It’s been almost half a century since Philip Kotler published his Principles of Marketing, which has defined the practice ever since. Kotler took insights from other fields, such as economics, social science and analytics and applied them to the marketing. Although it seems basic now, it was groundbreaking then.
Today changing consumer behavior as a result of being location agnostic and constantly connected is transforming marketing once again. Although up to this point, most of the impact has been tactical; we are now at tipping point of major strategic transformation. This will be a difficult task because we will not only have to change what we do, but how we think.
The key driving force, as we all know is the Internet. Here is how Twitter founder Evan Williams defined Internet in his recent XOXO conference:
The internet is a giant machine designed to give people what they want. It’s not utopia. It’s not magical. It’s simply an engine of convenience. We often think Internet enables you to do new things, but people just want to do the same things they’ve always done.
As Evan rightly points out, Internet is a medium of convenience, connectivity and scale. And along with its constantly evolving intelligent ecosystem it offers an unprecedented amount of choice, a plethora of new engagement channels and limitless new possibilities. Marketing needs to stay on top of these underlying changes and the consequent consumer behaviour shifts. Here are four not so random trends that are subverting marketing.
The explosion of digital technology is radically transforming the marketing function and the role of marketing professional.
Noted Internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen identified a 21st century phenomena of “software eating the world”. This is now increasingly becoming true for marketing. Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on software than CIOs. The repercussions of social, mobile, video, Big Data, CRM, cloud and other disruptive forces are impacting all aspects of marketing. It’s a long-term shift. This is what Mark specifically mentioned about marketing.
Today’s largest direct marketing platform is a software company—Google. Now it’s been joined by Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and others, which are using software to eat the marketing industry.
Marketing now relies upon software at an unprecedented scale and with massive implications to identify, anticipate and satisfy customer needs, and measure the success of efforts. The two largest sellers of online advertising, Google and Facebook are software companies at their core and produce no content of their own. This is a paradigm shift, as all traditional advertising channels are content producers. Both the companies provide you with several software tools to plan, target and measure the success of campaigns.
Similarly, programmatic media buying or using software to automate the process of buying and/or selling digital advertising is bringing significant efficiencies to advertisers in terms of workflow, pricing and the avoidance of waste. This now means while the fundaments remain the same we require developing technology skills within our marketing teams.
It’s stunning how quickly we take for granted the conveniences in our lives that go from Eureka to minimum expectation.
The Internet makes human desires more easily attainable. People don’t want to wait, and they don’t want to think; and the marketing should respond to that. For instance, 72% of customers in a survey said they would replace some traditional channels with mobile apps if the capability were available.Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are all excellent at delivering this sort of convenience, They often got there by removing steps from what had once been a more complex series of actions with innovations like Google Now, 1-click shopping, iTunes and apps-store.
All these initiatives help them identify, anticipate and satisfy customer needs profitably. Therefore marketers now need to engage coders, data analysts, web and app developers within teams to help create the ‘Digital Brand Assets’ like business and CRM optimised websites and apps that addresses customer needs in real time by providing instant information, service and integrated experience across digital and physical touch points. Here is great leadership example from not so obvious player.
There is no doubt that content is the wave of the future. Gone are the days of the mass advertising campaigns.
People don’t like advertising. They skip pages, surf channels and use ad blockers on their browsers. To top it all they’re thousands of channels to choose from. As a marketer, are you renting attention? Beware rising rents and evictions. The only way you survive and thrive is create owned media assets that create an opportunity for sustained consumer engagements across the consumer decision journey.
People like stories, which resonate with them and their communities. Telling really good stories in these attention-strapped times is becoming increasingly hard. We have to do it in a single Instagram image and in a six second Vine. In a world of ad-blocking, marketing needs to communicate a larger purpose to reach the target audience. Content like Dove real beauty sketches, new Virgin.com and Guinness wheelchair basketball are great examples of narrative that breaks through the noise to strike an emotional bond. As a theory, I believe ‘today every business is a media business’ and therefore just copy writers aren’t enough; marketing now needs comprehensive editorial team, media production team and social engineers to create sustainable owned media assets.
The future of marketing is not about technology, social or mobile. It’s about real time integrated consumer experiences.
We now consume information and participate on demand, anytime, anywhere. Our minds have been trained to expect instant answers, response, gratification and solutions. Internet and connected societies are driving a seismic shift in business models. Amazon simultaneously rivals Wal-Mart as a store, Apple as a device maker, and IBM as a data services provider. Twitter’s 20 billion-dollar valuation is not the work of its 2000 employees, but of its more than 200 million contributors. Brands that once sought advantage based on the strength of their internal resources now face competitors that harness the power of connected users and ecosystems of external resources.
There’s never been a better time to be a marketer. Brand perceptions are formed and purchase decisions made before a customer even talks with sales or sees a product in a retail setting. Study by Ford suggests 87% of car buyers use web for research resulting in average number of dealerships visits before purchase decline from 8 to 1.2. It’s a huge opportunity to get there first and forge long-lasting relationships. This is a time for re-invention of philosophies, methodologies, and policies that affect how we engage with consumers across digital and physical touch points.
An agile and adaptive mentality is badly needed in the marketing arm of organisations. How are you doing in adapting to this new paradigm? Are you engaging with your costumers seamlessly across digital and physical touch points in a way that makes their everyday more special?