media update’s Nicole van Wyk chats to Jacques Du Bruyn, MD of FLUME Digital Marketing, about the ever-changing marketing trends and if they really are a need in the industry.

What is a trend and how do you spot one?

A trend is a certain behaviour ... a general direction in which something is developing. One cannot spot a trend without data.

The clearer the data, the easier it is to spot a trend. One looks for similarities within data or anything that proves a general direction.

“The clearer the data, the easier it is to spot a trend.”

Can trends be forecast?

Yes, trends can be forecast. The forecasting of trends is what every business owner and marketing manager should be lending themselves to.

Correctly forecasting is what generally leads to competitive advantage and is also what entrepreneurs rely on. Fads, on the other hand, are nearly impossible to forecast.

What’s a trend’s life cycle?

It is difficult to say because a trend is something that is moving in a general direction. It is very difficult to predict how long it will last.

A trend is a gradual shift in direction and is long-term. A fad, [on the other hand], is short-term and is generally unpredictable.

Who sets trends and where are they set?

No one really sets trends. Trends are shifts that change the direction of a certain norm. Fads can be set by influencers and businesses, but trends are far more reliant on collectivity.

When is the right time to act on a trend?

Take the typical adoption curve for example. Those who win are the ones who spot trends early —  the innovators and early adopters.

The sooner you can act on a trend, the sooner you can entrench yourself as the thought leader in that space.

What are the most important trends affecting the marketing industry?

The 'how' and 'why'. 'How' is the data and tracking piece, understanding audiences better and making more informed decisions.

The 'why' is purpose-driven marketing. We’re seeing that brands can no longer just exist — there has to be a purpose as to why they exist.

Could you provide good trend resources examples?

Sites like Flux Trends are good for business and Trend Hunter is good for broader lifestyle trends. Social media is also obviously a great source if you just keep your eyes peeled.

Why is there a need for trend monitoring in the marketing sector?

It is important for brands to be relevant. Relevancy comes down to being immediate and current. If brands are monitoring trends then, chances are, they’ll be able to resonate with the target audience more effectively through messaging and channels.

Do you ever consider the ethical impact of a trend before implementing it in your marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments section below.

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The marketing sector is evolving every day and old trends need to make room for new trends. Have a look at these Seven ways digital marketing has changed the ad industry.