Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Book review: Microtrends

I finished reading Microtrends: the small forces behind tomorrow’s big changes, by Mark Penn. The book was authored by the pollster/political strategist who identified the “Soccer Mom” segment in the mid-90’s. These moms turned out to be the swing voters in Clinton’s 1996 re-election; Clinton tuned his message to address the concerns of these undecided voters and win their votes.

In Microtrends, the author identifies 75 new trends culled from journals, articles, observations, and polls. The premise of the book is that only 1% of the population (3M people in the US) can create enough momentum to start a movement or launch a business. Each microtrend won’t necessarily transform into a major trend; rather, each represents a changing mindset or attitude that can impact many people beyond those directly associated with the trend.

With each trend, the author provides some stats for scale, attempts to provide some explanations, and identifies some implications as well as some potential market opportunities. The book is a quick read and provides good food-for-thought on market segments and market opportunities. It could generate some ideas for the upcoming New and Small Business Ventures course (Summer ’08). The book’s format, with 75 chapters covering the 75 themes, and each chapter about 4 pages long, makes for very convenient “in-between” reading.

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