What is the future of marketing?
I was asked to give a speech about this recently. Wow. Why didn’t they just ask what the meaning of life is? That might have been easier to answer.
It’s a loaded question – much debated. From one side you have the paperless world advocates who never pick up a hard copy paper or brochure. And, on the other side you have people who like to touch and hold the things they read and linger over them. You have groups who like to keep in touch and get their information electronically, spending most of their time online. Then you have others who prefer to look at information at their leisure, without having to turn the computer on.
How do you sort through this? What do you focus on if you’re a marketer? And what is the right direction to go? I don’t believe there is one correct focus or direction because the world’s not static. With all of the new media, electronics, technology and software in play, what we know today may be obsolete in a year (or less!). That doesn’t mean traditional marketing like direct marketing is dead (or ineffective), nor does it mean that electronic media is the only game in town. They work better together (http://www.digitalmarketing.co.nz/websites/multimedia/)
Marketing is evolving. Good marketing no longer just pushes out, but it also engages and is interactive. We’re no longer in a society where the brand dictates the behavior of the consumer, but quite the opposite. People are having conversations. There are brand super fans that drive the direction of the brand and demand quality and authenticity in the product and message. It may seem simplistic, but people are demanding a more “real” experience from their brand interactions and those more successful brands are embracing this and using multiple marketing channels to their advantage.
So what does that mean for any one marketing channel? Each channel marketer has a good reason for choosing a particular medium, but is it the right reason? Is it because the recipient wants to be communicated to in a particular way through a specific channel? Or is it a “one channel fits all” approach?
Marketing is going the way of music. It is being influenced by the technology available, the way people use the technology and the interactive nature of our changing culture. People like to share. I couldn’t have predicted that we’d be marketing to people through the iPhone 10 years ago and that there would be 85,000 apps because none of the technology existed.
These things, these changes are making us better marketers. They are directing the course of how people want to be communicated to and with. And, there are some basic messages coming out of the conversations:
· Market your business authentically.
· Listen to customer driven choice.
· Make the message meaningful with useful content.
· Respect your audience.
We’ll all be riding this marketing technology rollercoaster to see where it goes. People are demanding more say in brands and where the brands are going. The companies who embrace and use the technology and channels well will succeed and thrive. Those that don’t may be frustrated and left behind. The important thing is to get out there, learn, try some things and test to figure out the best channels for your business. The future of marketing is in your hands.