Often times in marketing, the person who makes out the best is the one who can find the next big thing before it happens. Because of that, trend hunting (sometimes called cool hunting, depending on the field) is a very vital subject for most marketers.
Last week, I wrote an article about how you can incorporate marketing trends into your business plans—this week, it’s time for the goods (meaning tools and resources). Read on for the whole list.
Trend Research Tools
Nielson BlogPulse. This tool is one of the best at searching, graphing, and comparing various trends and keywords in the blogosphere. Seeing as blogs are often the first to talk about new things, this is one of the best ways to spot trends before they get huge. Nielson is well known in all areas of research, and this is one more that does not disappoint.
Google Trends. Anything that is searched for on Google can be researched, plotted, and compared with this trending tool. It has a great interface, (like most things made by Google) and can provide an unparalleled look into the popularity of various subjects.
eBay Pulse. The world’s biggest online marketplace has a convenient location where you can view top searches in all of their different categories. Simply drill down the list until you find your industry, and see what people are searching for. They also put out periodic “hot lists” where they chart and predict hot items.
Technorati Search. Known throughout the internet as the search engine made for blogs, Technorati also has the little known ability to chart the popularity of search results. If you think something might be gaining popularity, just search for it on Technorati and check out the graphical trend.
IceRocket Blog Trends. More or less, this is just another blog search engine that can chart the search terms. They offer much the same functionality as Nielson BlogPulse, but probably don’t have quite as much data. That being said, they do have several unique features you might be interested in.
Trend Hunting Communities
www.TrendHunter.com A daily report of some new and interesting concepts, which can spark your more creative side. They cover fashion, technology, events, and more. They even have a presentation on spotting trends, a community where you can become a “Trend Hunter” and create your own trend portfolio, and a ton of different web applications for your social media site of choice (Facebook, Twitter….).
www.TrendWatching.com This is a great site for those of you who want to be in the know but don’t want to spend hours—TrendWatching.com spends hours for you and sums up their findings in monthly briefings. They’ll also catch you up on last year’s trends with their annual report. Be sure to check out their tips on trend watching.
www.CoolHunting.com A pretty and simple site that includes some video blogs. It is beautifully categorized, which makes it easier to concentrate on the trends you’re looking for. Participate in their collection of trends through the Reader Finds.
www.TheCoolHunter.net Another simple trend finding site that reports weekly on exciting new ideas. You can subscribe to their blog and/or send them new information. Their trend finding efforts are concentrated in the United States but extend to the rest of the world. Plus, the site is nicely categorized into usable sections.
www.SpringWise.com A fun and inspiring site that sends out daily ideas (aka blog posts), all of which can be used by entrepreneurs to launch their next big business. As the sister site to TrendWatching.com, SpringWise.com compliments the monthly report nicely with their daily dose of trend news.
www.TrendCentral.com A clean, simple blog that provides daily trend updates. Its four categories, lifestyle, style, entertainment, and technology, should make it easy to look back into their archives and inspire your inner trend spotter. Its charts page is a great resource for finding TV ratings, top grossing movies, and current top song lists.
www.PopURLS.com This is basically your one-stop shopping for best of and most popular lists. It includes feeds from numerous social media sites, including Digg.com, Reddit.com, YouTube.com, News.Google.com, and a whole more. If you’re into summarizing what is the most popular, this should be your homepage.
Google Zeitgeist Google’s weekly, monthly, and annual report on search trends and patterns. These are not automatically generated, but they use a lot of data to put together numerous charts on search patterns from all over the world. You can pick on one of their selected search terms, which could be the most popular of the day or something that they thought was interesting, and check out the search patterns and those sites/statistics associated with it.
Alexa Movers and Shakers. Alexa describes themselves best: “The Top 10 Sites moving up or moving down in the traffic rankings, as measured by the change in the number of users visiting the site.” A great place to see which sites are coming into, or going out, of focus on the web.
www.MarketingTrends.org This website is a general collection of marketing trends. They average about one article per week, and primarily focus on ecommerce, search trends, and other online sales matters.
Niche Specific Resources
www.DesignSpotter.com This website is a source of inspiration and product trends provided by creatives and designers. It is mainly focused on artistic and new product designs.
www.SmallBizTrends.com An excellent resource for finding trends in the small business arena. It is frequently updated by a staff of skilled writers, and covers everything from marketing, to technology, to small business in general.
www.Trendir.com This website is an online magazine that focuses on home decor products and trends. For anyone looking for marketing trends in the interior design industry, this website is a great resource.
www.B2BMarketingTrends.com Many of the small businesses that focus specifically on B2B marketing will benefit from this website. It looks a bit old, and may not be updated frequently, but they provide a lot of good information
Metacool. Metacool is a website that offers thoughts about “bringing cool stuff to life” and is a great website to read for anyone looking into marketing trends involving new technology or scientific products.
Interactive Marketing Trends. Despite the long URL, this website has a lot of very valuable insight regarding current trends in interactive media. This is a great read for those of us who are firmly embedded in blogging and social media.
That’s it for now. With this collection you should have enough tools and information to keep you busy for several solid weeks. I don’t recommend you spend your time that way, but instead you might want to try visiting your favorites on a weekly or monthly basis.
Do any of you have favorite websites you go to look for new marketing trends or ideas? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.