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Targeting Trends for Success

Updated on October 2, 2015

Importance of Trends

Trends are one of the more valuable elements to identify if we hope to comprehend, in general, the type of future our children and grandchildren will face.

They are also extremely important for marketers and those in business, as many of us catering to niches, or even general markets, must understand where real trends are guiding things, as the survival or profitability of our businesses will depend on it.

One of the major challenges of identifying trends though, is correctly sifting through the many people with underlying agendas who use 'social proof' in a corrup way, in order to persuade people events are going a certain direction, when in reality they actually aren't.

It is a big mistake not to take that into consideration, and so when we do our research, we must take into account that private agendas are part of the so-called statistics that we are being provided with.

Is this a real trend? Do you really know? Does it matter?

What is a trend?

With that in mind, what is a trend? Probably the best way to understand it is to contrast it with a fad. A fad is something that suddenly comes upon the scene for a short period of time ... surprising and delighting people, motivating them to temporarily participate in it.

A fad can generate an enormous effect, but over the long term it just fades away and people drift or run toward the next big thing.

Trends aren't like that at all, and take into account many factors that are able to be projected pretty accurately, as far as the overall general direction will go.

What to do when a trend is identified

The challenge is not always correctly identifying the trends, but how to take advantage of these trends, and develop products and services that meet the needs and wants related to those trends.

Trends can be part of a particular sector like housing trends, fashion trends, phone trends, gaming trends, toy trends, Internet trends, or any number of an endless array of things that people connect to or interact with.

Are they your customers? Should they be?

Putting trends into perspective

Trends analysis must also look at the overall trend from a global, regionally, and/or local viewpoint, depending on the size and location of a market

Some trends won't necessarily be happening or emerging in one part of the world, or even country, while other trends could be sprouting up everywhere.

For example, there can also be business trends, industry trends, market trends, economic trends, retail trends and consumer trends, among many others, which may be at very different levels in any one place or region.

Is this a real trend? A fad? Neither?

What to do when you identify a trend

Trends research must be accompanied by a very specific plan, as if we don't have any parameters, or aren't searching within any type of guidelines, the information load will overwhelm us, and many things coming to our attention won't make the type of sense needed to take actionable steps. This is especially true with information from different places or sources which is contradictory.

So when we're aiming at a known target, the target will be an aid in keeping us disciplined concerning the information we absorb. That way the decisions we make will be sound and based in fact, rather than information being thrown around from private and hidden agendas.

Anyway, the point is everyone needs to have at least a general idea of where trends are really going, whether we are in marketing, business or making decisions as consumers.

Trends are long term - but they still move

Take as an example the way migration could be changing things even on a local level. Anything or everything could be changing even in neighborhoods where local businesses may need to change products being sold to meet changing demographics.

Now you can see why paying attention to trends is so important to do. Even though a trend will be long term, it's still a moving target, and so we need to keep up on the realities of the world we live in, not the world we wish it was.

Key decisions must be made on the real world and how it is really changing, and not demogogues spewing out their wishes and hopes, thinking it'll make the world into the image they want.

What is he drinking?

Trends emerging out of trends

Let's take this to another level, because trends moving out into the future actually relate to more than one thing. But first we must identify a key trend before we start looking at trends that could emerge out of that original trend.

Is this important in your market?

How other trends can emerge from major trend

Using hispanic migration as an example again, look at what would happen if you weren't aware of huge movements of certain ethnic groups in an area your business serves.

While basic needs are always the same with everybody - such as food - there are definitely differing tastes and desires in those areas in relationship to ethnic groups, and you can go out of business very quickly, or make wrong decisions in other areas of life if that isn't understood.

Not only is this in relationship to food, but it could also involve clothing, clothing labels, and a host of other things preferred by a certain demographic.

Once we identify these types of trends, then we must find out how we can best serve it.

Does this mean anything to you?

One way to understand a living trend

A way to help understand this would be to use the language of photography. Identifying a tend is similar to taking a snapshot of an existing situation. You catch the moment and time and can understand what's happening in the present and why.

That's not enough though. A snapshot is a necessary starting point, but we then need to apply the video side of the equation, and project out where that snapshot will take things.

Who are the Suicide Girls?

In other words, a snapshot is static, but a trend is alive and always moving forward like a video playing.

Those that can put those two together will be able to provide the targeted products or services to meet the wants and needs of those behind and interacting with that trend, and over the long haul will be very profitable, assuming you're in sales, marketing or business.

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