I was reading an article this morning about some investors who are underwater on their recent IPO investments.  Facebook, whose stock price is down 17% from the IPO, and Zynga (Farmville, etc.), who has lost more than half of its value in the last 16 months, are two examples that were cited. 

This got me thinking about fads vs. trends.  Facebook and Zynga seem to have some fad qualities to them.  They were very popular in the beginning because there were no alternatives.  So people poured a lot into them.  But as time goes on, other competitors have popped into the space.  They have the advantage of learning from those first movers and adjusting their strategy.

Social media, on the other hand, is a trend.  It’s here to stay.  The format and level of sophistication may change.  But it isn’t a fad that will go away in a few years.  The younger generations have embraced social media in its entirety.  The point here is that marketing strategy needs to be built around trends.  Social media is just a new channel with many tactics like Facebook in it. 

I suspect in the coming years we will see more and more new channels like this pop up.  The trick is to recognize the difference between the fad and the trend.  It can be very powerful to take advantage of a fad, but it should be backed with solid strategy around the channel so that you can easily switch the tactic within the channel.