Numerous examples of innovation are present in 15 key consumer-facing areas of marketing, according to consumer insights firm

Following is a review of one key marketing innovation trend in eight of the 14 areas identified by, with seven more covered yesterday (see below).

Crowds are increasingly connecting and congregating, with growing potency to create, influence, fund, predict and decide. San Francisco-based One Block Off the Grid, or 1BOG, facilitates the group purchase of residential solar installations. 1BOG launches campaigns in various cities, each lasting a few months, during which they negotiate group discounts with carefully selected solar installers and offer local consumers access to the discounted rates via the 1BOG website. Homeowners can enter their address online to view detailed information on costs, leasing options, local rebates and how long the panels will take to pay for themselves.

Consumers are becoming much more eco-conscious. In response, automaker Ford has developed technology called MyFord Touch, which enables drivers to monitor and track their vehicle’s real-time fuel economy performance and mile-per-gallon averages for the past five, 10 and 30 minutes. MyFord Touch’s map-based navigation system, meanwhile, offers an EcoRoute option that quickly calculates the most fuel efficient route a driver can take. The feature will be available globally on the 2012 Ford Focus.

Brands are recognizing the value of letting consumers try a product before purchase. Brazilian retailer Clube Amostra Gr?tis goes so far as to offer consumers an assortment of new products to take home and try before they become available on the shelves. Customers pay a yearly subscription fee for the privilege.

Status Stories
Some brands develop innovative ways to provide consumers status by giving them an interesting story to tell. California-based Executive Tours offers a series of what it calls Crack of Noon Tours, designed “for those who don’t consider themselves ‘morning people’.” Rather, in its guided excursions to Italy and France, the company ensures that it never schedules any activities before noon.

Another growing marketing innovation trend is allowing consumers to earn something by using a product or service. British high-end chocolate maker and retailer Hotel Chocolat is inviting customers to buy bonds that will pay chocolate returns. Two values of Chocolate Bond will be issued: both with the return paid in monthly “Tasting Boxes.”

It’s easier than ever for consumers to reveal their purchasing intentions in exchange for bids and offers. For example, UK-based OfferMeaTrip (still in development) aims to provide a service in which consumers dictate what they want from a trip and agents bid for their business. Users will begin by telling the service what kind of trip they’d like to take and how much they want to spend. The company’s network of approved travel agents will then choose to make offers on a corresponding trip, which are presented in personalized online holiday brochures.

Increasingly, brands are making online and digital services available in the offline world. Kwedit offers a payment service in the United States that enables consumers over the age of 13 to make cash payments for their online purchases at participating offline retail stores. Kwedit issues users with a “Kwedit Score” which measures how reliably they pay when using Kwedit. The company takes a small percentage of each transaction, as do participating retailers, which include 7-Eleven.

Serving well-established demographics, ethnograpics and other “graphics” is a crucial element for success in marketing innovation. New York’s Butch Bakery offers cupcakes for men. Varieties include a Rum & Coke version, the “Beer Run,” and the “Jackhammer,” while designs include woodland camouflage, wood grain, houndstooth, plaid, checkerboard and marble.

Innovation Present in 7 Other Key Areas has also identified numerous examples of marketing innovation in seven other areas. These include Status Skills (brands providing customers skill training with their purchase), Generation G (brands reacting to the increasingly charitable mindset of young consumers), Locality (focusing goods and services on consumers’ local areas), Curated Consumption (moderating potentially excessive consumer choices), Daily Lubricants (products and services that help consumers manage their daily lives), Brand Me (personalized goods, often with an online element), and InfoLust (timely information provided via online and mobile technologies).

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