Post image for EVOLVE: Technology will Mandate Marketers to Keep Up with the Times

EVOLVE: Technology will Mandate Marketers to Keep Up with the Times

Evolve-2500pix-long - Jan 19This has been happening for awhile and whether Marketers choose to see the change that’s developing within the landscape, they need to realize that this “seismic shift”, as my co-author Daniel Newman likes to call it, is going to mandate changes to the way that practices have traditionally functioned.

When Dan and I wrote EVOLVE, we had already been practicing much about what the book preaches. But there is a gap that continues to exist in the market where many marketers continue to eschew these new practices either because there isn’t enough evidence of their effectiveness, or simply because they don’t know.

As this excerpt from our book: EVOLVE: Marketing (as we know it) is Doomed!, here is how we sum this up:

No longer do we have only a few mediums for content consumption. In as little as two decades we’ve moved beyond TV, radio, print, billboards. We’ve also raced beyond the standard network channels, and the key national newspapers. We are now exposed to endless content, from our peer networks, our smart phones, and our inboxes. Consumers are overwhelmed and this fragmentation of channel and information continues.

As consumers, our attention has moved to sites that speak to our own areas of interest. They may not necessarily be popular or well known. Our peers greatly influence what we do and where we go. Our ever-trusted smart phones give us access to information about the things we want, when we want them and where we want them. At the other end of the spectrum, we, as consumers are more informed, and more wary of the digital footprint we’re leaving behind.

The Always-On Customer in an Always-On Economy

Social media has ensured that marketing has no control over the marketing message.
One-way push communication doesn’t work in a vacuum. Customers aren’t waiting anymore. Loyalty is elusive. Brands are vulnerable more than ever before.

McKinsey recently noted the following:

The buyer is in control of their journey — 60-80 percent of the buying journey is self-directed, … Others will have you believe that they will design the journey for the customer. Bullshit … the customer will design their own journey — we all have our own path — and the capabilities need to be able to react and flow to that path.

This new “path” implies the following:

  • Ad performance continues to decline. People don’t respond to ads as much anymore.
  • Customers are listening and reacting more than ever before – scrutinizing every move that companies make.
  • Access proliferation puts the customer in an active role that allows them to take control over what they buy through search, friend recommendations, site reviews, text/chat communication.
  • Customer expectations have heightened. The customer demands convenience and ease of purchase and service. This new omni-channel assumes a unified communication channel among all the customer touch points. I, as a customer, expect that when I buy something online, I can also return it to the nearest store and not have to worry about once-painful return processes.
  • Mobile enables the shortest path to purchase. Smartphones have become an imperative, especially among Millennials. It has become the medium that allows them to search, retrieve recommendations, do price comparisons and make purchases. Peer and family recommendations via mobile are an important influences via mobile.

The Marketer must now respond to these expectations and develop strategies and solutions that will  optimize the buying experience at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Marketers are getting it… Slowly

Customer centricity is back. And it’s back for good. The demands of the customer are paramount these days.  The terms, “mass customization” have now enabled companies like Nike to give people the features what they want (in style, colour and design) — highly customized but within very efficient pricing.

Data will play a much bigger role to inform customer propensities, needs and behaviours. More importantly, it has the ability to make predictions on buyer outcomes.  Customer value will take on a much different view over and above just transactional information. Social data will be able to provide a stronger profile view that will inform targeting and messaging strategies.

What this means is that the role of the CMO will change. The CMO and the CIO will be highly-integrated functions that will help provide continuous insights from the market. The CMO will begin to own more of the customer journey: from acquisition to retention to engagement. This will mean much more customer experience accountability.

This customer will play vital role in co-creating alongside the organization to help define product features, improvements and service augmentation. By not only truly understanding the customer, but allowing them into the company “fold”, requires a certain agility that makes the organization more responsive and more effective.

As they say, the more things change…

While there is this urgency to change, many things will take time to evolve to this new way of doing things.

Truth be told, mass channels will continue to drive awareness. Those brands that can still afford these channels will dominate in its use. There is no doubt that TV is still a strong medium but its value will predominate with this idea of convergence where consumers have the ability to consume programs on multiple platforms, formats and devices on their own time. On-demand programming and channels like Netflix are already strong purveyors of convergence. This not only creates an extension of the brand message, it strengthens the awareness and conversion probabilities.

Silos will continue to exist – particularly in large enterprise. Finance services, and manufacturing are known for this: duplication of process and duplication of customer. In most cases, the left hand does not know what the left hand is doing. This will, by far, be the biggest uphill battle for most organizations. Dave Gray’s “Connected Customer” is where he noted,

most organizations will realize they will need to dismantle some of that precious infrastructure.

Community will continue to be a function that sits “outside” the organization and within the agency structure. Brands continue to see community as largely a function of campaigns, and not sustainable engagement to support reputation and enhance customer service. Community cannot subsist within the agency environment. It needs to live within the organization in order to be effective.

So… is Marketing doomed?

In the traditional sense, yes. Marketing has always been about the way communication and control over the message. We live in this environment where we have to rethink approaches to customer and NOT stop at the point of acquiring them. Retention will become much harder as the customer becomes more elusive. Marketers have to adapt and stay on top of the channels and technologies.

As Marketing progresses, there is a glimmer of hope that it will morph into this new discipline that will benefit both the organization and its customers.

For more information on EVOLVE: Marketing (as we know it) is Doomed! please go here.

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(photo credit)

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