Come to the Marketing Week Trends Show 2010!

Roll up, roll up and feel the future!

What are the big macro trends?
Consumer-to-consumer communication is one. You have to allow your customers to communicate with each other within your website or business, without censoring them

This is a leap of faith, but it can also flag up potential issues for the future. Bloggers have already shown us how you can find well-informed and respected feedback on the internet. The novelty of online comment pages is wearing off now, so we are seeing less and less “loony comment” out there.

At, we are allowing customers to “star” and comment on their products after they receive them, but we’ll also use an independent fashion blogger to review pieces as well.

What are the big consumer trends?
The growth of online shopping is still staggering, but this is old news. For me, the trend that is most interesting is the consumer’s relentless demand for value.

I’ve been working for ten years on adding value, creating experience and building brand equity. These things are now old news: consumers want real discounts. How do we deliver value and an engaging promotion experience without cheapening the brand?

What are the big communications trends?
We’ve used Chatroulette and Foursquare; these are great fun and give us instant stand-out, but they don’t necessarily give consumers a great experience. They are more of a novelty and consumers realise that we are hijacking them.

What’s more, people are becoming a little bored of celebrity endorsement. It has to be a perfect fit (James Bond for Omega) or you have to have the money to give it massive exposure – think Cheryl Cole for L’Oréal.

I want to see consumers using new technology to lead them to more traditional environments. Like using a teaser online to drive interest in your cinema advert.

Any practical tips for utilising these trends in everyday working life?
Coco Chanel said that you don’t need to be ahead of the trend, just on it. Don’t rush into new media – being first is fun and gets you some press but can be a mistake; see how it’s panning out. When it’s at its height and you feel comfortable, jump in.

Sameer Desai, global innovation director, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

What are the big macro trends?
The biggest is the rise of emerging markets. For every single company out there in a scenario where the developed-world economies are barely growing, emerging markets are going to be the biggest engines of growth. No global marketer or company can afford to ignore this.

A second trend is the huge growth in urbanisation. About 70 million people are pouring into urban centres every year, most of them in emerging markets. This has huge implications for any company in the business of providing infrastructure, construction materials, education and medical services.

Another important element is the continuous economic pressure on the developed nations. The crisis is far from over; the negative trends in GDP growth for the developed economies will continue and the threat of inflation is still very real.

What are the big consumer trends?
The biggest in Europe is consumers’ unwillingness to spend, seek value and delay their purchases of big ticket items. This may not be a long-term trend, but it’s something marketers must be alive to for the next three to five years. The continued move to sustainability is another clearly established trend now, although it is interesting that a relatively small percentage of consumers actually move to brands with greener credentials if there are no other benefits offered apart from being green.

What are the big communications trends?
Convergence, convergence, convergence. I guess enough has been said about this by others, but communication on social media and blogs is growing exponentially. The reality, though, is that for a lot of the FMCG companies, TV is still the biggest percentage of media spend.

Any practical tips for utilising these trends in everyday working life?
For emerging markets, plan to be in them if you aren’t already. But it is not easy. Also, keep abreast of innovations coming out of emerging markets since a reverse trend seems to be starting with emerging nation marketers – they go on to export their innovations to developed ones.
Also, be aware of the consumer reluctance to spend. Smaller offerings at lower unit prices are critical. Do-it-yourself is increasing, so talking about your products’ ability to enhance the at-home experience could work, if relevant.

David Haigh, chief executive, Brand Finance

What are the big macro trends?
There will be a shift in the centre of economic gravity to Asia and an increasing willingness for BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) to assert themselves economically, politically and militarily. The US, EU and G7 will see accelerated decline as world powers.

There is an ageing population in the developed world and younger population in the developing world, which will affect many issues. As will the increasing importance of Islam throughout the world.
Many sacred cows in the sustainability field will be discredited, such as the benefits of organic goods. And there will be a resurgence of governmental regulation.

What are the big consumer trends?
There will be a flight to quality brands, leading to brand extensions rather than new launches. There will also continue to be a search for value for money and low-cost options during this time of austerity.

What are the big communications trends?
The decline of ad-funded print media will continue. But at the same time, there will also be a decline in free-to-use content on the web, leading to reappraisal of the internet business model. We’ll see resurgence of traditional advertising on all visual media, including TV, satellite and the internet. Mobile will grow in use for advertising, PR, sales and word of mouth. One-to-one communications via social media and online communities will continue.

Any practical tips for utilising these trends in everyday working life?
Go back to basics on all products and services, reappraising costs to engineer lower prices. Invest heavily in segmentation and purchase decision research to anticipate market and consumer trends.

Increase marketing budgets to capitalise on the less competitive media environment coming out of the recession. Make sure you have improved knowledge of financial analysis, valuation and metrics to better manage in a tough environment.

In terms of communications, capitalise on any social media and mobile channels. And learn Chinese or Hindi; or at least understand more about the opportunities for supply and demand in these emerging markets

Richard Harris, vice-president, acquisitions, American Express Services Europe

What are the big macro trends?
In financial services, we are seeing a general erosion of trust. This is being addressed partly by increased regulation but this will, in turn, create pressure on lenders. Ultimately, these new regulations will affect the delivery of value to the consumer, so whether it addresses the erosion of trust is somewhat unknown.

What are the big consumer trends?
As the financial service industry’s dynamics change, the consumer is searching for value in different ways. Greater weight is now being attached to good service, quality and trust. All these will be key differentiators for the future that will separate the winners and losers.

What are the big communications trends?
Communication needs to be clear, simple and impactful for consumers in a fragmented media world. But it also needs to be clearly associated with a brand’s personality and convey a point of view that differentiates that company from the rest. Increasingly, this type of communication manifests itself in using customer experiences, whether through words, videos or pictures to bring this to life.

Any practical tips for utilising these trends in everyday working life?
People like sharing, so enable customers to pass on their experiences and become real, rather than passive, advocates for your brand. That is important and can only make marketing efforts and investments more efficient.

As well as William Woodhams, Sameer Desai, David Haigh and Richard Harris, speakers at Trends 2010 will include: marketing professor William Carney, who will ask whether your company is in need of radical innovation; corporate sustainability expert Dr Aileen Ionescu-Somers, who will explain how spending patterns are set to change; and economist Roger Nightingale, who will tell us what really lies ahead in this confusing climate.

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