Customer expectations are much higher in 2021. Today’s empowered consumers know who they are, expect brands to understand their needs, and use their social currency to influence perception in favor of or against brands. Enlightened brands listen, build intelligence, and use those insights to make products more attractive to buyers. Product Managers play a vital role in bringing new products to market. They work with R&D to develop the product and create strategy and oversee the tactical execution of that strategy.
It’s Pride Month! Every year, in June, LGBTQIA+ communities worldwide celebrate the freedom to be authentically and unapologetically who they are. City streets erupt in festive expressions of Pride as enthusiastic, and often costumed patrons attend parades, concerts, and festivals decorated with brightly colored rainbow flags, streamers, and confetti. But the celebration doesn’t just bring people together for a good party. Instead, it shines a light on an underrepresented community, like other minority groups, who have struggled to be seen, heard, and included for generations.
Miami is quickly becoming the next Silicon Valley. Fueled by the tech explosion permeating South America and corporate America’s waning interest in settling out west, Miami has become a bustling hub for upwardly mobile Hispanics. Tech companies looking to put down roots in the coastal city are either looking to secure tech talent or are scouting locations to set up shop, or both. The result, an empowered Hispanic base with the disposable income to buy what they want and need to support multigenerational households or, in some cases, extended family in their countries of origin.
After months of uncertainty, many Americans are cautiously optimistic about saying farewell to COVID-19. Mask mandates have either expired or are set to expire soon, and vaccines are available to anyone ages 12 and older who wants one. Slowly, the country is starting to awaken, and with it, sample companies are assessing where we go from here. For 15 months, the online sample industry adapted its business strategy to the pandemic reality. Traditional in-person focus groups shifted online, and online surveys were the gold standard.
Six months later, the result of the 2020 Presidential Election is crystal clear. Joe Biden won by over seven million votes. Why Americans voted as they did is something sociologists and political scientists will be analyzing for years to come. Trump’s demeanor and policy positions may have contributed to his loss, but his pugnaciousness and far-Right agenda attracted more voters, many of them multicultural, in 2020 than in 2016. While Trump’s support was increasing, 2020 threw the world a COVID-19 sized curveball. Had the pandemic not occurred, it’s likely Donald Trump would still be President.
At the height of the pandemic, focus group facilities were primarily silenced, accelerating the shift from in-person to online qualitative studies. For agencies, this shift happened at a critical time for brands as COVID-19 and racial injustice cases spiked. The need to get a pulse on consumer sentiment was palpable as companies found themselves navigating the pandemic while showing solidarity for social justice issues.
The concept of “do-it-yourself” may bring to mind images of re-tiling the bathroom floor or reseeding the lawn. But DIY goes far beyond home improvement projects. About five years ago, online do-it-yourself sample tools began trending. Sample companies would create these tools for clients at little to no charge to facilitate sample buying. However, it wasn’t long before clients realized, like many of us who’ve tried to tile a floor, it may look easy, but looks can be deceiving.
Latino consumers continue to outpace the general market in technology use. This trend is driven primarily by the youth of this demographic. Nearly six in ten Hispanics are Millennials or younger, and Gen Z is the first majority-minority generation. These generations are digital natives and thrive on the mobile experience, which impacts how they interact with e-commerce, social media, and entertainment. More specifically, Hispanics over-index on e-commerce, especially among Hispanic Millennials, many of whom are bilingual, living in multigenerational households. They act as “digital sherpas,” interpreting the purchase experience for Spanish-dominant loved ones.
The American economy depends on jobs created by small businesses, which account for 64% of new jobs created every year. Some of the best-run U.S. small businesses are those participating in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program. The annual review required to maintain eligibility in the program can seem onerous to some, but it ensures participating firms are adequately capitalized and operating in a stable manner. An annual business plan review is beneficial to all companies, but for 8(a) firms, the mandate prompts them to align their efforts with changes in the market to ensure they have a plan to respond.
A few years ago, the concept of autonomous vehicles captivated consumers. While the technology has progressed tremendously, most self-driving experiences are still limited to driver assistance, partial automation, or conditional automation. Innovation develops over time. Compare that to the emergence of mobile sample. Ten years ago, it was the most significant innovation in the online sample industry. Mobile sample was discussed in every conference from 2010 to 2016. Despite the buzz, however, mobile sample didn’t immediately catch on. The technology existed, but brands resisted the change in survey methodology. But that started to change in 2017.