While the principles remain the same, let’s see how marketing the ecosystem, they relate to has changed.
While Presley isn’t the 5th P in the marketing mix, an interesting parallel can be drawn from his 1969 hit single – Suspicious Minds.
The first paragraph beautifully summarizes consumers in pre internet times.,
while the second paragraph summarizes customers post the internet.
Back then if you wanted to buy a TV it would be a Sony and if you were looking for a car Ford or General Motors would be your pick.
This was a golden age of brand loyalty – not because marketers did a stellar job in wooing customers, but because people preferred to stick with what they knew and information about alternate options was not easily available. Thus rendering customers less aware and subsequently more content with whatever products that they were offered.
Often times, marketers used to take advantage of this ignorance and released advertisements that would be shocking by today’s standards
The Devil’s trident?
The internet → marketing → Customer Loyalty:
The last 15 years have seen the marketing & advertising landscape go through possibly the most drastic changes in recent history.
The advent of the internet ushered in a new era of advertising.
With the emergence of new marketing channels, marketing $$ shifted from billboards to banner ads, from tabloids to tablets and from flyers to facebook.
While people of my generation realize how quickly the internet is becoming more intertwined with our lives and is the obvious platform for the “new age”, I just can’t understand why companies (especially in the Middle East)
turn a blind eye to this obvious truth. Firms with minimal online marketing presence will soon find themselves becoming irrelevant to their customers.
A recent Ernest & Young study revealed that brand loyalty played a mere 40% in the ultimate purchase decision and expected this number to further decline to 25% by 2020. Customers today, are more challenging than ever before. The internet has made available volumes of information, peer opinions, comparative analysis, and blogs were people write about their experience.
This has made customers more informed but also skeptical and unforgiving.
Marketers are now not only faced with the challenge of dealing with competing brands but also need to deal with volumes of external information
(whether good or bad) that their customers have access to.
By now it’s clear, that marketing has moved from a monologue to a dialogue”.
Companies have had no choice but to adapt their communication models to incorporate two-way communication.
Corporate facebook, twitter and youtube pages, have just one goal –
try to encourage dialogues with their customers and keep them engaged.
Marketing has taken on a friendlier approach, aiming to gain customers through influence rather than insistence. Brands that are able to build trust are more likely to succeed in the long run today. A great example can be seen in P&G owned brand Pampers, where they extend their value proposition to their customers by engaging them through a number of chat forums, blogs, advice columns and tips on parenting and baby care.
While this isn’t exactly what Starbucks or Zapos does, it follows the same tangent of creating a valuable customer experience.
(something almost unheard of in marketing plans, before the internet)
Louis Vuitton’s initiative through their online fashion and trends magazine -NOWNESS, is another good example of influence marketing versus traditional marketing.
Marketing tone becoming more approachable:
Right from the tone of copy matter on marketing collateral to major corporate rebrands, firms are moving towards creating a more approachable and trustworthy identity for themselves.
It is interesting to see how firms are dropping capitalized fonts and adopting lower case fonts, to imbibe a feeling of relate-ability with their customers.
While the reason isn’t completely known, internet chats and smses have created a new style of writing, making all caps letters appear as if someone were shouting.
No matter how strong and compelling a firm’s brand promise or statement may be, it takes very little to undo all that ! Firms need to concentrate on relationship marketing versus transactional marketing as with the choices customers now have today, they can easily say “We can’t go on together with suspicious minds.”