Today we all are aware of the different channels or mediums through which marketing is done. And one of the biggest challenges that any manager today faces is integration of channels and more importantly simultaneous launch timings of each channel.
But I think in the near future also of these things will ease out and rolling out and a massive marketing campaign will be as simple as pushing a launch button like you see in some of the movies (like launching rockets). Take for e.g. Google they know exactly where a person is going to click next through their tracking mechanism that is embedded in most browsers. So if they were to come out with a product like this where from their knowledge they can predict the next move of every consumer, this will make way for a new way of launching impact campaigns. This will enable corporations to launch campaigns globally with just a click across multiple mediums and countries assuming in a few years time everything will be digital right from hoarding, print, on air TVC, etc. Impact marketing will achieve new heights with this phenomena.
All the creative’s will be online and all the media vehicles & channels will also be digital which will bring in pin point accuracy for decimating information via creatives. We are now experiencing global launches but in a few yrs, one will be able to see global launches in a true sense as all countries will see a launch of a product or service at the same time across the globe.
I know everyone would be thinking that implementation is the easy part but today a lot of time and efforts goes behind implementation. I find the most difficult part is to have a creative thought which is executed well via a Creative. Taking this into consideration I think the role of traditional marketer is bound to reduce due to the influx of digital mediums and penetration of digital medium across the globe. Clearly one would see 2 very important teams in an organization, team 1 which is the brand team (who would work along with the agency to come up with fantastic creatives) and second would be the digital marketing team who would look after execution.
I hope the automation stops at the execution bit else there will be no creativity/dynamism left in marketing and everything becomes boring and predictable. Making creatives is a challenging proposition since its subjective and involves different skill set which currently is dominated by us and should stay that way.
All of this started during the pre-industrial revolution during the 18th century where everything was hand-made and was made to order. Barter of goods and services was the way, trade operated in those times. This was known as the trade era where traders had an upper hand in selling stuff for a margin in terms of getting upgraded products/services in return for their offerings.
Then came the production era where mass production was the name of the game. One size fits all was thought that all believed in and the belief that “people buy what we make”, it worked well especially considering that there was no or extremely limited competition. This era lasted from industrial revolution from 1860’s to early 19th century.
Following the production era was the era where sales played a pivotal role in the industry forming it the sales era. Due to the mass production markets got saturated which resulted in product demand plummet. More and more companies entered into the production era and commoditized the market making it difficult for the companies to sell their products as there was hardly any differentiation. Pricing played a pivotal role in convincing the consumers to buy products from a particular manufacturer. This era lasted till the middle of 19th century.
After sales era there was dire need for the companies to give the consumers products that they needed rather than what they could make. This innate need started the era of marketing where companies realized that consumers now had multiple options and they would need to differentiate their products from other manufacturers. In other words real branding started emerging during this phase where all companies started targeting certain segments in the society to ensure that they catered needs of that particular segment through their product/services. Later on during the same era customization also played a key role and changed the way companies made products. Businesses existed because they fulfilled some unmet consumer need, and they realized that consumer is now the king who needs to be served with what he wants and how he wants.
And today in the marketing era the role of digital marketing is not just a fad but whole new way of reaching and engaging consumers. A couple of years back, large companies mandated the use of this medium and allocated specific budget like 10% of the total media spends have to be on digital but today, the medium has not just proved itself but redefined how marketing has to be done. I would say it has enabled marketers to achieve individual marketing rather than segment/mass marketing. With the help of tools made by companies/brands like Google, FB, etc it has enabled marketers to market their products and services to an extremely specific set of people which is the IDEAL TG. Products and services are now being launched online and that launch has a much better impact / result as compared to traditional launch since it reaches the right audience, in time and is completely measurable. A simple e.g. to showcase importance of this medium is to see any established company today when they dish out a role for a brand manager / marketing manager it has a mention of a particular skill-set i.e. Digital Marketing.
I think the future of marketing will be something where consumers will try and create products themselves by just customizing everything. Depending on he consumer preferences which is tracked by Google and many other companies marketers could show them creatives that they are more likely to get influenced from. Although this may be an expensive proposition of creating multiple edits but if we look at the end result I think the effort will really lend value as it will generate higher sales.
Millions of products in the market but not everything sells like hot cakes. There could be many reasons for the sales of these products to not happen
– Bad Marketing
– Bad Product
– Bad Distribution
– Bad Positioning
– Wrong Market
– Wrong TG
And the list can go on and on……
But there are certain brands where people await the launch of new products, stand in long ques or book the product well in advance to get their hands on the same. Companies or brands like Apple, Harley Davidson, Ikea, WV Beetle, etc are not just known for the latest offering but most people can remember what they started with and what is their current offering. Now think the same about say for e.g. a Samsung who is competing with Apple for the best smart phone, what was the first product they launched, some of us would know but a lot of consumers will not be aware of their first product.
One thing the emerges common among most cult brands is that they have a product which is just awesome. Everything that is put in the product has a purpose and more importantly that same purpose is something that the consumer also relates to and finds its beneficial. Their products are so well made that just a PR leak of they are coming up with a new variant is enough to generate tremendous buzz in the market.
So I guess for me the learning is that if you wanna create a brand / product line which yields revenue over a longer run invest in the product do not leave behind anything to ensure that its the best in class product. Yes there are pressures on budget and this may sound idealistic but ultimately in the market the brand / product pays the price for not being the best. All the other elements like the distribution, marketing mix, etc can be played around but once a product fails its really difficult to make it a success.Often hear from people that these bigger organizations have lots of money to waste on R&D; and MR but ultimately that same research helps to narrow down the likely list of successful products rather than launching products and failing in market.
Everyone aspires to own premium brands even though when they know that the product on offer is either almost same or at times exactly the same. Was just going through some videos on TED Talks and found very interesting trend that was coming up which is how great brands drive certain kind of behavior or in some cases change consumer behavior.
Some brands have the power to make a difference in consumers life and powerful brands are able to change the way consumers feel, think, and act. They do this when they become part of peoples’ lives by answering the simple problems through their products and services.
There are certain brands that have changed the behavior of consumers and those are brands that are your evergreen brands since they are the strongest at the conviction level. For e.g. brands that changed the way we shop (Amazon, eBay), how we work (Microsoft) and how we access information across anything and everything (Google) basically these brands identified areas and changed the way consumers behaved.
So why do you think these brands did so well or What do these great brands have in common that makes them not just successful but successful over a period of time: zeal to understand latent consumer needs and create them into consumable products and services. It’s an extremely simple concept but not all companies follow this which bring their downfall.
There are a lot of brands successful and still going strong (cult brands) and then there were some strong brands then but now are either shut or struggling. So how can a brand falter so much when once it was a strong dominant market leader and now a struggling or a bankrupt brand today. How can something go so wrong that it results in well oiled money-making machine going bust. The most common top of mind answers would be – change in strategy, sub-optimal resources, faulty marketing, inefficient sales, etc. But do you think these are the real reasons since all of these could have been changed back to the original ones and the brand would have been back on track.
So what happened to make it that irreversible change? I feel that the most important thing for any organization is not ‘what’ they are doing or ‘how’ they are doing but it’s the ‘WHY’ they are doing is the most important thing. The What & How are things like marketing, positioning, strategy which are easily changeable but the moment you change the WHY, which the reason for the brand’s existence then its a serious and a fatal problem.
A brand is started with an end goal in mind which is the WHY and unless the why is clear none of what and how elements make any sense. So if the purpose of a brand changes it is very difficult for a consumer to digest a fact that a brand supplying computers is now making phones hence the belief on the brand is low. Yes companies do go into newer territories to ensure growth objectives are met but then it’s what the company stakeholders want and not what the consumers want.
Just to give an e.g. today radio transistors aren’t something you see but idea of a radio was to entertain so the next logical upgrade for a RT brand is to get into an innovation mode and figure the next mode of innovation like a walk-man or stereo system when they hit the wall in terms of sales. But if a brand got into something like computers which was at that time meant to be the next big thing although logically it made sense to move from transistors to transponders/semi conductors but the mission of the company changed from providing entertainment to easy computing. This is where they go bust.
And if you look at successful brands like Harley Davidson they never change their mission (why) “We fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclist and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.” and continue to have all new products, communication and all activities that glorifies the WHY of their brand.
Just feel that it’s important for a brand to stand true to its mission and tweak the vision if at all need be to be successful in the long run.
The most common word used across the marketing and branding forums and people is that “is your brand/activity differentiated enough to grab the consumers attention?”
And most managers would answer yes it definitely is different from what competition is doing, but is it really different? The answer is most probably no. The differentiating factor is most probably that none of the competition has tried it but today differentiation is more than just about your category it’s across brands.
Imagine a testimonial ad started by a FMCG category which worked well and this same idea was then taken by the agency to another category like an automobile or pharma and pitched as first in the category. Everyone in the room is happy since they achieved one thing in the meeting which is we are different from competition, but are they really different? From a consumers lens he would feel I have seen this many a times and all of them including other categories are giving the same message.
Creating a differentiation for me is doing exactly opposite of what conventionally marketeers are doing for e.g. when a service provider blocks the sale of the product or limits the consumption of their product or service immediately it becomes a big thing. Consumers start getting impatient as to what is this product all about or why can’t I get it. This ultimately results in massive awareness which is consumer-led rather than manufacturer led.
The above e.g. is a marketing strategy that is different but apart from strategy there are there ways of differentiating as well which could be via creative communication (e.g.Got Milk campaign), using different media (e.g. Ford for the launch of Fiesta in India during cricket matches), operational differentiation (e.g. Walmart’s procurement and supply chain management), different business model (e.g. Amway, etc).
The above are just e.g. and current trend could be different but the idea is to ensure that differentiation should happen across categories and not just within a particular subset.
Advertisers crave to get captive audience so they can brainwash them and put their brand messages in their heads. To get this captive audience they would got to any length but today the consumers are exposed to so many messages during a day that they would tune out of certain experiences even if they like it.
Take any medium today, the consumers are given an option to escape from this, in a TV by skipping to other channels, skip the ad in YouTube, FB asking for permissions, tv channels now promoting 1 break program, etc. All moving to give the consumer the much-needed space.
In a way, this reinforces the definition of ads as unwanted interruptions. For e.g. at YouTube they put a forced 5 sec ad viewing but then skip the ad to go past it. The other way to look at it is that challenges the advertisers to create fantastic ads so that people choose to watch them.
I guess the more generic the ad is, it is less likely to get any attention or stick-ability. I read somewhere that “People hate advertising in general, but they love advertising in particular”.
All marketeers love to get new mediums/channels where they can get a set of their captive consumers but do not pay equal attention to the kind of messaging/creative they want to put in those mediums. Where everything in marketing is measured any creative messaging how much ever you test or try to understand will always remain subjective. Companies spend millions of dollars testing communication still aren’t able to crack and get the desired response but at least they are close to what they want to achieve. But there are certain companies who go with the gut feel execute campaigns online and offline and clearly when the consumer has his first look their first thought would be “what the hell are they trying to say with this one?”
No wonder most of the marketing dollars spent are in vain and then the conclusion is always that strategies were either not planned properly or executed properly.
Just feel that out of the box thinking should not only be applicable to mediums but also to the messaging that goes out in those mediums.