As America marches steadily toward a majority-minority population, culture and authenticity will play larger roles in how products and services are developed and marketed. Authenticity influences culture, but data suggests that it is not a key driver of brand choice. However, more culturally resonant campaigns should be on your holiday wish list for 2020, as multicultural consumers are authors of some of the most prevailing trends in 2019. To help you prepare for the changes, we have identified some of those emerging trends that marketers need to be aware of
“As long as there have been campfires, humans have gathered around them and conveyed their view of the world through the use of stories.” Geoffrey Berwind nailed it. Storytelling has long since been hailed by content marketers as one of the most effective ways to capture the time and attention of prospects. Stories are powerful connectors. When told or written masterfully, they ignite the imagination and spark curiosity. But why are we talking about storytelling here in the context of market research? It’s simple. As it turns out, the way traditional market research has been reported for the last 50 years has been all wrong. That’s a bold statement, but sadly true. You’ve been there, trapped in a dim boardroom, eyes glazing over, walking through a presentation deck 100+ slides deep chock full of charts and graphs. The facts are reported, but you have to wonder just how much understanding clients walk away with.
This year was chock-full of defining moments. From ongoing trade disputes with China and political unrest, to legalized marijuana and online privacy concerns. In our final report of the year, 2019 Defining Moments: Insights Into Culture and Authenticity™, we highlight trends in consumer sentiment, purchase behavior, and digital media use, and explore the impact culture has on these trends. We’ve combined these insights into a brief narrative of Total Market consumer behavior over the last twelve months and marketing predictions for 2020.
In July of 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to allow the adult use of recreational marijuana. Its state legislature is the first to legalize selling the drug. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, for now. But that hasn’t stopped blue-chip consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies from exploring cannabis-based products as many believe that federal legalization in the U.S. is only a few votes away.
In a perfect world, we would have the best information available at our fingertips when making decisions. But, that’s often not the case. While information is more accessible now than at any other time in history, it’s not always the right information. Missing or bad information could mean big mistakes when developing or measuring marketing campaigns. So, to mitigate the risk of missing the mark, many companies explore custom market research. But, accurate, actionable custom research requires knowledge, experience, and dedicated personnel to complete.
Brand strategists are tasked with knowing when to include market research in the scope of agency work for clients and with pushing back on the inevitable biases that arise in the agency when collecting and analyzing that data. Cognitive biases, the collection of faulty ways of thinking hardwired into the human brain, permeate almost every aspect of our lives. From anchoring to zero-risk, humans live and work with various types of cognitive biases that can impair judgment and stall progress, both personally and professionally.
It’s true. Within just three years, linear TV has lost nearly half its viewers. What factors are driving the shift, and how can marketers adapt to — and profit from — the changes? Our nationwide survey of consumers’ media consumption habits on platforms such as live TV, streaming services, gaming, and social media produced several useful insights. Viewers are “Streaming” to Quality Content Despite losing subscribers for the first time in eight years — and no doubt aided by the drastic decline of live television — Netflix remains the preferred method (61%) for watching TV programs among U.S. consumers, followed closely by YouTube.
In this new age of social media, traditional market research has taken a beating. Influencers like serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) extol the importance of getting out and talking to their customers personally while countless memes of Steve Jobs’ quip against market research “customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them,” are shared endlessly online. To some extent, they have a point. Gary Vee’s “back to basics” approach of getting out in the real world and speaking to consumers makes sense. Technology has made it so easy to hide behind our screens that, just like the Wizard of Oz, we tell our customers what we want without giving them a chance to get to know the person behind the curtain. Nor can we get to know them.
Steve Jobs was a genius. He could envision and bring to market revolutionary products that set the standards in their industries. He was also known for relying on his intuition over market research. Due to the success of Apple, many people subscribe to this logic and opt-out of conducting market research. But there was only one Steve Jobs. The marketplace is littered with failed products and services that seemed like a good idea to their creators and were rushed to market only to find that no one asked for or needed them. Complicating matters further is an unprecedented demographic shift towards multiculturalism that is changing the composition of the U.S. consumer market. In business, intuition can be useful, but it needs to be optimized by market research, especially when attempting to tap into diverse markets. If you’re not advising your clients to conduct market research, you are doing them a disservice as they don’t have the facts to make informed decisions about their marketing strategy.