Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2008: The "Expectation Economy"

As you have probably figured out by now - I am totally "Trend Obsessed" - it is so important to understand what is happening in the global marketplace in terms of consumer trends, insights and related hands-on business ideas for our clients [and loyal blog readers *wink!].

One of my frequent reads is the uber-cool, totally ahead of the global consumer and their behaviors site TrendWatching.com. Their February Trend Report is one that affects us all in a huge way and its surely one of the biggest challenges in today's marketplace - read on for some highlights:

"Capturing the essence of 2008's demanding consumer arena, it is—surprise, surprise—all about those pesky, demanding consumers:

"The EXPECTATION ECONOMY is an economy inhabited by experienced, well-informed consumers from Canada to South Korea who have a long list of high expectations that they apply to each and every good, service and experience on offer.

Their expectations are based on years of self-training in hyperconsumption, and on the biblical flood of new-style, readily available information sources, curators and BS filters. Which all help them track down and expect not just basic standards of quality, but the 'best of the best'."

The EXPECTATION ECONOMY has been building slowly in the background. The biggest difference from five to ten years ago? Word of mouth now travels the world in a flash, making product launches instantly global, turning every new brand—big or small—into a potential 'player', and most importantly, rewarding exceptional performance with immediate interest and approval from consumers.

In fact, never before has intelligence on the best, the cheapest, the first, the most original and the most relevant been so openly available to consumers. And never before have consumers enjoyed doing research and 'competitive analysis' as much as they do now, and doing it far more diligently than most corporations do.

Let's face it: in the past a brand could get away with not performing at its peak, since consumers didn't enjoy full transparency of the best, the cheapest, the first, the most original, the most relevant. That's really over.

And things are bound to get even more radical: the EXPECTATION ECONOMY is a given for younger generations, who are unburdened by an era of mass production, mass advertising and above all, mass ignorance.

So: not knowing who's doing exceptional things and setting your customers' expectations is not an option."

I will share more on this phenomenon in future posts as this one is already quite long - but I encourage you to think about how the "EXPECTATION ECONOMY" is affecting how you do business and what changes you can make right now to adapt!


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