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2011 Trends in Marketing

The results of a recent Associated Press survey of leading economists suggest the pillars of America's financial systems will remain a shaky throughout 2011. Despite these forecasts, U.S. businesses are still forging ahead and looking for innovative ways to reach consumers. This is especially true for marketing managers as they look for programs that create a high return on investment and develop long-term brand relationships. Below are five key trends in the marketing industry that will have a significant impact on business throughout 2011:

  1. Marketing to Baby Boomers - Originally marketers felt this demographic's age shift would mean an investment in promoting brands that cater to seniors. Now marketers are realizing that this is a very active market that has money to spend, is interested in new products and is tech-savvy. DialAmerica Dialogue

    According to a recent USA Today article, Baby Boomers' spending power is growing at a pace that's leaving younger generations far behind. In fact, spending by the 116 million U.S. consumers age 50 and older was $2.9 trillion last year - up 45% in the past 10 years. While the 182 million people younger than 50 spent $3.3 trillion last year - up just 6% during the same decade. Additionally the study shows that Boomers are among the biggest buyers of new technology and new cars. Marketers will miss a huge opportunity if they maintain previous stereotypes on this demographic.

  2. Healthcare marketing -The passage of the healthcare reform act in 2010 marked the start of a new day for healthcare marketing. Although the deadline for state run health insurance exchanges isn't until 2014, insurance companies will begin changing the way they connect with new customers and service existing ones. These changes will impact other areas of the business and eventually change American's attitude about healthcare. A strong emphasis will be placed on customer service, as insurance companies adjust to a new customer-centric playing field. Customer service tools such as contact centers and online chats will be the gateway to this customer base, which the Congressional Budget Office predicts will be over 24 million people.

  3. Hispanic marketing - In early 2011, the final results of the 2010 Census will be released - and it is expected to show the huge growth in U.S. Hispanic population. Predictions are that over 62 percent of all U.S. teenagers will be Hispanic within 10 years. This U.S. population segment has evolved to a mass market versus a growing minority group.

    A recent article in MediaPost argues, "Those who have a stake in understanding the U.S. market should pay enhanced attention to the nuances and complexities of the Latino population. U.S. Hispanics assimilate while maintaining strong ties to cultural traditions and value systems. The resulting assimilated segment is permeating boundaries and forever changing the American consumer market." Brands will have to look past traditional advertising and will need to consider if they are able to satisfy the needs of this audience. They will have to go beyond translating ads and determine how they will address product, service inquiries and on-going consumer engagement.

  4. Loyalty / rewards programs - Although loyalty and rewards programs are not a new concept, they have increased their popularity over the past two years, even with unlikely brands to engage consumers in this way. Marketers realize that the number of transactions and marketing spend are still be important, but customer engagement is the key to successful loyalty initiatives. With the correct level of engagement comes loyalty, enthusiasm, trust and personal referrals. In the end, these are the factors that have the biggest impact on your bottom line.

  5. Maximizing inbound opportunities - Customer service was once viewed as a function of any consumer based business. Some argued it didn't have any relevance to marketing and business practices. However, once businesses shifted towards customer-centric operations, they realized that they had been sitting on a customer insight and branding gold-mine, especially in their contact centers. More and more marketers are looking to turn their call centers into revenue generating centers, according to a recent study by Portrait Software. The study shows that 69% of large business-to-consumer marketers view their call centers as "business critical revenue generators." Today businesses understand the huge opportunities to cross-sell or up-sell when they work with a highly skilled contact center with dynamic agents.

We hope you found this month's Dialogue informative. We wish you success in 2011.

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