Top 10 Alternative Marketing Trends for 2007, Part II

Marketers are constantly watching for alternative methods that can give them a competitive edge in over-crowded markets. Drew Neisser, CEO for Renegade Marketing, explains the last five trends that will rise fastest in 2007.

6. Eco-everything
Marketers will adopt eco-friendly green strategies across the board in 2007. Wal-Mart seems to be leading the way with its new "Embrace the Earth" mission that pushes sustainability on its vendors. Suddenly Wal-Mart is the world's largest buyer of organic cotton, fair trade coffee, and energy-efficient light bulbs. Thousands of companies - from P&G to J&J to Black & Decker - will be forced to examine the greenness of their manufacturing and distribution processes. In addition to the environmental impact, the sales impact could be enormous.

7. More user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) seemed to be all the rage in 2006. Everyone from Doritos to Mentos, MasterCard to Panasonic, Chevy to Oreos, offered user generated content programs. And not without good reason. Consumers really responded. The UGC program that Renegade created for Panasonic was great for engaging the action sports community. Mentos's effort to ride the wave of consumer interest in watching Coke bottle geysers has created a corresponding explosion in sales (up 17% over the previous year). Looking ahead, however, marketers will need to raise the stakes if they hope to get consumers involved in such campaigns. One way will be to offer cash (or other incentives), not just for the winners as Doritos is doing, but for all UGC that other consumers end up watching. This "pay for play" approach is certainly gaining traction with the emergence of Current TV (which is paying for ads) and (which is paying for content). Creative consumers will undoubtedly follow the money.

8. No more lines
For years, marketers have been dividing their communication budgets into "above the line" and "below the line" buckets. More recently, the division has focused on offline versus online activity. Hopefully, 2007 will be the year that marketers say "forget the lines" and look at their communications as one continuous conversation that seamlessly weaves across media turning prospects into customers and ultimately into brand advocates. To achieve this, marketers will need a new approach to strategy development and product management, creating briefs that embrace multi-channel ideation and managers that seek ideas rather than tactics. Unilever is a leader in this area and the results have been extraordinary, setting the standard with programs like Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty and the Axe Effect campaign.

9. Daring to be digital
2007 will be the proving ground for a number of emerging digital media weapons from mash-ups to RSS to virtual worlds. Google led the way with map-based mash-ups like the one it executed for the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie. created quite a stir with its mash-up of real estate sales data and mapping software, providing instant value estimates for just about every address in America. With RSS feeds just about everywhere, consumers can control how they access content. For example, on Expedia you can get personalized travel deals delivered wherever and whenever you want them. And virtual worlds such as are progressing well, attracting hundreds of thousands of players - and forward-thinking marketers such American Apparel and Wells Fargo (both of whom set up virtual stores there for virtual commerce). While none of these new media approaches are likely to conquer the world by themselves, for the right companies each approach could play a key role in the year's marketing mix.

10. Innovation triumphs
Innovation will propel marketers and agencies to new heights of success in 2007. On the client side, companies can't afford to keep pushing the same products while competitors rush to market with less expensive copies. Apple continues to be the poster child for innovation, bringing out new iPods and Macintoshes that are faster, cheaper, smaller and cooler before competitors can even respond to previous iterations. Agencies also have an opportunity to use their considerable skills in both understanding consumers and culture, and producing remarkable ideas to help organizations change the way they operate. To innovate, companies of all kinds will need to extend their core competencies to new arenas. The opportunities for innovation abound, and the only impediment is the willingness to go for it.

-As published in Founded in 1996, Renegade creates ideas and campaigns that cut across all channels, bringing something of a guerrilla mentality to each project.

Melissa Data

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