It is not business as usual. The Internet has provided consumers with unprecedented access to information and choice. The emergence of social platforms has meant that, for the first time in history, everyone has their own media channels. The days of relying on the patronage of publishers, or record companies, for people to have their work recognized have long since gone. In a world where information has become abundant, attention has become scarce.
These fundamental changes, in the rules of communication, mean that a different mindset and frame of reference is required when people think about marketing. Many of the old paradigms are now obsolete. Here are five of the “old school” to “new skool” changes in our digital universe.
Social Media and marketing industries are undergoing a paradigm shift, meaning that traditional know-how and workflows are changing and evolving due to the continuous integration of social media into daily processes.
1. ‘Return on Investment’ Is Now ‘Return on Engagement’
In a world where information is now abundant, it has become harder for businesses to obtain the attention of their prospects and customers. Companies used to win attention by shouting loudly at target groups. In so doing, they would hope that a percentage of their audience was looking to buy and would respond. The success of a campaign was measured solely on how many responses were received and the ROI achieved.
Consumers now pay less heed to these messages and have been empowered to initiate the customer journey themselves. Therefore, attention is no longer obtained by shouting at prospects and hoping they respond. Rather, it is achieved by engaging with prospects and customers, over the longer term, and in so doing, being front of mind when a customer is ready to make a purchase.
2. ‘Unique Selling Points’ Are Now ‘Customer Engagement Points’
The unique selling proposition was always one-dimensional and pre-dates even the service economy. The idea was to come up with a unique benefit that would attract customers. But in the fast moving world where we live there no USPs. In the service sector, there is nothing a company can offer that a marketer cannot copy. Even in the world of products, first-mover advantage is measured in weeks not years. As we enter the experience economy it is more three-dimensional offers that will resonate with consumers. It is not just what a business does that matters but how it does it and how that makes a customer feel. This is not easily articulated by one unique selling proposition but rather a series of customer engagement points.
3. ‘Broadcasting Messages’ Is Now ‘Facilitating Conversations’
A company’s best marketers are no longer the individuals in the business themselves. In a world where attention is scarce, and everyone has a channel, it is the community around a company that is the best communicators: its customers, prospects, suppliers, partners, stakeholders etc. Subsequently, the emphasis of an organization’s communications should be from simply broadcasting messages to creating communications that will lead to engagement. That is, people respond, discuss and share the information with others.
4. ‘Knowledge Is Power’ Is Now ‘Shared Knowledge Gives You Attention’
The Internet has made information ubiquitous. Therefore, the days of going to organizations because they had the knowledge you lacked are long since gone. Everyone has the ability to research and obtain the knowledge they require. With information, in a digital age, being a commodity, companies should not guard their expertise. Rather, they should share the information they have with the wider world. In so doing, a business will demonstrate proficiency, and earn credibility and trust with prospects and customers alike. In so doing, they will obtain the attention of the market place. The company can then charge for where the real value lies, that is, in the application of the knowledge.
5. Customers Are No Longer ‘Kings,’ Now They Are Your ‘Partners’
In an analog world, the old adage the customer is king meant that without the patronage of the customer, there was nothing. The “customer is always right” and other sayings were meant to highlight the idea that companies had to treat customers well. Of course, this is still the case. However, now it goes further. In an experience economy, customers want to be involved. They want a say in the new design, the choice of colors, the next offering, etc. They want to be able to personalize more of what a business provides. Moreover, with every individual owning a channel, the customer will now be an organization’s greatest marketer. Therefore, customers are no longer simply the king, today, they are even more important.
Consumers have expectations from brands today they didn’t have just five years ago. Marketers have access to communication and engagement channels they didn’t have five years ago to listen and meet consumer expectations. Marketing executives need to have keen insight into the most effective ways to reach and engage their audience and turn them into loyal and raving customers.
Following are four marketing paradigms every marketing executive should embrace or risk losing customer preference to competitors who embrace these marketing paradigms.
Marketing is not a department. The entire organization should understand their role and participate in the marketing process.
A social business is one that exhibits the following characteristics:
Executive level support to embrace a transparent approach to marketing with active participation from all levels of management.
A commitment to a content strategy that involves all customer-facing departments – no exceptions.
An understanding that social media channels are a means to an end and therefore play a vital role in delivering content and permitting engagement with your audience.
Intense use of tools and technologies that facilitate the development of content, social sharing, social engagement and measurement of outcomes.
A keen analysis of data for insight into reach, sentiment, engagement with your target audience and lead intelligence including closed loop marketing.
Few organizations can genuinely say they are a social business as of this writing. Smaller companies are positioned better to embrace social business principles with fewer layers of culture to change compared to large businesses with thousands of employees.
Encouraging employees to build their personal brand is good business. Organizations who constrict employees from building their personal brand are constructing their own brand. All businesses are made up of people and most employees have a digital presence. For a business to think they can restrict employees from using social media channels during work hours is naive. Instead, organizations should create guidelines and boundaries to encourage employees to develop their brand in such a way that both parties benefit – the employee and the employer. A well-aligned branding plan between employee and employer can have a “halo effect” on the brand.
One way to embrace employee branding is by encouraging employees to have their own personal blog. While not all employees are well suited to have a personal blog that aligns with the corporate brand, there are many other ways employers can encourage and guide employees to build their brand for mutual benefit.
Consumers want to experience your brand, not just read about it. Promotional campaigns are often most successful when they are transmedia campaigns. This refers to campaigns that touch the target customer across multiple media channels, inviting the consumer to participate in an experience.
DATA DRIVEN MARKETING
Measuring marketing activities is nothing new. The pressure on marketing executives to measure the impact of their marketing plans is greater than ever before. Fortunately for marketers, there is a growing list of data driven measurement tools that allow for measurement of reach, engagement, sentiment, conversions and more. Integration with CRM systems allows B2B marketers to measure online marketing results.
Old distinctions, like broadcast and non-broadcast, traditional and digital, media and creative don’t apply the way they used to. Moreover, skills sets that were once sequestered in one discipline or another must now be integrated.
The result is much confusion. Traditionalists think that the old ways just need some tweaking, while digital natives insist that those days are gone, never to return. Both betray a misunderstanding of paradigm shifts, which do not nullify hard won truths but give new perspectives on old fact patterns. Here’s a guide to what’s changed and what’s not.
1. From Making Contacts to Building Assets
In the old paradigm, media buying was, to a large extent, about managing reach and frequency. Some people are easier to catch than others, so marketers needed to take care to not to contact some too much and others too little. It wasn’t easy, especially for TV, but we knew how to do it and do it well.
Then media fragmented, making for smaller audiences and higher premiums for anything that could be considered “mass.” When digital media came on the scene, the banner ad became digital analog to the 30-second TV spot. Then ad networks and trading desks sprung up and increased efficiency, but devalued eyeballs further.
Amidst the numbers games, everybody knew something was wrong and that led to the concept of brand engagement. More metrics, such as video completions, were dredged up, but those too have been found limited in utility. What’s emerging is the concept of value exchange in the form of owned media assets.
Content marketing and mobile apps are not merely new methods of eyeball capture, but new possibilities to build assets in the marketplace and increase consumer engagement. The new digital battlefield will create immersive experiences in the living room and at the point of sale.
2. From Campaigns to Platforms
Creating marketing assets in the marketplace has had an important ancillary effect. It’s nullifying the old campaign mindset. Where marketers used to put up a series of ads until the effectiveness decayed, they now need to build platforms that develop and mature.
30-second ads and pre-roll videos are having to share budgets with web sites, YouTube channels, e-commerce integration and social media followings that don’t immediately disappear when the current promotion is over.
Ads themselves are also becoming platforms, which adapt to consumers interactions. No longer are we showing the same ad or web page to every consumer, but are tailoring the message to past behavior. We’re broadcasting less and personalizing more.
That creates the need for a new way of working. Brands need to become authors whose stories unfold over time. The old campaign mentality needs to be replaced by the principle of perpetual beta, where the brand is always becoming, never being.
3. From Awareness to Activation
In the old media paradigm, ads were used to promote awareness. The idea was to keep the brand top of mind and therefore increase the likelihood of a purchase. Consumers are creatures of habit and so are loathe to commit to unknowns, but willing to dabble in the familiar but untried.
All that is still true, but falls short. Simple awareness is a no match for the engagement and advocacy that owned and earned media confer. A brand that relays only on broadcasting marketing messages will find that they end up promoting the category while their competitors pick off potential consumers with retargeting efforts.
Yet still, owned and earned media are worthless unless activated. Numbers still matter. Regardless of how clever the execution might be, any promotion that doesn’t reach consumers in an amount significant enough to have a business impact is worthless.
Therefore, paid media’s role has significantly changed. Whereas before it was used as a bludgeon to beat down competitors with a greater share of voice, its role has shifted to activating engagement with owned assets. Ads have become a starting point – a door to engagement if you will. A means to an end rather than an end unto itself.
4. From Transactions to Experiences
Probably the biggest paradigm shift has been the way brands interact with consumers. Previously, the expectation was a one-time value exchange. Brands advertised a product to have certain features and attributes. Consumers expected them to deliver it and, if they did, they were likely to score high on customer satisfaction studies.
Today, consumers expect brands to be partners by helping them get the maximum utility and enjoyment out of their purchase.
Technology as a means of service delivery.
Inseparability is a unique characteristic of service and the only area that has not been completely trounced. But there are certain fields that have encouraged isolated consumption like counseling, teaching. The invention in the field of technology has changed the traditional method of teaching service. Another model of isolated production of service consumption is “Wheel on meal” concept that was an innovation to make service consumption possible at customers convenience. But still, there is the huge scope of development in this area. In future, we may expect some of the discovery in marketing that has identified ways to offer customer service at consumer’s convenience.
The Rise of The New Customer
Customers have become more demanding of how we interact with them and how we treat them across segments, products, and channels. In a world where today’s best practice becomes the basic standard of tomorrow, it is becoming harder for companies to retain and attract customers cost-effectively. It is the world where experiences are at the heart of life and of life’s objectives. This has compelled marketer to recognize and engage with the new customer to succeed in this new customer-driven age. Technology has empowered new customer than a marketer; this helps them managing intake of communications and filter out unwanted messages. Increased mobility, distance and new tools for communication and entertainment have resulted in consumerism. This has resulted in higher demand and expectation of consumer from service experience. The new consumer benchmark for excellent service all the time; it might be from an entirely different industry or it will be their best experience in any category. Marketers cannot afford meeting these expectations as it’s too high. This customer driven agenda is making marketing professionals role more intricate as customers are only loyal to an organisation that offer them the best service and act as referrals of that organisation. But it is always not possible to meet consumer needs, thus modern marketers try identifying customers with long-term value and meet the enhanced service expectations of this valuable customer. Thus marketers adopt the operationalizing segmentation a scientific technique that aims at identifying customers personally each time they contact the business. Marketers plan customer engagements segment by segment, design engineer channel strategy, and establish quality level based on what is valuable to the customer. They also try identifying all the possible touch points in the customer life cycle try establishing micro-marketing at the heart of a branded delivery. In short, marketing has reinvented itself for a new age of the customer.
Value Driven Marketing
The product is now undoubtedly a very small proportion of the profit in a value chain. Product differences are rarely a sustainable competitive advantage: there has to be something more it’s in the service/ solution part of the equation. So, all businesses are trying to differentiate through services and solution that can offer value to the customer. Organisations are trying enhancing company’s service delivery process along with evoking emotions for the brand. If companies are able to match the customer expectation of performance during all points of contact that is referred as customer journey, this will result in creating loyalty advocacy and attraction. Thus modern consumer cannot be easily influenced by adopting attraction strategies. Every time when customers come into contact with an enterprise they experience the transaction process to deal with that particular organisation and build an image about the company. The experience is the ultimate conveyor of value to the customer and a primary influence on future behavior. Thus the current trend is not as same as the early 21st century where marketers try building relational ship factors with the customers to influence decision making. Modern consumers demand value in service that consumer offer, only when the consumer is assured of the value it is going to obtain from that transaction it will further respond to build the relationship with the organisation. Thus marketers have to take strong efforts in order to design value at every stage of service encounter.
In order to successfully design the marketing efforts the marketers should have deep, embedded knowledge about consumers and markets that helps to structure planning and decision making We might define this as ‘the ability to perceive clearly or deeply’, a deep, embedded knowledge about consumers and markets that help to structure planning and decision making. This has resulted in the development of integrated approach in marketing where everyone is involved in satisfying consumer needs and interacting with consumers that provide them with a clear insight of customers want.