics and clothing (what else I hear you say if you have a teenager in the house) and as they ‘invented’ blogging – expect more talk about the use of social networking.

Yes, it looks like social networking is here to stay. I saw a comment on a recent SEO forum where the writer had stated she’d stayed clear of MySpace and the like because it was all teenagers and spam emailing, however another contributor pointed out that the actual age demographic of MySpace users is – over half are now aged 35 or over and more than two thirds was in the 25+ band – an interesting twist and if that’s your target audience – then what are you waiting for?

A forum member had this to say about the social network scene:

“The Players
MySpace - The formidable leader of the social network scene boasts membership approaching 120 million. It may be the most popular but it is also the breeding ground for less than desirables pounding legitimate members with a barrage of bulletin and comment spam.

YouTube - Approaching MySpace's popularity, YouTube is the next generation of social networks with emphasis on home videos and video blogging. Even though other networks offer video uploads, YouTube seems to be the leader in this social genre.

There are many other less popular social networks, Friendster and Xanga to name a couple, as are other social networking platforms like Google’s Blogger.

The above mentioned pale in comparison to the true power and commodity of the internet social networking phenomenon - the third of a billion(and growing) end-users

The Market
Predominately 15-30 year olds, the social networkers are web savvy and not afraid to buy online. Many are going to be first -time buyers of a large variety of goods and services. This is why it is imperative to reach these new buyers at all cost even though they don't necessarily have the expendable income or buying power of their elders.
One thing for certain is that these web 2.0'ers have an insatiable appetite for unique content to display on their pages and profiles. Which brings us to our next subject.

Tapping In
Reaching member within these networks is a easy as opening an account and getting involved in the networks playground (forums, chat, groups, etc...) and building your own network within the network. Easy enough, but it gets a little tricky if you want your network to have a reach into the thousands or more.

Now go out and set up some accounts, but be aware, as with most things, there are no shortcuts to building a solid network that has staying power. Above all be, sure to maintain the integrity of your accounts with these social networks.”

If you haven’t already got into blogs and RSS feeds, then spend a few evenings getting acquainted with the marketing tools of tomorrow. Social networking is predicted to be the biggest change to how we have traditionally searched for and located goods on the Internet.

The likes of Google have already started of course, offering personal searches and supposedly giving ever increasing prominence to social sites in search results. You’ll have seen more and more blogs get listed in searches and that looks set to continue in 2007.

Social networking is also somewhat shrouded in mystery it seems – a buzz word that is often used, but usually leaves those not in the know even more confused than before. Don’t worry! A simple comparison is this – think of social networking a bit like talking to neighbours over the garden fence. You’re thinking of buying a washing machine? You ask your neighbour what model they use, why they bought it and has it given them any trouble? You trust their answers because they have nothing to gain by you buying the same model (except robbing your drive belt if theirs fails) so you’re quite likely to buy that model.

Social networking works exactly the same way. You read what others have to say about a particular product, you trust their advice because they have nothing to gain from your decision and it does come recommended after all. Now think beyond washing machines. Every topic and pretty soon every product will be talked about, discussed and commented on in social networking platforms like blogs, RSS feeds and MySpace users.

So if you haven’t already, then now is a good time to take the plunge. The best advice is to read a few first – see what sort of content they contain – what they talk about and the style they follow. Now try and write something similarly styled on a topic close to your own heart – perhaps a news item, or a bit of research that you can blend into your own product or company.

If it’s good, it’ll get picked up on and passed on quicker than a case of office flu. Don’t be disheartened if your first attempts fail. It takes time to develop friends and trust. Join like minded groups on MySpace (use the profile search to help you define those groups you want to join and who will want you to join them). Don’t go for an all out selling campaign – it won’t work. Be more creative – think outside the ‘box’.

As the way people ‘shop’ changes, to succeed in an already crowded market place, so online traders must adapt their marketing practises to. Ignore them at your peril.

Just to come back to that point about teenagers... they work less, stay in college longer – seems us parents are in for an expensive time in 2007!

Jonathan C Crouch

About the author: Jonathan is an I.T Professional working in Derby. In his spare time, he administers his partner’s websites – www.fabulousphotogifts.co.uk which sells a premium range of personalised photo jigsaws online, as well as her photo art website – www.purple13.co.uk – where visitors can choose from over 500 artworks and purchase them online. He has wide experience of SEO techniques, web design and marketing on the Internet. Read more articles on SEO and Internet marketing by Jonathan at www.purple13.blogspot.com
Please feel free to re-produce this article – all we ask is a credit to the author and a link to www.fabulousphotogifts.co.uk or www.purple13.blogspot.com

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