3 Product Trends in 2016 That Forward-Thinking Entrepreneurs Should Try

Whew! 2015 was such an intense year for giant businesses and startups alike!

Big names such as Facebook and Amazon hit major milestones. For the social networking giant, daily active users finally reached a billion for the first time last August. Meanwhile, Amazon overtook the hypermarket chain mammoth Walmart in terms of market capitalization.

Startups in Asia were on a roll too. Tech Asia‘s Judith Balea reports that the region’s founders hit record-high deals with investors last year. Total funding for Asian startups clocked up at US$1.61 billion — a whopping 43 percent jump from the 2014’s US$1.123 billion.

And then there’s APEC. Encouraging micro, small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) participation in international markets was one of the major takeaways of the event hosted by the Philippines.


This year, the Founder’s’ Guide team will back you up as your business or startup scales to greater heights this year.

How do you do that?

We take a look at the product trends that are set to call the shots this 2016! Sure, chance favors the prepared. However, preparation begins by being forward-thinking.

1. It’s All About Exclusivity

membership exclusivity
In Maslow’s classic Hierarchy of Human Needs, having sense of belongingness sits atop the need to be safe. In 2016, the need to belong translates to exclusivity.

According to Trend Watching’s report of 5 Consumer Trends for 2016:

In 2016, consumers will embrace a new twist on a traditional form of cachet: exclusivity. That means status tests that force them to actively prove their worth to the brands they want to buy from.

Econsultancy’s Ben Davis cites two examples of brands who have embraced this trend: Starbucks and Banana Republic.

Quick Tip: Harness email marketing tactics to grow your small albeit quality list of leads. A good set of email lists will take you far in boosting customer engagement and sales. For instance, creating a buzz within your email subscribers before product launch may just do the trick. You should be aware though that promoting exclusivity takes time. Building a solid subscriber list doesn’t happen overnight.

2. Contextual Marketing Is In the House Yo!

content marketing
In 2015, content marketing was all the rage. This year, context will be the new content marketing. While contextual advertising has been in existence for a while now, it was not until recently that brands fully grasped its impact.

Consumers are smarter and savvier — from unfriending annoying companies in Facebook to hitting the unsubscribe button for daily email newsletters (unless your customers prefer you to prance on their inbox daily). This UK marketing report is proof.

Pushing content without careful thought of your audience’s needs and preferences just won’t cut anymore. Data collection and automation tools has made it possible for you to create a more personalized experience, whether it’s promoting brand awareness or facilitating an online purchase.

Marketing automation isn’t just for the big guns in 2016, small business can take advantage of these tools because they’re either free or super cheap.

The folks at Trend Watching refers to its as contextual omnipresence: being in the right place at the right time.

Quick Tip: Email segmentation is one good way for small businesses to apply contextual marketing. By segmenting your email list, you can send out customized newsletters, depending on where your prospects are in the buyer’s journey.

The Elegant Themes team has also curated these 15 wordpress plugins you can use for your small business site for a more personalized user experience.

3. Immersive Reality For 360 Storytelling

virtual reality
The introduction of Oculus Rift, or virtual-reality goggles that works with your PC or any mobile device, takes marketing to another level. In this blog post, Carlo Spagnola lists down three reasons why immersive reality makes for a memorable experience – one of which is powerful storytelling that could leave users wanting for more.

In partnership with Samsung, Marriott Hotels took advantage of this technology last year through their VRoom Service program. Guests can request for virtual reality headsets and get teleported to their city of choice such as Brooklyn or Beijing.

“The videos are simple, subdued, and impressively devoid of marketing for Marriott, though the woman in Rwanda is the owner of a popular ice cream shop in Brooklyn and does plug her business,” notes the Fortune post.

Quick Tip: Get ahead of the pack by hopping on the immersive reality train in 2016 to deliver 360 degree storytelling.

There you have it! What other product and marketing trends do you think will flourish in the year ahead? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Digital Content Writer
Kyjean Tomboc is a freelance writer who churns out value-driven content for brands in the healthcare and life sciences niche. She also writes about content strategy, startups, user experience, and social media marketing. Her previous professional lives involved crafting press releases and email marketing campaigns, blogging about Botox and breast implants, and cold calling strangers.