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Commentary & Analysis

Looking at Consumer Trends from a Channel Perspective

Are you reaping the benefits of free consumer trends reports to benefit your client base? If not, you are leaving opportunity to help your clients refine their targeting, improving their messaging and channel mix, and better understand the competitive landscape.

By Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Published: December 12, 2017

Crimson Hexagon just released its 2017 Consumer Trends report, which looks at a variety of trends in how consumers see key product categories, how they talk about those categories on social media, and what happened to Zumba. To create the report, Crimson Hexagon analyzed its library of more than one trillion posts from sources like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, and forums between 2010 and 2016. It also used data from non-social sources like Nielsen, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

While this might sound like a report that your customers (not you) should be reading, you can glean important insights from this type of data to help your clients refine their targeting, improving their messaging and channel mix, and better understand the competitive landscape.

Let’s look at three representative findings from the report and how this type of information can help you help your customers.  

Demographic targeting: You might not offer social media marketing in-house, but understanding how consumers use social media in relation to your clients’ products can lead to insights you both can use.

For example, in the health and wellness category, Crimson Hexagon’s analysis revealed that 71% of consumers who discuss farmers markets on social media are over the age of 35, while only 35% of those talking about grocery stores are. It also found that, while most of the grocery shoppers are women, the gender gap narrows in the farmer’s market community. Why does this matter? If your clients are serving clients the whole foods or organic foods marketplaces, it gives you insight into their target markets. It also tells you that, because this audience engages heavily over social media, your client may want to integrate print + social media in its broader marketing strategy.

Striking the right tone: Trends reports can also help your clients strike the right tone in their messaging. For example, Crimson Hexagon’s analysis finds that 76% of the social media conversations about eating at home are “joyful.” Compare this to only 27% of conversations about dining/eating out as being joyful and 26% of conversations about takeout/delivery being so.  This isn’t something the average marketer would be expected to know, and it could be very helpful in refining your client’s messaging. Even if you aren’t helping with the content used in your clients’ marketing pieces, by bringing it up, you seem “in the know” and add real value to the relationship.  

Refining the timing: A historical chart around conversations relating to “cutting the cord” with cable show that these conversations spiked between 2013-2015, then leveled off after that. If you have a client thinking about ramping up a marketing campaign to reap the cable holdouts, this is important information. The analysis also found that, among those cutting the cord, one company, in particular, dominated the social conversations. This enables your client to better position its services against the primary competition in the marketplace.

There are tons of other charts covering the categories of health and wellness, media and entertainment, technology, and transportation (including fascinating tidbits about attitudes towards self-driving cars and ride-sharing).  If you have clients in these categories, this is a must read.

Look for nuggets that can help you advise on marketing strategies, targeting, and messaging. There is nothing more valuable in a business relationship than a partner who “gets” their clients’ business and can bring valuable ideas to the table. So take advantage of the consumer trends data out there. If you think it is too consumer-oriented and not relevant to you, perhaps you aren’t looking at it the right way.

Heidi Tolliver-Walker Heidi is an industry analyst specializing in digital, one-to-one, personalized URL, and Web-to-print applications. Her Marketer’s Primer Series, availalbe through Digital Printing Reports, includes “Digital Printing: Transforming Business and Marketing Models,” 1:1 (Personalized) Printing: Boosting Profits Through Relevance,” “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype,” and “Web-to-Print: Transforming Document Management and Marketing.”


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