Mark J. Penn speaks about microtrends and their significance for marketers in an email interview with Mint’s Marion Arathoon. Edited excerpts:
On the advertising and marketing impact of microtrends
A microtrend is (created by) a small group of people—often not more than 1% of society—whose shared, intense choices can make a huge difference in the society. Often, the groups are counterintuitive, and therefore, missed or undercounted by companies, marketers, policymakers, and others.
A closer look: The cover of Pen’s book.
The microtrends likely to have the biggest impact in advertising and marketing are those where prevailing, conventional wisdom is seriously outdated.
For example, America is older than it has ever been, and yet marketers act still like everyone is 30-something.
The majority of car-buyers in America are women, and yet cars are still designed, sold and advertised as though just men are in the driver’s seat.
The average age of a video/computer game-player in America is 33, and yet video games are still packaged like they’re only for rebellious teenage boys.
There is also a chapter in the book on Indian Women Rising—about the remarkable gains Indian women have made at home and around the world. Marketers in India may want to examine how this shift in women’s influence affects their products, services and messages.
On niches being created in society
We are seeing the niching of society in every way—more and more people making individual choices that companies and marketers would do well to pay attention to.
These days, you don’t have to be part of a majority to be powerful. A 1% microtrend can make or break a business, tip an election or start a social movement. So marketers need to know their “microtargets”—the small groups that make up their potential buyers—and develop products and messages tailored just to them.
It (microtrends) applies in every kind of marketing.
Technology makes the niching of online marketing even more possible, now that companies can trace specific consumer preferences and desires, and “narrowcast” their messages to buyers in very targeted ways.
The better we know our customers, the more efficient our marketing can be.