Has Your Business Jumped on the Annual “Pumpkin Spice” Trend?

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

As I told you in my September Marketing Insider Report, when Starbucks came out with their Pumpkin Spice Latte for the first time in September 2003, little did they know that it would set off a seasonal flavor marketing trend. As you can see from the article featured in the photo below on People.com, the release of pumpkin spice products, for a limited time each fall, is a hot trend other companies are starting to cash in on.

Screen shot 2014-09-17 at 11.38.27 AM

All Types of Pumpkin Spice Products

From vodka to hummus to chewing gum to yogurt, it seems like every food company, drink company and fast food restaurant has some sort of pumpkin spice product.

This hot trend doesn’t just have to be for food products. Candles, home fragrance sprays, makeup products, lip balms, body washes, hand lotions, even dog biscuits all have pumpkin spice offerings. Last week, just as a joke, someone even circulated a photo of a Durex pumpkin spice condom on social media (it doesn’t really exist but it shows you how hot a topic it is).

Do These Pumpkin Spice Products Sell?

You are probably wondering the business logic behind this trend, in that do these products sell well? The lattes do. Starbucks has sold over 200 million pumpkin spice lattes in 11 years and even moved the release date up to August 26th this year. As for the other products shown here, it doesn’t really matter. More than likely, these products were conceived to get into seasonal editorial, such as the article above.

These products will also get circulated on social media because it is a timely topic everyone is talking about with #PumpkinSpiceLatte and #PumpkinEverything trending on Twitter and Instagram. So in other words, at very least, it results in publicity.

Are you planning to try any of these products or offer some of your own, even if just for a limited time? I know if EOS came up with a pumpkin spice lip balm, I probably would buy a few.

What seasonal flavor trend do you think will be dominating products next month? My bet is on candy cane.


© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.

Hot Product Trend 2014: Maps

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Everywhere I look, someone is putting a map on something. From baby onesies to jewelry, maps are a hot retail product trend in 2014.

Why Are Maps So Popular?

We see maps all the time in our daily lives without even realizing it. How many people have a GPS in their cars? We all see a weather map on the news each morning. Plus, whenever something volatile happens in another part of the world, we immediately check a map because we are not always sure where that country is. So maps are big business!

Retail Product Marketing Trends 2014 Maps

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Product Trends 2014: Cats

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Cats are big. Whether it is products for cats, products with cats, cats are everywhere. From the Grumpy Cat craze to the very trendy $595 Charlotte Olympia cat slippers (seen in the graphic below), cats are proving to be very marketable.

product trends 2014 cats

Why So Popular?

The internet is claiming responsibility for the rise in cat products. According to Mashable, people search the word “cats” online more than 30 million times per month. The search phrase, “funny cats”, gets more than 360,000 monthly searches. Cat videos go viral more frequently than any other type of animal, including the video, “keyboard cat”, which has had over 34 million views since 2007. The truth is people really love their cats so the market for cat products will always be big (this recent influx of cat products has actually made gift shopping for my mother-in-law so much easier!).

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Product Trends 2014: IKAT

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

When looking at the new 2014 spring arrivals in fashion and home goods, one trend continues to stand out – Ikat. Ikat is an Indonesian motif, distinctive usually for a blurred or tie-dyed effect.

Hot Product Trend: Ikat

product trends 2014 ikat

Why Jump on a Trend?

Because it is easier to get into editorial (as the media wants to write about what is current) and it makes your product line look like it is on top of what is happening in the industry.

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 Blog post by G.B. Oliver © 2014. All rights reserved.

Easy Ways to Find Out What Your Target Market Wants With Google Autocomplete

by G.B. Oliver

A simple test to know if you are offering products that people want and/or need is to use the auto complete feature of search engines, such as Google and Bing. Try to do this every six months as needs are always changing. Some of the best ways, are to use the words “that” “with” and “for“.

Type in “table that“, let auto complete fill in and you get searches:

Create products people want

Try it with “necklace for” and you get:

use Google to find products

Try it with “eye cream with” and you get:

how to create products people want

Not only is this a great way to do market research, but it also helps with your SEO efforts because you can add tags and product titles based on these searches.

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 2.48.06 PMAbout the Author: I’m G.B. Oliver, a small business marketing consultant. I can create a complete & detailed Marketing Action Plan for your small business. Inquire using the form below.

© 2014 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved

How to Predict Trends Before They Happen

by G.B. Oliver


In December, Pantone chose Emerald Green to be its color of the year. Do you think it had anything to do with the fact that the movie, Oz, the Great and Powerful was coming out in spring, in which Emerald Green plays a large part in the story? Just how much does pop culture influence trends in fashion and other types of product categories, such as Home, Wedding, Kids and Lifestyle. (Please also see my post, Product Trends for 2013).


When the Great Gatsby movie was scheduled to come out last fall (it has been delayed to this spring), the 1920s vintage trend starting showing up in early 2012. That was also helped along by the movie The Artist, another 1920s period film, which won the Academy award for best film in 2012 and television shows like Downtown Abbey.

If you were wondering why baroque styles came back into fashion two years ago and has stayed, you just had to look at the movies Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Anna Karenina (2012), Mirror Mirror (2012), Lincoln (2012) Jane Eyre (2011) and Alice in Wonderland (2010) to see the influence.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is obviously focused on Smaug the dragon and the new, very popular trailer for Game of Thrones also features a dragon. So does this mean that dragons will be one of the creatures of choice in 2013/2014?

What about human-type monsters? Remember how popular vampires have been the last few years? Well that looks to be overtaken by zombies, thanks to movies like ParaNorman, the upcoming movie, World War Z and the popular TV show, The Walking Dead.

Books are an influence as well. Studs and spikes are showing up in both fashion, jewelry and home decor, citing a definite 50 Shades of Grey influence.

So if you want to get in on a trend before it starts, keep an eye on the things in pop culture that influence us – movies, books, television, music, world events, technology, and see what commonality you can find.

FINAL WORD: While trends don’t have a long shelf life, they do help to get you publicity (because editors only want to write about what everyone is talking about) and publicity gets people into your shop to check out what else you offer.

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© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.