Fast away the old year passes…hail the New Year’s marketing trends. As we ring in 2005, here are my votes for marketing trends we’ll see this year.

Expanding waist-lines will expand the bottom line for businesses, as firms scramble to leverage and manage the North American obesity epidemic. Watch for growth in market categories, such as size-plus clothes for kids, diet aids, nutrient-dense foods, gyms for kids, and diabetic products. Companies will also work to manage their customers’ increasing weights — Transport Canada recently raised the benchmark weights for airline passengers, meaning airlines will look to raise prices, reduce seating, or otherwise recoup costs.

Personal media: life in a box
In recent years, we’ve seen the proliferation of digital cameras, camcorders, webcams, personal digital assistants, blog software, multi-feature cell phones, and low-tech options such as scrapbooks. Consumers can capture every waking moment and thought, then save for later review. They can upload their lives to vanity websites, share photos with the world, or broadcast their lives via online diary. And, as September 11th, Columbine, and the Indian Ocean tsunami have shown, ordinary people can become citizen journalists by providing content for the world’s media.

Commodities spikes
Demand from China and other growing Asian economies will continue to push up prices for raw materials. Fall out from the Iraq War may also cause fluctuations in oil prices, ultimately leading to higher transportation, plastics, and nylon prices. Translation: we’ll pay more for goods.

New tourism destinations

Following tsunamis and hurricanes in Asia and Florida, tourism operators will promote new destinations. Expect to hear more about Southern Europe, the Caribbean, and South America.

In-article advertising
Online magazines and news sources will continue to incorporate new forms of advertising. Expect to see underlined keywords in articles and to watch an ad before proceeding to an article — unless you subscribe.

“Real people” and stealth marketing
Following on the heels of reality TV, Jared from Subway and the never-ending stream of Buckley’s syrup fans, companies will continue to push “real people” in advertising. Trusting in consumer testimonials, some firms will even turn to cool hunting, as they try to leverage covert one-to-one relationships. With fewer people watching TV and responding to traditional advertising, companies will also push guerilla and stealth marketing tactics, sending glam girls and beautiful boys to clubs, movies, concerts, and shopping districts, where they can connect with consumers.

Green Products
Rising fuel prices, advances in fuel cell technologies, the self-actualization of wealthy boomers, and growing health and environmental concerns will all add to the push for green products. Look for more hybrid cars, LED lights, and LEED buildings, among other green products.

Of course, only time will tell what trends persist. But businesses can improve their prospects by investing in market research and strategic analysis, so they can better manage customer and industry trends.

Vancouver Marketing Blog: Andrea Coutu. (c) 2005 by Andrea Coutu.