R.I.P. Trend Predictions: 2011 is the Year of Insight

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Alterian research highlights nearly 300,000 online mentions for 2011 trends in just four months.

We know from experience that insight works

Alterian (LSE: ALN), the leader in customer engagement technology and solutions, today announces the death of the long-term trend prediction.

Bob Barker, VP Corporate Marketing from Alterian commented: “If you take a good look at all the trend conversations out there you quickly realize that anything and everything has been predicted for 2011. The problem is that this content is far too broad. None of it gives you real-time insight into customer behavior and attitudes. Our society is now 24/7 and highly individualistic, making long-term predictions pretty implausible.”

A great example of this is talk around the rise of micro-blogging in 2011, while at the same time some commentators are predicting consumers will be de-teching next year. It looks more like “tech-schizophrenia” and shows exactly why brands need to focus their attention on gathering insight on their individual consumers.

Alterian’s research has highlighted that in just four months there have been nearly 300,000 online mentions on the subject of trends; proving that while trend predictions may be a holiday tradition, the amount of information and its breadth greatly reduces its strategic value.

Long live insight:
However, all is not lost for the industry commentator, they will just need to work harder. With consumers demanding more individual contact from brands, it is becoming more difficult to segment them into generic categories. 2011 will be the year of insight. With more time spent on in-house customer analysis, organizations will develop insight into individual customer behavior and use this information to more effectively engage with their customers.

“We know from experience that insight works,” added Michael Fisher, SVP of Sales and Marketing, the Americas. “Alterian recently tracked sentiment around the U.S. Midterm Elections and, based on the daily volume and sentiment of social media conversations, correctly predicted the outcome of seven out of eight high-profile races. The analysis is a demonstration of how robust data and analysis can give spot on predictions. Consumer sentiment fluctuated throughout different points in the races, highlighting how the long-term trend has died and just how on the ball organizations need to be in tracking customer sentiment.”

The CMO is the person within an organization that should have the tools and skills to give valuable insight into customer wants, needs and behaviors. With all this in mind, Alterian is happy to predict that 2011 will see organizations working to aggregate information from across the business, breaking down silos and building ever-changing profiles of customers; allowing them to predict real-time behavior rather than making long-term trend predictions.

Barker concluded, “While we enjoy all the predictions for 2011, we also need to be pragmatic about how useful they are. Time is better spent working with your marketing team to understand what is happening in your business now and working out how best to engage with individual customers, rather than worrying about the macro trends that may or may not happen. Only then can you make the changes you need to your business to build on your successes.”

About Alterian
Alterian (LSE: ALN) enables organizations to create relevant, effective and engaging experiences with their customers and prospects through social, digital, and traditional marketing channels. Alterian’s Customer Engagement solutions are focused in four main areas: Social Media, Web Content Management, Email, and
Campaign Management & Analytics.

Alterian technology is utilized either to address a specific marketing challenge or as part of an integrated marketing platform, with analytics and customer engagement with the individual at the heart of everything. Working alongside a rich ecosystem of partners, Alterian delivers its software as a service or on premise. For more information about Alterian visit http://www.alterian.com or the Alterian blog at http://www.engagingtimes.com.

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Jackie Lampugnano
Walker Sands Communications
312-546-4127
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Michelle Taylor
Alterian
312-884-5231
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