How is it that some businesses just seem to know before anyone else what the next hottest thing is going to be? Whether it’s choosing just the right social media outlet to market their brand, or getting the hottest products before the rest of the niche, there are some businesses that just seem to have their finger on a pulse the rest of us can’t find.
The Art of Trend-Spotting
Trend-spotting is the name of this uncanny ability, and it means exactly what it sounds like: spotting trends before they really blow up.
So how does it work? How do business owners learn the art of trend-spotting? And most of all, how can it benefit your business?
It turns out that trend-spotting is a crucial strategy for your company, so read on to learn more about how you can become a true master in staying above the curve.
What Trends Mean for Your Business
Pick a trend. Any trend. Beanie Babies. Fidget spinners. Snapchat. Social media influencers. Evil Kermit memes.
Trends come and go, but their legacy lasts forever. But while people aren’t looking to Beanie Babies as an investment tool anymore, and Evil Kermit memes aren’t nearly as popular as they were in 2020, these things still have meaning.
But the true benefactors of these trends weren’t the people who jumped on board once they were established – though they certainly made the most of their brief stay – but from those who were at the helm of the trend. Ever hear the phrase, “I liked (trend) before anyone else did?” While it typically refers to fans, it can also be true for marketing professionals.
Many people think of products when they think of business trends. That’s certainly true, but there’s so much more to it. Think of every recent marketing concept. Pinterest. Tik Tok. Using memes to market your business. Everything from color schemes to fonts and infographic formats is based on a trend.
By the way… if you are interested to become a Pinterest Manager, do not miss this article.
Your customers love trends. Everyone loves to buy the latest thing, or take advantage of the latest offer. Take, for example, the transition from summer to autumn. There comes a point when putting flip flops and references to sun and heat in your advertising no longer matter, because customers are expecting warm, neutral tones and coziness.
Seasonal cues are one very real example of how trends set customer expectations, and nearly every business takes advantage of them.
But orange hues and pumpkin spice aren’t the only examples of trends. In fact, nearly everything we touch in marketing is part of a trend, which is why trend-spotting is so very important.
The Benefits of Trend-Spotting
The early bird gets the worm, as they say, and the trend spotter gets the customers. A true trend spotter knows what the customer is going to want before they want it. That way, when the customer starts acting on their desires, the business that practices active trend-spotting will pop up first with exactly what that customer wants.
That customer is automatically brand loyal. After all, if there’s only one resource for the thing you want or need, where else are you going to look? They tell their friends, their friends tell their friends, and so on. Suddenly everyone wants the thing, and businesses are scrambling to accommodate the need.
Sadly, not everyone will get there in time. There comes a time when everyone has what they want from an object, a social media platform, or a meme. They’ll move on swiftly to the next thing, and the next, and so on. There still may be some desire for whatever it was that captured their attention before, but it’s not going to be as red-hot popular as it was before.
As a business owner, you need to not only show up to trends on time, but be there first. That’s where trend-spotting comes in handy.
Read also: How to Find Your Superconsumers
How to Become a Trend Spotter
It’s almost impossible to determine when a trend is going to happen, and when the tide is going to shift. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Look at social media outlets, for example. Facebook has been around the longest, and it is still very relevant for individuals and businesses alike. Instagram is highly popular.
But outlets like Google+, Vine, and as some predict, Snapchat. They were hot, hot, hot for a moment, and now they’re distant memories.
For those who used these waning or defunct social media outlets to build their brand, it may feel like nothing but a waste of time and money in retrospect. But really, all marketing follows this path. Think of it not as wasting money on a flash in the pan, but riding a tremendous tidal wave to the beach before the next one comes in.
Therefore, the first step to successful trend-spotting is analyzing the trend. What kind of impact does this trend have the potential to create? Product trends tend to be flashes in the pan. If they weren’t, there wouldn’t be a new edition of your cell phone every few months.
But marketing trends tend to last a little longer and provide a little more benefit. What would happen if you start incorporating memes into your social media marketing?
Would it be on brand, or would it just confuse your audience? Would meme-based posts create more “likes” and “shares?”
You’ll also want to do a little market research. Have your competitors caught on to this trend? Are they actively using it themselves? What kind of following do they have? What kind of response are they getting?
And what about your own audience? There are ways to ask their thoughts and opinions about certain trends without emailing every single one of them to ask if they think you should follow a specific trend or not.
For example, you can create a social media poll, asking what the group’s interest level is in a certain trend. One benefit of social media is that you may not only get poll answers, but you’ll be privy to any group discussions in the comments section, which can enlighten you to the popular opinion among your audience.
If you want to learn more about this process, you may be interested in this article, and also this one.
The Deciding Factor and Final Thoughts…
Lastly, always remember that customers are always going to vote with their wallet, as the saying goes. What they don’t like, they won’t respond to. Whether it’s a marketing campaign that just doesn’t work or a product they don’t want, your audience will dutifully ignore something that doesn’t resonate with them, even if it is allegedly the hottest trend.
Trend-spotting does take some practice, and it may feel for a while that you’re jumping in just as everyone is getting ready to leave a trend behind. After some time, you’ll learn which businesses and media outlets in your niche offer the greatest insight into the next big thing, and you’ll get a feel for how customers will respond when things start gearing up for a trend shift.
Still, once you’ve developed the skill, you definitely won’t regret the time and energy spent in your research. Until such time as you’re actually creating the trends, spotting them and participating in them is the next best way to keep your company ahead of the competition.