Surprising Consumer Trends for 2014

Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Sales 2.0, Startups [ 0 Comments ]

2014 consumer trends2013 has been an interesting year for business and has been a hallmark year for technology. Infused in nearly every aspect of business and marketing, technology is quickly becoming less of a luxury and more of a regular part of life. However, in Ford’s annual trend report, research found the novelty of technology and the constant connectivity it’s afforded us may be wearing off.

The following are some of the trends Ford found and how small businesses can hope to adjust in the coming year:

The Good Ol’ Days
Consumers are beginning to long for their romanticized versions of “how things used to be.” Small businesses can use advertising to harken back to more nostalgic times and use more traditional marketing techniques, like direct mail, to fully capture the disconnected sense.

The Unwanted Middle Man
Professional middle men are often a necessity in modern business, but that hasn’t stopped customers from hoping for more sincere and intimate interactions with retailers and service providers.

Social media gives organizations with a veritable portal into the lives of their customers, including a means to connect with them personally. For instance, a small online business called OptimalRun, which sells shoes, will take questions from customers online about footwear and then respond directly to them with a personalized video answering their particular questions. This might take some time, but staying connected with consumers helps to ensure longevity.

Related: Four Online Marketing Trends That Will Rule 2014

Going Blue
Over the last decade consumers have shown a growing concern for environmentalism in business. For the most part, this fixation has remained limited to the popular trend of “going green,” mostly referring to recycling and various other sustainable advancements. But Ford’s trend report suggests environmental missions are quickly shifting their sights toward the preservation of the world’s oceans.

According to a joint report from the United Nations and the Pacific Institute, the impending water crisis holds some serious implications for business. Water scarcity affects resource availability which can lead to hiccups in mining and industrial operations that require ample water supply. Additionally, with the focus turning from green to blue, companies are becoming increasingly susceptible to reputation risks.

To preemptively join the effort to protect the world’s water supplies, businesses can take steps to lower their carbon footprint and limit their use of water. What’s more, companies should begin factoring in existing water and climate issues into their business plans. Organizations can help make a difference, and customers will appreciate the effort.

Related: Is Moving to the Cloud Really a Good Idea?

Too Much Going On
Our lives have become saturated with screens of all shapes and sizes, from the biggest TV to the smallest smartphone. Advancements in technology that brought on products like the iPad, were pushed as time savers, essential one-stop-shops for all of our informational needs. As Ford’s report has shown, however, this multitude of mobile phones, tablets and computers have actually cut down on the quality of our work.

In a fast-paced business environment, multitasking is often more of a necessity than a preference. A growing obsession with our devices, though, has pushed us collectively past our functional limit. Companies should work towards corralling this trend, striking a balance that allows for multitasking, but not to the point that it’s detrimental to work.

Cherish the Small Moments
The Internet and mobility have allowed consumers to fill every moment of their lives, even leisure time, ingesting information. The intake of such vast amounts of data has started to segment days, creating micro moments where a person appreciates a small bit of information. Marketers can take advantage of these tiny chunks of time and craft concise advertisements that can be easily digested.

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