NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Advertising on TV and in newspapers is so last year. In 2011, the most important tool for promoting a product will be consumers themselves, according to a new report from Trendwatching.com, a firm that tracks global consumer trends.
All in all, the trends highlighted in this report generally represent a positive shift in the way consumers and companies do businesses. Next year, consumers are expected to share, broadcast and recommend more products to friends, family and acquaintances through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, the firm predicts, which will lead shoppers to base their purchasing decisions increasingly on what people they know say about a given product rather than what the TV says about it.
In a very real sense, word of mouth shopping is about to make a comeback.
“Consumers will talk more about brands in 2011 than ever before, and opportunities for brands that create engaging content that consumers want to share, or that have personalities that actually engage consumers will also be bigger than ever,” the site says.
Largely in response to this, Trendwatching also believes that companies will try to encourage consumers to talk more about their products by offering more virtual status symbols like badges and awards when shoppers make a purchase. This way, consumers will be more likely to boast about a recent product they’ve bought, and will promote the company in the process.
But companies won’t stop there when reaching out to consumers next year.
Trendwatching predicts that more brands will offer random acts of kindness in order to engage with their customers by offering free gifts. As an example, the report highlights one British flower delivery service that actually searches for users on Twitter who have posted something sad, and then contacts those users with an offer for free flowers to brighten their day.