You Ask, I Answer: Creating Marketing Trends?

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You Ask, I Answer: Creating Marketing Trends?

Anastasia asks, “Is it possible to create a trend? What does it take to make a trend stick?”

If we accept that a trend requires a sustained change in our data over time that’s statistically provable, then we need to create the underpinnings of that change.

Creating a trend that’s net new is extremely expensive and time consuming – but if you do it well, you own it.

You need a base of support and a sustained drumbeat of attention and social proof of adoption.

It took Hubspot 10 years and millions of dollars to make inbound marketing stick, but they did it.

Better to find something that’s nascent and fan the flames than to light the fire yourself. Apple does this better than anyone.

A trend is a brand, when you think about it. What goes into brand building is what goes into trend building.

You Ask, I Answer: Creating Marketing Trends?

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In today’s episode Anastasia asks, Is it possible to create a trend in marketing? What does it take to make a trend stick? That’s a big question.

So if we accept that a trend is fundamentally, from a statistical basis, a sustained change in our data over time that’s provable through something like a correlation, or regression, then to create a trend means that we need to create that pattern in our data we need to do stuff that creates that outcome within our data.

And creating a trend is it’s possible.

But creating a trend that’s net new is extremely expensive and time consuming.

Now, the upside is that when it comes to things like demand generation, if you create a trend, you pretty much own it.

And as long as that trend is popular, it is possible to turn that trend into a massive business.

For example, Hubspot made the trend of inbound marketing, they took an idea, which was permission marketing from Seth Godin, and sort of revamped it to be a little more technology based and built it into a huge company.

Now, how did Hubspot do that they created a trend, they created a base of support, they had a platform, and they invested 10 years and millions of dollars to make that trend stick to make inbound marketing stick.

As a result, when it took off.

And it did take off, it took a few years for it to take off.

They were able to capitalize on and build a huge business out of a software business out of it.

How did they do that? Well, with any kind of trend, you need a base of support and a sustained drumbeat of attention and particularly social proof of adoption.

You people need to see that other people tastemakers are adopting whatever the thing is, and continuing to amplify it.

So this means a lot of things that we now would call influencer marketing, where we’re trying to have influencers on a sustained basis, promoting our stuff.

And this is where big trends like macro trends are trying to create vary wildly from influencer marketing, typical influencer marketing is very campaign based.

And an influencer will do something on a campaign basis, and then move on to the next thing.

Whereas if you’re doing trend marketing, that influencer, you basically need to buy them, you need to buy their attention and their audience over a sustained period of time like yours, and have a lot of them working on your behalf to showcase this thing is the real deal.

So part of creating a trend is identifying those people who can consistently amplify your message and you will probably have to pay for it, you’ll probably have to pay a lot of money for it.

You can do that, and to some extent with your own people, depending on the size of your company, but it really, as with so many things in effectively public relations, you need to be having third parties give their credibility to the trend.

So for that trend, you need that base of support.

And you need that, that drumbeat of attention.

It’s really difficult to create a net new trend very often, you are better off finding something that is already trending in some fashion and amplify it or co OPT it or assimilate it.

If you think of an apple as a as a company does is better than any company in the world.

The touchscreen smartphone was a big deal.

Right? But it wasn’t the iPhone was not the first touchscreen smartphone.

The IBM Simon in 1992 was the very very first touchscreen smartphone.

And in the later in the mid to late 90s.

You had all these new devices that word sort of touchscreens, the Palm Pilot that were existed way before the iPhone.

Same for the iPod, the iPod was not even close to being the first mp3 player.

But it was the what was being created on the market was had a phone terrible user interface for the most part.

And so Apple’s ability to take the concept and revamp it with better design is what allowed them to essentially seize on a trend.

Rather than rather than try and and build something that new, the iTunes Music Store and and streaming audio.

They were not the first marketplace for that.

But they integrated it with the technology.

If you look at things like the iPad was the iPad, the first touchscreen tablet, nope.

The Newton was actually OSHA’s their product from 25 years prior.

So there’s so many examples, even the apple user interface, as you know, famously highlighted in the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley was not apples.

They took all the concepts like the computer mouse from Xerox, the Xerox PARC project.

So that’s a better bet, when it comes to marketing is to find some is already trending and find some way to incorporate it into your own marketing.

And do it better.

Find your angle your spin on it, do it better, because then you know, you’ve got the base of general support, right? Apple didn’t have to explain to anybody what an mp3 player was.

They just had to explain why an iPod was better.

HubSpot didn’t need to explain what permission marketing was Seth Godin had done that work.

They just needed to explain why inbound marketing was better.

Find something that’s trending, that has some support has some diehard fans, but it’s not huge yet.

And fanned the flames, right fanned the flames rather than try and build the fire yourself.

so that it becomes your company’s thing, your spin on it.

But it’s a spin on it that no one else can really replicate really well.

In the artificial intelligence field.

IBM has done an amazing job creating the concept of Watson.


There are plenty of other AI systems out there.

But none of them have been given that kind of personality that Watson has, right at least on the business side of things.

You know, there’s AWS cloud and Google Cloud and stuff.

But when you say IBM Watson people, okay, I know who that is.

You’re just saying Watson people have a general idea.

Oh, that that was a computer that won Jeopardy, right? Even though it was almost 10 years ago.

Now, there are other smarter systems, you know, Siri, for example, Alexa that are out there.

That’s a trend.

And each company has found a way to make its own smart entity.

something of a brand.

A trend when you think about it is an unnamed brand.


Inbound Marketing is is not necessarily Hubspot by name, but it really is Hubspot.

The smartphone is associated with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android devices as well.

But the iPhone was the definitely first to market there.

And still is sort of the the concept leader there.

So when you’re creating trends, think about all the work that goes into building a brand.

And then consider that you have to build two brands, your company, and then the trend itself, the brand of the trend.

But when you approach it like that, suddenly it becomes a lot more manageable, you are essentially just doing a lot of brand building.

So it’s a really good question.

That’s an important question.

Creating trends is difficult, just like creating a brand is difficult.

And if you can find something that you can borrow and improve on legally, you should probably do that.

Instead, get follow up questions, leave them in the comments box below.

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