If there’s anything constant with marketing in the last ten years, it’s change! Buyers have changed the way they buy. Sellers have to change the way they sell. Marketing technology has changed and is changing so fast that about the time you learn how to use a certain technology, a new version or an update comes out and you have to learn new features! As marketers, we need to understand the changes, learn the technologies and adapt their marketing strategies and tactics to succeed. It’s so easy to complain about change and what it has “done” to marketing and business. As our American Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I thought I’d write about what I think we as marketers can be thankful for.
4. Marketing Technology Change Continues
Thanks to the Internet, a business in Woodland Hills, California can reach buyers all over the world. The Internet created the long tail of demand, and we as marketers thank our lucky stars. Now that product that may have been a cash cow for a while can generate sales for a very long time at a very low marketing expense. The service provider in Portland, Maine, who worked with local companies or companies in a specific industry is now found online and has customers all around the world. And technology has helped us become more efficient and cost-effective at reaching our buyers in the form of Open Source software from which we develop web sites and social media platforms, utilities and programs to manage email, contacts, social media messages and marketing results tracking.
3. Buyers Rule
With the Internet the way in which people buy has radically changed. Buyers don’t want to be sold to anymore. Buyers want what they want when they want it. They follow their trusted colleagues and friends and take note of the products and services their friends like. According to Chris Rollyson, author of The Social Network Roadmap blog, says that the days of synchronous selling are fewer and asynchronous marketing is more the norm. The venue has changed – buyers don’t have to be in the same room or on the phone with a seller to get the information they need for their purchase decision. So marketing tactics must change – businesses need to put great content online and attract buyers to it. They need to pull buyers to them rather than push their marketing at them. For example, marketing author and blogger Seth Godin says that people want “me-mail” that they’ve opted into, not promotional email pushed out by a seller trying to hawk something.
2. Transparency is On the Rise
Today’s buyers see right through subterfuge and pretense. They want transparency. Is it because buyers have access to the truth – if they can only filter through all the information? Or, is it because we are in an age where more information (truth?) is captured on TV, the Internet, in photos and in videos? Have we been so affected by political and business cover-ups like Watergate and the tobacco industry, that we believe little of what is told to us? (I just watched The Insider, about a chemist who was a whistle-blower against the tobacco industry.) Maybe it’s all of the above. Regardless, slick ads and catchy radio spots are less effective. True testimonials from customers or industry gurus provide marketing traction.
1. The Decline of Madmen
The marketing middle man, or ad agency, must take a different role today as pretense and subliminal messages fall by the wayside and honest stories become the mechanism for “selling” and marketing. Now more than ever agencies need to take a strategic role in developing businesses’ persona, positioning and messaging rather than being the broker of expensive marketing tactics. In a sense the need businesses have for marketing is less for an ad agency and more for a public relations firm model.
What marketing trends are you thankful for?