Trendwatching.com is one of the coolest sites on the web. They track emerging consumer trends to give businesses ideas for new products and services.
They do a monthly email newsletter where they highlight one trend or a group of trends they have identified. Even though these are consumer trends, but most of the concepts can be applied in B2B marketing (since business buyers are still consumers, after all).
This month they are talking about 6 trends for 2009.
The idea is that you make low-cost, practical modifications to existing products to make them more relevant for specific groups of users. In other words, you “pay tribute” to their lifestyle with your products.
An example they cite is knit gloves with a metal dot on the fingertips that won’t scratch iPods or other touchscreen devices.
This is big because they are talking about changes that don’t cost a lot, but that offer greater tailoring to customer needs.
How can software execs use this trend?
What about a version that changes the names on your navigation to match language used by a particular group of users? Or a utility that automatically imports data from an industry standard like Quickbooks or – better still – a more obscure package that is still a standard in a particular vertical?
Luxury is whatever you define it to be. Look at an accepted standard and think about how you can turn it on its end to appeal to people who have become accustomed to that and are now looking for something else.
How to do it with software?
Can you add a retro or personal touch – something high-touch? Maybe something crafty or fuzzy? Some kind of add-on that would only appeal to a select few (and can be developed cost-effectively)? What can you bundle with the software that would make an interesting story for users to brag about over coffee?
3. Feedback 3.0
Who wouldn’t love this? Not just customers posting what they think everywhere (Feedback 1.0), not just customers talking to each other (Feedback 2.0), but companies rebutting unfair criticism and getting their version of events right up there with the original posting.
Services that help customers and businesses go greener.
In software? What can you do to be more green? No printed manuals, for sure. Can you point to anything your software does that makes you the energy-efficient choice? How about something in the way you run your business?
Map anything and everything. Would there be any value in adding mapping capability to anything your software does?
6. Happy Ending
Taking better care of your customers during these tough times.
What can you do to make your users feel the love?
Here is a link to the whole article – it’s long but well worth the read. And you’ll love the examples, which are drawn from all over the world: