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In the real world, identifying trends involves not only research into the traditional literature but also trend tracking through social media, language, and intuition/observation. The latter can serve as the starting point to the former. Market research reports frequently detail trends. Mintel forecasts consumer trends and then follows up to see how accurate its predictions were. The latest trends Mintel identified revolved around "trust, control, playfulness, simplicity, and trading down, up, and over. Other market research firms track different industries and product areas. MarketResearch.com aggregates many of these reports. When it comes to social media, the definition of trends, trending, and trend tracking changes. It comes down to sentiment rather than analysis. The most prominent set of social media trends is Twitter's Trending Topics. These are the words most used in tweets. Google's experiment with trend research is still a Labs project. The idea is to compare the world's interest in your favorite topics.
>the dollar sign Marydee Ojala Editor, ONLINE Searching for Business Trends and Trending Topics T rend spotting is a tricky business. It’s so easy to identify the trends that will affect a business, an industry, or even the economy of a country. It’s even easier to be wrong. Trends are best identified in retrospect. Give almost anyone 20, 30, or 50 years to look back on, and that individual will be correct in saying “ In the real world, identifying trends involves not only that a past event ushered in a trend that has consequences for today’s business environment, for a company’s success, or for an industry’s decline. Those who try to get it right beforehand, however, are frequently doomed to failure. Want proof? Go to any publication from a decade ago and search for trends in the title field. Then evaluate whether the author got it right or not. That’s a fine approach for an academic exercise, but it’s not even slightly useful for the man- ufacturer trying to determine which product lines should be funded and which research into the should be discontinued, or for the retailer deciding what purchases to make to stock the store. traditional literature In the real world, identifying trends involves not only research into the tradi- tional literature but also trend tracking through social media, language, and intu- ition/observation. The latter can serve as the starting point to the former. The but also trend literature, for example, is telling you that people want to eat healthier, but you observe that people are ordering hamburgers instead of salads. What people say tracking through they will do is not always replicated in their actual behavior. More research is needed to resolve this anomaly. social media, TRENDY IS AS TRENDY DOES language, and When I think of trends, fashion comes to mind. Hemlines go up and down, ties widen and then narrow, and colors that my mother would have said “clashed” are intuition/ now routinely worn together. Fashion trends can be short-lived, raising the issue of whether it’s more appropriate to deem them fads rather than trends. Although observation. an interesting semantic issue, it’s not necessarily germane to business research. More important is to know how a business will use the knowledge it gains regarding trends or fads. For a short-term project—a retail clothing store, for example, adding some clothing items for the next season—selling some fad clothes or accessories could be perfectly appropriate, even if the items are not trendy enough to last into the next year. A long-term project, on the other hand— one that requires a complete retooling and a major investment—requires more thought and more reassurance that the final product will reflect a lasting trend, not a fly-by-night fad. > NOV | DEC 2009 45 our premium content information providers. But if you rely “ solely on web search, you can miss important information, If you rely solely on web particularly information made visible through value- added in
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