A new(ish) Megatrend report and what one university has done with it

Thanks to Judy Stokker’s (Director of Library Services, Queensland University of Technology) keynote presentation to the 2010 Telsig conference, I was alerted to a recent megatrends report.

  CSIRO’s Our Future World: An analysis of global trends, shocks and scenarios can be downloaded for free and highlights 5 megatrends:

  1.  More from less – a world of limited resources
  2. A personal touch – personalisation of products and services
  3. Divergent demographics – older, hungry and more demanding
  4. On the move – urbanising and increased mobility
  5. iWorld – digital and natural convergence.

 Information overload and demand for information management are cited as supporting trends for the personalisation megatrend. With this in mind QUT have developed the Info Solutions Selector to  help university staff select what will be the most useful tool for their information management need – this could be a wiki, a blog, a Sharepoint site, or instant messaging. The site gives a brief description of the tool and when it is appropriate (or not appropriate) to use it. It looks like it would be a very effective way of helping staff finding the best options for their needs and publicising the different tools available via a clear, easy to use interface.

 PS You can register for future versions of the Our Future World report here.

Top Tech Trends from ALA’s midwinter meeting

Apparently a significant difference this year was that “younger, first-time participants” were on the panel. So here are the top trends to get our heads around:

  1. Discovery systems featuring aggregate indexes of subscription and local content e.g. Summon from Serials Solution, EBSCO Discovery service – apparently the “logical next step after federated search”
  2. Need to consider the concept of “user experience” (UX) as new technology-driven services are designed
  3. The “near universal adoption of mobile technology” as “libraries must be prepared for the inevitable change of patron expectations as they accomplish an increasing number of daily tasks on mobile devices”
  4. Augmented reality – “the combination of the real and virtual … in real time and in a 3-D nature”
  5. End of apps, new code – moving from platform-specific mobile downloads to the development of mobile-optimized web portals
  6. The reinvention of the book – some interesting comments here “ebook hardware is dying”; the future of reading is a software ereader to share work among multiple devices and a social reading platform. Apparently libraries should “steer clear of the hardware game” and the focus should be on content.

Marketing trends to watch – from Alison Circle

More words of marketing wisdom from Alison – you can read the full post, and I have posted some highlights here, along with a few of my thoughts 🙂

This is a very good point for starters:

One bad habit in Libraryland is that too often we look exclusively at libraries for ideas and trends. For example, when redesigning web sites, we look at other libraries, not trendsetting retailers or innovative nonprofits. We’re guilty of a little too much me-too-ism. As a marketing professional, I see trends everywhere, ideas ripe for libraries to pluck and make their own in order to demonstrate that we are still here and better than ever.

Trends followed by Alison in no particular order:

1. Twitter – allows you to speak directly to customers, run instant polling and build loyalty

I didn’t “get” Twitter for ages until I changed my focus on who I was following and thought more about the identity I wanted to portray. I’m a Business Librarian and I’m now following a range of businesses, business news and business info vendors, along with fellow librarians and few fun things. I’m retweeting things I see that might be of  value to my followers. I can certainly see how libraries could fit into the Twitter picture. There are disadvantages – tweets can get lost in a continuous stream of updates for instance. But on the other hand its a very easy channel to use to publicise blog posting and news items, so why not get on board.

2. Value. Value. Value

It isn’t hard to figure out your value. Conduct this exercise. Think about where you fit in each of the three circles … [important to audience – you are good at it – no one else is doing it]. Where they intersect is your value proposition. Tell people this story over and over. Then over again. You’ll get tired of it long before it penetrates public consciousness.

Ah yes value. I think we need to be smarter at demonstrating this to our customers.  I work in an academic library and I think we need to make it more obvious how our resources can deliver value to students. Don’t just link to “library resources” in an online learning environment but be blatant – “how to find the 5 articles you need for your essay”

3. Online reputation management

In today’s world, organizations must spend as much effort managing their online brands as they do the physical one. Without diligence, the online brand may fall out of sync with your offline marketing messages. User-generated content, blogs, and online forums all mean that the flow of information and messages about an organization is no longer controllable.

4. Video marketing

Today, advertising is flipped on its head—and can be had for a completely different cost equation. For example, take the story of YouTube sensation Lauren Luke, a self-styled makeup maven. She started selling cosmetics on eBay and soon was putting up videos on YouTube that she modestly taped from her bedroom. Her videos have logged more than 50 million views, and her YouTube channel has 250,000 subscribers. She never paid for a single ad.

Further evidence for this one today –  “Forget the 30-second television advertisement, the Internet is where it’s at”, says Air NZ (via bernardchickey on Twitter)

5. Value-added content

A modest way for libraries to do this is to add an “If You Like” enhancement to the catalog, similar to what Amazon does. This pushes circulation and provides a core value enhancement for customers. Seattle Public Library offers searchers a “similar titles” feature as well as tags. Most of us, however, are still using the online catalog like a bookshelf.

6. Mobile marketing

Mobile marketing, or marketing through a mobile channel, is one of the first new channels to arise in over 50 years and is quickly becoming a primary way to reach customers. Phones are now the one-stop shop for communication, digital services, email, photos, and navigation. Libraries can embrace this channel and quickly. At a minimum, web sites should be easy to navigate in a mobile browser. Provide the option to receive notices via phone (even my dentist does that) and develop specific apps to enhance your presence on customer devices.

7. The art of being real

You’ll also hear this referred to as the trust economy. Libraries have this in spades. In fact, I can think of few others that have us beat. We have so many stories to tell about ourselves: successful job seekers, kids using Homework Help Centers to improve grades, childhood literacy through Ready To Read. We could own the trust economy and should be shouting those stories from the rooftops.

8. A deeper shade of green

Some libraries are doing more to demonstrate their green commitment. Worthington Libraries, OH, for example, selected a green theme for its Teen Summer Reading Club in order to address this hot topic for teens.

I’m not so convinced on this one  – so many businesses/institutions are trumpeting this then unless you have really got something to brag about – like an eco-designed library building – promoting green initiatives may not have an impact?

9. Death of email

This is a subset of mobile marketing, but it is more specific because it deals only with the texting capability of phones. A consortium of international libraries has introduced My Info Quest (myinfoquest.info), a text-messaging service that provides live reference services for the public. Users get the answer they need from a worldwide network of professionals, but it feels and sounds just like their local library. They never know the difference! Fifty U.S. libraries are participating in this free, librarian-vetted version of ChaCha (a free service that you can call/text from any cell phone for answers to any and all questions), which is nipping at the heels of reference librarians.

10. Micromarketing

Libraries believe this approach can’t be for us, because we are open to all and serve everyone. But reduced budgets and a clamoring marketplace mean we can no longer be the same thing for all people … The trick is not to lose control over your overall brand while appealing to target audiences.

11. Value of Design

Libraries, in contrast, tend to focus on individual expression, allowing staff to execute the brand however it wants. Instead, standardize your library’s brand through use of templates, consistent color palette and fonts, and development of (and adherence to) a brand book. We need to move beyond what is fun for our staff toward what is best for our brand.

12.  Speed

Conduct a thorough evaluation from the customer’s point of view to determine how service delivery can be streamlined and made easy for them. If people have to work at it, they’ll walk away. Early on in my library career, a senior manager was proud that our library had “taught our customers well” how to follow our protocols. This kind of thinking just doesn’t fly anymore.

13. Emotional connection

Marketing today is all about making an emotional connection that establishes relevance to customers. Libraries want to be all about content. But now that content is everywhere (including contradictory dates for Queen Nefertiti’s birthday), libraries—almost better than anything else—need to and can cement that emotional and personal connection  … When we focus on our collections, electronic databases, or—heaven forbid—library FAQs, without first establishing an emotional connection, I worry about the future relevance of our great institutions.

We really need to concentrate on this to build our point of difference between other information providers such as Google, Amazon etc.

Trend catchup

Awhile back I started reblogging the 7 trends Alison Circle was reporting on her Bubble Room blog. The first two were going green and the recession. I never quite did get back and cover the rest! So here they are:

#3  Cell 2.0 the evolution of mobile devices

#4 Transparency designing our work spaces so people can see what librarians really do

#5 Authenticity staying true to an idea. This one has been mentioned in trend watching for a few years now and its one libraries should see as a natural “fit” with what we do. Keeping it real, being authentic.

#6 Open brand  being open to personalisation, customisation, includes connecting with customers via social networking but its more than that

#7   Grey The ageing population. Interesting one this – I remember a few years back seeing a bunch of older customers swiftly changing queues at the issue desk to avoid being tangled up with a bunch of school kids. What do our older customers want from our libraries, is this going to change over time?

Social networking sites more popular than email?

They are in Australia according to a report today: 

SOCIAL networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are now more popular than personal email with Australians spending one in every 10 minutes online inside their “virtual homes”, research shows.

And it is not just young internet users who are behind the trend.

The biggest surge in social networking was among 35 to 49-year-olds, while almost a quarter of Facebook users were over the age of 50.

Nielsen Online’s Global Faces and Networked Places report, released yesterday, found the use of social networking and blogging sites in Australia jumped 4.9 per cent last year.

It would be interesting to see if there is a similar trend in New Zealand. Certainly from my own viewpoint I am communicating with most of my friends and family far more via Facebook than via email these days.

Trends – some information sources from the internet

This post is not strictly marketing or strictly libraries but I put this list together for one of my colleagues who asked me about useful websites for information on changing consumer and societal trends. This is based on the sorts of sources I used when I worked at Fonterra.  The Futurist website is always an interesting place to start. Some of the others are useful for mining details from – for instance the Datamonitor reports are hugely expensive, but you can access the tables of contents, and they give an excellent idea of what’s in the report. Some others are a bit crazy, but hey if you are in the business of coming up with new ideas anything is worth considering I think!


 Datamonitor – New Developments in Global Consumer Trends –


They say:   This report based on a vast array of primary and secondary research provides a comprehensive snapshot of global consumer behavior. Structured around Datamonitor’s well-established mega-trends framework, it offers added clarity, new detailed insight, future trend predictions and intuitive recommendations for marketing and product development.

I say: Report from 2007. Very expensive but there is free access to a comprehensive table of contents which lists the trends included in the report.


Datamonitor – Evolution of Global Consumer Trends – Market Analysis Report


They say: There are 10 global consumer mega-trends that will determine successful NPD and marketing strategies in the next 10 years. This report, in presenting new data to reflect consumer values, attitudes and behaviors, offers a more detailed breakdown of how the mega-trends have affected consumer behaviors, how they evolved in recent years and how they are likely to evolve in the future.

I say: Report from 2005 but still relevant as the trends are predicted to cover the next 10 years. Very expensive but there is free access to a comprehensive table of contents which lists the trends included in the report.


Top 10 forecasts for 2009 and beyond from The Futurist


They say: Each year since 1985, the editors of THE FUTURIST have selected the most thought-provoking ideas and forecasts appearing in the magazine to go into our annual Outlook report. Over the years, Outlook has spotlighted the emergence of such epochal developments as the Internet, virtual reality, and the end of the Cold War


 Annual trends

 Trends 2009 from the Hartman Group


They say: At The Hartman Group, leading-edge customized research and consulting blend to understand the complexities of consumer behavior. We pride ourselves on understanding nuance. We dig deep to get at the underlying motivations and behaviors that make a difference to brands, innovation, marketing and business development.

 Business ideas



They say: HartBeat is The Hartman Group’s FREE online newsletter, providing insight, analysis, information and strategy to give business leaders the knowledge and vision to build sustainable brands. 

I say: link provides access to previous issues of the newsletter


trendwatching.com: Consumer trends and insights from around the world



Springwise | New business ideas from around the world


Knowthis.com says of Springwise: Springwise *A blog-style site devoted to spotting trends as these emerge from around the world. The site allows so-called “spotters” to submit trends, so in some cases the trends presented appear to be part of a company’s marketing campaign. But in many cases the trends are interesting, if not unique, and fun to read.



Research reports from Australian market research company McCrindle Research


I say: Many of these reports focus on generational segmentation e.g. segmenting markets by generations X, Y, Z etc.  See:

Seriously cool: marketing, communication and engaging with diverse generations


From the report: This white paper provides a big-picture analysis of our changing times and generational shifts, and points to some of the drivers of the generational debate. In the process it delivers insights into both marketing strategy and the marketing and communication tactics that will result in deeper engagement with the diverse generations


Trends, Ideas and New Marketing Methods: KnowThis.com


They say: “Marketers are always experimenting with new ways to reach and satisfy customers. In this section we provide information on new ideas and methods marketers are using to gain an upper hand on their competition”


Marketing Stories and News for Marketing Trends: KnowThis.com



Google directory for business http://www.google.co.nz/Top/Business/

I say: Try a search from here on trends for more links


New Zealand demographic trends



Top trends for 2009 and beyond from The Futurist

The Futurist magazine put out an annual list of their trends  for the coming year and beyond. There current list is wide ranging – they’ve picked out things like surveillance of individuals, bioviolence and the end of the car. But whatever industry you work in there are usually one or two trends that are directly relevant to what you do.

So how then how will we (as academic librarians, library educators and public librarians supporting our community) respond to trend #4?

Careers, and the college majors for preparing for them, are becoming more specialized. An increase in unusual college majors may foretell the growth of unique new career specialties. Instead of simply majoring in business, more students are beginning to explore niche majors such as sustainable business, strategic intelligence, and entrepreneurship. Other unusual majors that are capturing students’ imaginations: neuroscience and nanotechnology, computer and digital forensics, and comic book art. Scoff not: The market for comic books and graphic novels in the United States has grown 12% since 2006. -World Trends & Forecasts, Sep-Oct 2008, p. 8

And trend #6 ?

Professional knowledge will become obsolete almost as quickly as it’s acquired. An individual’s professional knowledge is becoming outdated at a much faster rate than ever before. Most professions will require continuous instruction and retraining. Rapid changes in the job market and work-related technologies will necessitate job education for almost every worker. At any given moment, a substantial portion of the labor force will be in job retraining programs. -Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies, “Trends Shaping Tomorrow’s World, Part Two,” May-June 2008, p 41