Fall Trends: Location, Mobile and Group-buying

by Kate on 17 September 2010

in Toolkit,social media

Fall has officially begun, and we’ve already put the flip flops in storage and broken out the boots. With the end of summer comes the feeling that you need a fresh start; a kick-off to the new season. The back-to-school shopping for the working professional can take many forms, but fall trends aren’t just about NY Fashion Week.

Jump-starting your fall marketing plan can be a great way to put some momentum into your work after the dog days of summer have passed. To help get you going, we’ve taken a look at three fall trends that are already becoming a big part of marketing efforts, and will likely come in strong over the coming months.

We’ve also given some tips and hints on how you can start to work these new trends into your marketing efforts, no matter what industry you’re in. Take a peek, and if you have others to share, feel free to leave thoughts in the comments!

  1. Location, location, location. You’ve been fighting it. We know. But the location-based trend in social networking isn’t going away. What started with trendy applications like Foursquare is now taking the main stage, and with the recent announcement of Facebook’s “Places” feature, we’re pretty sure it’s here to stay.How you leverage this trend depends on the type of business you run. For commercial store-fronts, the benefits of a social check-in to notify friends of location and awesomeness can be endless. Ditto for restaurants/bars, etc. But there’s more. Allowing your user-network to tag their location can help non-profits (imagine a crowd of online friends receiving the message “At fundraiser for XX charity, so awesome, come down or donate online” from a friend), big corporations (tradeshow hoppers announcing their location at your booth for example).Getting creative with how to leverage this technology when it’s still in a growth stage will be key. We recommend trying small ways to begin incorporating location-based services or promotions into your marketing plan now, so that when this really takes hold you’ll be prepared for a more robust marketing plan involving location applications.
  2. Mobile devices. Not just mobile phones either. Notebooks, iPads, Kindles etc are continuing to shape the way we consume information. The NYTimes announced that they anticipate being “out of print” some day, libraries are considering a future of entirely digital collections, and a social media shutdown at Harrisburg University showed that as a culture we consume information on the go, digitally, on a wide range of devices, and are no longer tethered to only one particular device, network or location to get online.What does this means for marketers? Platform and compatibility are of utmost importance. You can easily create an impenetrable barrier to consumption of your content if you don’t optimize for a wide array of platforms. Functionality of your website from desktop all the way to mobile phone and everything in between is essential. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need “an app for that,” especially in cases where you have limited budget and resources. Developing a truly useful and robust application for the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry or Andriod platform can be costly and time-consuming, and requires that you update the application with relative frequency to account for platform upgrades.For those with limited budget, focus on functionality of your website on mobile devices instead. For example, use of flash can automatically make your site incompatible with Apple hand-helds. Test your site across a number of mobile platforms and do the best that you can to ensure functionality on each. The number of clicks needed to get to key information is vitally important for mobile users, so be sure to test your site to make sure that you highlight your most viewed content in a way that limits the number of page views each visitor needs to get what they are looking for.
  3. Group buying power. For the consumer-focused company, this trend is taking off with incredible speed. Companies like Groupon, Gilt, Ideeli and others have pioneered the group-buying movement, bringing great deals to the consumer and foot traffic through the doors of businesses around the country. As popularity for these services has grown, others have jumped on board, with companies like OpenTable, Zagat and Yelp launching deals programs this past few months.

    We love this movement, but there are also inherent risks involved in jumping into the group-deal fray. Be sure to consider the impact your deal will have on sales and your bottom line before you agree to a promotion. There are several things to consider before running an ad on something like Groupon. This kind of group buying power can require a bit of creativity when considering how to craft your deal or how your business could get involved. But even companies that aren’t considered strictly consumer-facing can still benefit. For example, software companies could offer limited deals through something like Groupon, and event coordinators could promote conference attendance in a similar way. Starting to think now about how your company could get involved in this trend will be an exciting new approach to your marketing opportunities in the next few months.

Are you ready for the Fall season?

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