Are the Basics of Marketing Still Relevant Today?

With the arrival of the digital age, marketing today has become a far different beast — or beauty, depending on how you look at it. New technologies, platforms and tools are springing up at a dizzying pace and no one wants to get left behind. Personally, I think it’s an exciting time to be in this business. Maybe even the best, as there are more ways to communicate and engage with customers than ever before.

Back to basics

Indeed, marketing in 2017 is a complex journey. Your company’s ability to navigate this journey successfully will come down to how they integrate basic principles into each twist and turn.

My recent experience, with a small company in Vancouver demonstrated this ability beautifully. Since we’re talking about journeys, you’ll appreciate the fact that the company is actually in the transportation business — they shuttled my family from the Vancouver International Airport to our Whistler hotel. I searched online for transportation and chose the first company that appeared at the top of the list. The company’s mobile site was uncluttered (check), optimized (check) and provided options (check). Their site had a live chat feature — which is always handy — and better still, an actual person answered the phone with extremely helpful answers and a positive attitude when I called. Our needs were simple and so were our expectations: get to our hotel as easily and cost-efficiently as possible.

And boy, were those expectations ever met: the shuttle, which arrived on time, was clean and staffed by friendly people. There was also no wait time — a happy surprise since we knew they’d be picking up other travelers as well. The beautiful views along the way (check for the west coast) only served to broaden the smiles on our faces.

In short, we were delighted. This company offered a simple, seamless experience from their website to customer service. This positive, ‘mobile-first’, end-to-end customer journey is pretty basic stuff — Marketing 101 you could say — but how often does a company with a flashy website fail to deliver in the real world? How many times have you had an “over-promise, under-deliver” customer experience? I’ve had more than my share and each one reminds me that once I have negative feelings towards a brand, no amount of marketing can “undo” the experience.

We’re still the same old humans

Human psychology hasn’t changed much in the past 50 (or 5,000) years — most of our actions are motivated by the same age-old needs: physiological survival, safety and security and social belonging, to name just a few. In school, we were taught basic marketing principles that outlined how to tap into these motivations and deliver a product or service that fulfills these needs. While delivery methods have changed, the principles haven’t (see video below). In fact, as we try to integrate new technology into millennia-old human behavior, one could say they become more important than ever.

The 3 V’s

Do the 3 V’s of marketing still apply in the digital age? I believe they do. Created by Professor Nirmalya Kumar (@profKumar), the 3 V’s refer to: Valued Customer, Value Proposition (the product or service’s Unique Selling Proposition) and Value Network, which ties it all together — the “make-it-or-break-it” moment.

It all comes together

Back to my shuttle service experience, which so aptly bridged the online and offline worlds by connecting their Value Proposition (clean, prompt, friendly shuttle service) to their Valued Customer (me) via their Value Network (from their uncluttered, optimized website to actual on the ground delivery of the promise). Simple, but amazing, much like the landscape of marketing in 2017.

So … let me know your thoughts. Do you think marketing has evolved to the point that the basics are no longer relevant?