Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Future of Marketing and Other Animals

I was recently asked about the future of marketing. Obviously like most of us I just went on the web to have a look and yes, there is a wealth of opinion out there. So just for a change I thought I'd write my own views about the subject. Below are my ramblings written at 4:00am on a Wednesday - so perhaps a little odd...

Customer is King (oldest adage and still true). Its clear that for companies that wish to succeed the choice is obvious: They will need to partner more closely with consumers and customers who can inform, ideate, and influence others on behalf of their brand.

This is known as crowd sourcing. Growth of crowdsourcing to solicit a group for the best idea, creative execution, or product submission via social media. A crowdsourced channel will consist of consumers or customers who will form an almost-symbiotic relationship with the brand in virtually all that the brand does.

Companies will develop "brand crowds"—these groups of consumers / customers willing to collaborate and spread the word about a brand—will be even more vested in helping to tell others.

Its scary because you won't control your marketing - your customer will. But you as a marketer are accountable !

Nurturing, seeding and prompting will become much more valuable to A company. Building an army of evangelists who can reach out on your behalf.

This allows a "channel for one" a principle where localised deep targeted marketing can take place. Each client has their own marketing dedicated just to them. (Or that's how it will be perceived).

Prediction will be based on statistics and analytics or - we take a best guess and use intuition. Patterns can be read in so called big data which can predict certain reactions - but people don't react in the way we think they do...but they do react.

Uncertainty becomes the norm. Who would ever have guessed that more people would look at and be influenced by a short clip of "Charlie biting a finger". Or a previously unknown Asian man dancing Gangnam style becoming a worldwide smash?

This spread proliferates and generates its own momentum. And if it's "manufactured" it rarely works. Trying to "make" something go viral is not the point. Viral is as viral does-

If history has taught us one thing about marketing it's that only 50% of it works. The problem being that no one really knows which 50% it is.

There will also be a renaissance of traditional targeted marketing as people become numb to edm.

Email will be replaced by instant messages specifically aimed at the exact activity being considered. These will be delivered by micro messengers who pop up inside our heads to offer us deals and value. Each MM will be customised to attract each individual persons likes (think avatar characters but created in your perfect image). Micro Message Marketing MMM (will not only turn the WWW in its head (!) but will be the delivery method of choice for DM.

"MMM" is also what we think when we like something. Mmm...I like it!

The Web Wave - this will be a tangible and measurable movement of towards real data. It will allow marketers to review opinion and effect. Patterns will allow certain predictions to be made. Vast volumes of minute data and trending will give us the ability to prompt and nurture.

The FatLine will allow products or people to be sent direct to individuals anywhere in the world (think teleporting via the Internet). The FatLine will be like fibre broadband for people. You'll be able to "think" yourself there. It'll make ordering takeout very fast. Marketers will have to allow for instant gratification models to accomodate the Fatline (Fatline is attributable to Dan Simmons author of Hyperion). What Dan did not fully consider is the commercial marketing opportunity the Fatline offers...

We laugh at this now but then we probably would have laughed at the idea of Charlie biting my finger ten years ago.

And as for Tweeting - does anyone really have any genuine tangible ROI for a B2B campaign. I expect so, I'd love to see it. If we are to believe that social media is the way forward for marketing then the "Channel for one" methodology mentioned above is a clear winner. But hang on, isn't twitter supposed to be about conversations? I'd like to see a proper business related dialogue that results in a sale... Personally I believe that twitter is about engagement and opinion rather than sales and marketing.

Same goes for all social media really, ask yourself have you EVER bought a product because you were advertised to via social media ? No? But have your friends ever recommended a product or service via social media ? Yes - then that makes our seed groups and brand crowds important - but it's not "advertising" as we know it. It's more to do with prompting and influence from people we trust.

Take Trip Advisor - if a venue get 99 good reviews and one bad one which do you want to read first? So if first impressions count, then what do we make of that?
( maybe its just me but I love reading the "bad" reviews - perhaps I am weird).

Gossip marketing - spread a rumour - something quirky - did you know that cats can actually smell colour? (No way of proving it however). But nonetheless it's the kind of soundbite that gets repeated.

I see a lot of industry gurus spouting off their words of wisdom in short tweets and soundbites. I guess that if you do this enough, then people will eventually start to believe. It must work but as a bit of a cynic I call this "self bullotion" basically broadcasting often self promotional hype to anyone who can be bothered to read it. (Think David Brent from The Office and you'll get the gist).

I'm obviously missing the point about micro blogging - so here are a few I have made up to get you thinking:

Beware the retweeter - for they have no soul

The pen is mightier than the sword, until someone stabs you with a pen

Don't assume, it makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' (an oldie but a goodie).

All that said and you have to admit, the WWW is cool - it exposes lack of original thought and gives us a very limited depth of information about virtually every subject. We can buy, sell, teach, learn, excite, laugh, cry - in fact it can reach virtually every human need. And it's a dream for marketers, a captive audience of billions. Easy!

Jonny's rants are just random views and are to be taken lightly.  He only writes them in moments of stark clarity and / or lucid enlightenment. No offence is intended to anyone with a mind of their own..!

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