B2B or Business to Business Marketing is an extremely competitive space today and its becoming extremely difficult for even good marketing companies to keep pace with their own industries. Today they face competition not just from their traditional peers but from the aggressive startup companies who are lean and are nimble footed.
B2B marketing is often looked upon as a lead generation process and the success is measured by the cost per lead and the number of leads. And yes their b2b sales counterparts will also add in another factor, lead quality which is important but not accurately measurable. And BtoB marketers will often be pushed on the above parameters only which makes them a lead generation machine.
But often they tend to forget the value of the brand while doing the B2B marketing and the entire marketing piece becomes offer or price oriented. The startups will focus on these because they don’t have the brand lineage and will push the sales on this front. But little do they realize that this in the long-term makes the entire team dependent on pricing/discount and doing this year on year makes this a process which in the future is very difficult to change.
Also if we look at global brands who are leading the B2B space they follow a completely different strategy where they focus on the brand that has been built over time but they too did start somewhere. Brands like Microsoft, IBM, Well Fargo, UPS, GE, SAP, Accenture, Oracle, FEDEX, etc have been focused on ensuring that the product service is immaculate and rest of the job is done by the brand name itself.
And in today’s world there is no shortage on the mediums that one could achieve the same there is digital marketing, affiliate marketing, network marketing, social media marketing which offer extremely economical options if run well to not just generate leads but to build a brand as well. Yes in certain less developed economies one may need to look at traditional mediums as well but every penny spent (if one has a right creative) will add value to the business int he long run.
A prime example of brand and technology by a B2B brand – Huawei jumped 22 per cent post investing heavily in innovative new technologies such as software-defined networks and cloud solutions that enable business agility on the product side. But along with that to boost their brand they also signed A-list movie actors and footballer Lionel Messi as brand ambassadors to create a positive perception of the brand in the business fraternity via advertisements.
Brand strategies do take time but its never too late to start building a brand because the more your delay the more damage is done by either becoming price dependent or being a good lead generation company. Both for me is not something which is sustainable in the long run. There needs to be a balance between the brand and lead generation for any marketing plan or marketing strategy which not just enables revenues but long term benefits as well. And one must not forget an important aspect of business – SPEED, the faster you respond the better chances of deal closure.
Brand positioning statement is often confused with a company tagline or slogan. At some level that isn’t completely wrong but if one tries to understand the true meaning of both, in fact they are very different.
Positioning statements are for internal usage and understanding the broader concept for the internal audience, about what is expected from them. Business is driven basis these statements which includes the marketing and the operating aspects.
Whereas a tag line is developed for the consumers to portray the same positioning for an external audience, used in primarily the marketing efforts. Insights from your positioning statement can be turned into a tagline, but it is important to distinguish between the two.
Examples of Positioning & Tagline
Positioning: fascination, perfection and responsibility
Tagline: Engineered like no other car in the world
Positioning: Quality, technology, performance and exclusivity
Tagline: The ultimate driving machine
Brand positioning means owning a piece of real estate in the consumers mind. The key here is to make sure that one captures an empty slot and not trying to win over an occupied one. Hence the key is to be first else some other brand will occupy that space. It helps the brand get the preference over competition, it also ensures that Positioning needs to be based on an extremely strong insight else getting the mind space is impossible.
Brand positioning refers to “target consumer’s” reason to buy your brand in preference to others. It is ensures that all brand activity has a common aim; is guided, directed and delivered by the brand’s benefits/reasons to buy; and it focuses at all points of contact with the consumer.
In the book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Reis and Trout’s, positioning means the idea is to find and attempt to “own” a marketing niche for a brand, product, or service using various strategies including pricing, promotions, distribution, packaging, and competition. The idea is to create a unique impression in the customer’s mind so that the customer associates something specific and desirable with your brand that is distinct from rest of the marketplace.
Every business is unique and offers its products and services with their personal touch and hence the positioning also needs to have the same differentiated touch else it will be easily adopted or copied. Each and every employee of the brand needs to have the positioning in their mind and make sure in their own way this is driven. For e.g. if positioning is to offer performance car than right from the build quality of the car to the dealership everything should shout out performance.
But this is easier said than done, many marketers themselves forget about the positioning of the company and in the quest of trying something new deviate from this. And if the creators deviate other don’t even bother following. Turning everything you do into an expression of your desired positioning and you can create something special. Only once the internal audience accept and follow the positioning will the external start believing in the same.
There are various ways to position a brand
Own a category benefit
Miller Lite: Great Taste, Less Filling
Walt Disney Company: Magic
U.S. Army: Be all you can be
Budweiser: For all you do, this Bud’s for you
Burger King: Have it your way
United Airlines: The friendly skies of United
WalMart: Always the lowest price
Avis: We’re #2. We try harder
Seven-Up: The Un-cola
Apple: Think different
Selecting one of the above is completely dependent a combination of all the above factors like the category, consumer, brand & its competition. Whichever one gives a stronger differentiator then it should be picked and explored further to be articulated in a consumer friendly language.
Today the Indian FMCG space is rattled by this new brand Patanjali and all the MNC are breaking their heads to figure how this baba could make so much in such short time which took them decades to build. Patanjali today clocks a staggering INR 2000 Cr and is on road to hit INR 5k Cr in 2016 and this is all in a space of 4 yrs. Now that’s growth 66% in topline in 2015 to hit the INR 2k Cr mark, no wonder it’s the fastest growing FMCG brand.
The Patanjali story began in 2003 with yoga with a channel called “Aastha Tv” where the early morning slot was done by Baba Ramdev, who would come every morning in a saffron dhoti, bare-chested, twisting and twirling his body to eye-popping angles, while elucidating on Yogic rituals. Baba Ramdev also conducted free yoga lessons, his easy-to-follow breathing techniques, combined with his friendly saint appearance made him connect with the mass followers.
The idea of monetizing his popularity came from his close associate Acharya Balkrishna where he envisioned the amalgamation of the yoga guru’s popularity with his knowledge of ancient Ayurveda. This brought about the birth of Patanjali Ayurved Limited that began manufacturing medicinal products and ventured into the market with its dental care, cosmetics, and food range products.
Headquartered out of Haridwar the holy town on the banks of Ganges Ramdev this began his journey from a yoga guru to a business tycoon with the end goal of reaching INR 1 trillion in sales in less than 10 yrs. Already Patanjali has recorded sales INR 2k Cr in 2015 and is on its way to hit INR 5k Cr in 2016. To give a perspective to this no Hindustan Unilever Ltd started in India in 1888 and in 2015 touched net sales of INR 32k Cr, that’s how fast this FMCG is growing. As per FICCI and KPMG this segment was projected to grow by 12-15% over the next 5 yrs and Patanjali targets to grow at almost 3-4 times this pace, that’s the ambition of Baba Ramdev.
Ramdev openly ridicules his multinational competition.“It’s just the start. Ab tak Colgate ka toh gate khul gaya, Nestle ka toh panchhi urne wala hai, Pantene ka toh pant gila hone wala hai; aur do saal me, Unilever ka lever kharab ho jayega (By now, Colgate’s gate has opened; Nestle’s bird has flown (a reference to Nestle India Ltd’s logo), Pantene’s (a shampoo brand by Procter and Gamble India) pants are going to get wet, and in two years, Unilever’s lever will fail),” Ramdev said on 27 April at a press conference in Delhi. Patanjali’s focus would be on six areas: natural medicine, natural cosmetics, natural dairy products and food, natural cattle feed and feed supplements, bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides, and natural indigenous seeds to meet that growth as per Ramdev.
And it’s not just about entering the right segment but also getting the distribution right, over the next year, Patanjali will increase its retail presence through 4,000 distributors, more than 10,000 company-owned outlets, 100 Patanjali-branded stores and supermarkets. They also plan to set up 6 more factories to make sure production is in line with sales to avoid stock outs.
Baba Ramdev has hit all the right buttons from a 4 Ps perspective as he has managed to get a good product based on ancient Ayurveda that people trust, extremely competitive prices, a good distribution and an expanding production line. And most importantly he has managed to converge the ayurved with the trust/faith people had on his name, which made Patanjali grow so big in such short time. Brands spends millions of dollars and years to build credibility but here Ramdev had that credibility already that took years to build and he just transferred that credibility to the products by endorsing them and by offering no side effect ayurved medicine.
And just to make sure that each Indian was exposed to his products Patanjali spent massively on their A&P spends. Their weekly ad insertions on television jumped 102% from 11,897 in the first week of January to 24,050 in the week ended 25 March, according to BARC. Ad insertions by Patanjali are 20% more than those by the next most-advertised brand on TV—Cadbury, a chocolate brand owned by Mondelez India Foods Pvt. Ltd.
Disruption is always good and in this era of startups and uberization every company’s wants to project that they are innovative but very few actually are disruptive. Patanjali Ayurveda Limited (PAL) scores high on creating a new market and beat competition on the pricing front as well. In a relatively crowded FMCG space dominated by the HULs and ITCs, PAL has emerged as a dark horse posing a serious challenge to the erstwhile barons.
Their goal of making products available to the consumer at the most reasonable price, and giving substantial discount to existing alternatives. The price differential itself may be enough for some consumers to make the shift and for those in the low income class to become loyal customers of the given product category. Given its significant price discounts vis-à-vis competitor brands, one wonders whether the competition will eventually cut prices to lock horns with the PAL challenge.
It will force the MNC counterparts to either lower prices of come up with low cost products which may be inferior in quality in comparison to Patanjali’s line up.
A mystic who started his journey by offering free yoga camps to the masses and strongly propagating ancient Ayurveda to the world, is today, the cause of a frown for many FMCG companies in India and globally.
But there is a twist in the tale this FMCG sector may be in for some more disruption as after Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Sri Sri Ayurveda (SSA) products will now make the going tougher for the existing consumer players and for Patanjali as well.
Sri Sri is yet another more popular monk who has entered this market in 2003 and plans to roll out the same way as Patanjali. This may spell doom for existing players if they don’t act quickly. Sri Sri has 37 crore followers, estimated to be more than five times that of Baba Ramdev, owner of the Patanjali brand. Sri Sri has products across categories such as breakfast cereals, health drinks, oil, spices, personal care, oral care, cookies and ready-to-cook items. But unlike Patanjali, which has a strong presence, SSA has still to develop a network that can sell its products.
Other spiritual gurus such as Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Guru Ram Rahim and Aurobindo Ashram are planning to take the same route to exploit this lucrative segment and I look forward to this and the answer that the MNC giants have to give. This I feel will be the true test for these MNC giants which may lead to consolidation in the industry or some players leaving the playground has to be closely watched.
In today’s competitive world there are so many options for a consumer that he is spoilt for choice. Today differentiation between products is very fine and it’s the one with better articulated claims that actually wins the share.
Spends on marketing are increasing relatively in comparison to spends on R&D. This puts more pressure on the consumers in their decision-making process as they are now confused that which product has an edge. Most brands are extremely proactive to make sure one-upmanship w.r.t other brands by constantly updating their communication. Some companies have also taken marketing as their new R&D. Ideally both the functions are part of the same coin as R&D provides brilliant technical solutions and marketers introduce brilliant creative ideas and customer insights into the new-product-development process.
In highly competitive industries, top brass resist making R&D too dominant to dazzle customers with a steady stream of new products and the latest technologies. But this would mean significant investments in NPD and even more investments in the marketing of those products. Therefore role of marketing is extremely important to keep the organization abreast with the market and its future trends. But that being said a brilliant idea or proposal can come from anywhere and R&D also needs to constantly updating their knowledge via any sources to come up with new breakthrough innovations.
But I think what’s missing in this race of gaining market share is the end benefit for the consumer as brands push for market share and equity scores. Select organizations actually deliver products or services that actually resolve a real consumer problem.
But I think for any brand to be successful the first thing they need to do is define why do they exist and more importantly how can they resolve a real consumer problem. Take an example of Uber in 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp had trouble hailing a cab. So they came up with a simple idea—tap a button, get a ride.
What they started as an app now has taken the globe by surprise that empires can be built atop a great insightful idea with literally no investment. Uber is now changing the way we travel today across major cities around the world. When you make transportation as reliable as running water, everyone benefits. Especially when it’s snowing outside.
And if the insight is genuine that really resolves a problem incase of Uber of getting a cab during difficult times then there is no better brand ambassador for the brand. Business will follow without you breaking your head about how can I scale my business now.
Hence the mission is extremely important and then later it’s important to wow the consumer at every touch point. It would start with the communication which needs to hit the right chords emotionally and functionally to drive consideration. Post which there has to be a fantastic distribution to make sure availability and a good incentive for the sales channel to promote the brand. Then there has to be a wow offer or hook point at the point of sale to make sure that once the consumer is in to shop he is directed straight to the product and feels that the product has excellent value for money. Take an example of IKEA, their mission statement could have been a promise for beautiful, affordable furniture, but instead, they decided their mission is to make everyday life better for their customers. It’s a partnership: IKEA finds deals all over the world and buys in bulk, then we choose the furniture and pick it up at a self-service warehouse.
Next is the packaging which helps breaks clutter on the shelf and just does not look attractive but also functionally differentiates itself. Then comes the product itself that has to wow them the most via its efficacy or performance to make sure repeat purchases. In certain cases like electronics or automobiles after sales also plays an equally important role to push the decision-making.
And today there is more to this, consumer engagement that happens not just during the purchase cycle but post that as well in the form of updates and upgrades on the current product and secondly sharing relevant insightful content which today, is considered to be the biggest thing in Marketing. And one needs to wow the consumer here as well by being able to share the right content at the right time and today in the right medium as well.
I know this is an ideal scenario and most marketers face resource crunch but we should in our capacity try to wow the consumer wherever we can to make it a memorable experience. The more pleasant experience, the better will be the brand pyramid. It takes time a lot of effort and patience to make this happen, and for this the learning or understanding of the consumer should never stop. Complacency is the brands worst enemy and will completely destroy all the goodwill created over time.
Don’t treat or see window shoppers are ticks who pile on, but see them as potential opportunity that they give you, to convince them to become your consumer. Window shoppers are not actively seeking to buy stuff or don’t have that on their mind as of now but given the right push it doesn’t take long for them to become shoppers. Some of the key reasons why an person does window shopping:
They aren’t thinking of buying what you sell immediately but after sometime
They’re researching information before making an informed decision
They’re considering multiple brands and are testing/checking each brand
They’re loyalists and want to just see what’s new in the brand
One of the keys things that can turn any window shopper to an real consumer is that if a brand can get them to take an action. If the shopper is actually forced to take an action and it could be as simple as taking a peek at the price tag or feeling the fabric or go online and research more about it, half the job’s done. And the focus on the call to action at every touch point is extremely crucial. And adding a call to action can be about different things at different touch points at POS it should shout buy now on the site it could be sign up the newsletter on a hoarding it could be visit the website, etc.
Brands should take one step at a time to make sure that overselling or brand dilution does not happen. Every touch point or communication needs to have specific aim and should build positive perception about the brand. To take a look at the example visit my earlier blog: http://wp.me/p6kIEO-29
Sampling in certain industries help to convert a lot of shoppers to real consumers. They key reason could be that the shopper isn’t sure of the benefits of using a particular brand and hence doesn’t find value for money. Or there are consumers who want the product to be accepted by earlier adopter and post looking at reviews they may buy the product. This brings in another critical aspect of marketing which is testimonial marketing which in today’s online world is one of the biggest promoters for the brand. The more positive comments the likelihood of the brand picked up is higher. Take an example of the hotel industry without looking at Tripadvisor ratings hotels aren’t being booked or hotels choices are changed basis their ratings.
If it’s the store a shopper can be converted to a consumer even by the most basic of human action of a greeting the consumer with a smile and wishing them. Still believe first impression is the last impression and if impressed while you enter the store then 20-25% of the selling is already done. Secondly treat every shopper as a potential consumer and not someone who will waste time. If this shopper doesn’t convert he/she will tell 10 people about the fantastic experience at the shop and other will come in and convert. Customer experience today has a lot of importance and not too many brands focus on this. Read another article on this at http://wp.me/p6kIEO-34
Finally if you know the shopper isn’t going to convert then the best thing to do is to counsel them about where he would get what he/she is looking for. This will build an extremely positive perception of the store/brand and is very likely to become your future consumer. Treating the shopper well and ensuring that he/she leaves a positive feeling will help the brand in the long run. But do remember to get contact details so that the brand could be in touch via various online mediums and keep the shopper engaged with the brand.
Some key aspects that the sales/customer facing teams need to have particular focus on
-Highlighting the USP of the brand/product which helps in a better conversion rate
-Ensure that there is uniform experience (not pitch) across different people in the team (not being robotic but hygiene factors to be standard)
-Always have a how can I help you attitude keeping in mind consumers demands/needs rather than what I offer to sell.
-Dynamic sales pitch, although everyone knows about it but seldom practice it.
-Most importantly teams to understand and share learning’s on why the product/brand isn’t selling
Considering these basics and ensuring that these points are implemented with proper tracking will definitely convert more shoppers into consumers for brands.
Before we get into how we can get to convert a shopper into a consumer or buyer lets understand the basic difference between a shopper and a consumer. Every consumer is a shopper just before he/she became a consumer. The true difference is that a consumer has picked up a particular brand/product since he/she is confident about the product/service performance over other competing product/service. The shopper represents why he/she enters a category where a consumer represents why he/she has bought a particular brand based on self-perception and attitude. But importantly the same person in everyday life is a consumer and a shopper and shifts back-and-forth between the two sides every day.
Let me start with my experience:
I was taking a leisurely walk in the park and it’s a perfect spring weather where leaves are flying and trees are swaying to the tune of the wind. And suddenly I got a whiff of pure coffee and when I looked around I found a small coffee-house just besides the park. I walked towards the coffee-house and the smell got stronger and better. The coffee-house has a small porch that has beautiful handcrafted wooden table and chairs for its customers and on the table it has a placard “Order a hot coffee and have a muffin of your choice free”. The moment I sat down a woman walks out with small coffee testers (one shot) of various coffee types and politely asks that “Sir would you want to try our different blends of coffee? And all of sudden I realized that from a leisurely walk I am now drinking hot coffee with muffins.
I think considering the situation the coffee shop owner is doing an amazing job at marketing his shop by understanding the consumers demand even before it creeps into his/her mind. Here he has actually turned a shopper into a consumer or a buyer. Now this seems all incidental and easy but I think is a planned strategy that perhaps even a non-well educated coffee shop owner executes well and gets his share of profits.
Imagine the things that could go wrong in the same situation as the owner as perfected his 4Ps to convert shoppers to consumers.
Visualize the coffee shop in a dilapidated condition with walls also not painted well and not outside sitting or porch. No one there to welcome the shopper or the woman who came in was an old woman who wasn’t dressed well. Or that the shop offered free muffins or the coffee tasting wasn’t there, now would you go and actually spend time there from your busy schedule……doubtful.
The shop owner perfected his art of making his shop desirable to perfection. He ensured that every touch point that the shopper interacts with is enticing him closer to make the deal. Let’s start right from the place, it was in such a place that it’s at the far end of the walking trail and the coffee smell came over to the walking trail. Secondly he has the shop made in a rustic way overlooking the park and importantly have a porch that it’s connected to nature with its wooden artistic chairs. Finally have a good-looking woman welcoming and the sampling with promotion that sealed the deal. Hence it’s not always about the big billboard or a TVC but if the basics are done, the right product sells.
Yes I know some may feel that there is no competition and hence no marketing needed but this is also a strategy I would call as Blue Ocean Strategy where the owner realized the potential of the area and setup shop there with competition he will have to start different activities to make sure his sales happens but still if the basics are wrong then marketing won’t help. Imagine having a coffee shop near the entrance of the park, would it really compete….am afraid not.
So from a shopper I became a consumer and now in fact am the brand ambassador for the coffee shop since I recommend all my friends and family that one should visit this park and at the end of the walking trail remember to visit that particular coffee shop.
Details of how to craft a plan to convert a shopper into a consumer in PART II of the blog.
Do you think this bottle of ketchup is strange, yes it is since its got no sauce in fact its got only the ingredients that is fresh tomatoes. The need of the hour is that consumers today want everything fresh, unfortunately for certain products fresh isn’t possible as of now. Like a ketchup which is bottled but like the pepper seeds which now are available in a bottle where you twist and freshly cut pepper pieces come out there will be some technology in future where the same pepper concept will be available across food and beverage items.
Imagine a bottle fill in with juicy oranges that can be converted into a juice in an instance instead of a tetra pack filled with preservatives. Now imagine drinking the freshly crushed juice as compared to a canned juice you can feel the difference without even drinking it. Since technology is advancing at such a rapid pace they are discovering ways and means to ensure how can the shelf life of a product be increased but is this what a consumer wants is the question to be asked.
Consumer demand is to give them fresh foods may be as fresh as plucked from the field directly to their house. A similar example of that is pepper in a pepper crusher where at least instead of having pepper in powdered form the consumer feels that at least one of the processes is done by him/her making the pepper slightly fresher.
I perceive that the consumers believe that fresh is healthy and hence the dire need of having food/juices/drinks fresh and they are willing to pay a hefty premium if this is done. A lot of nutrients are lost in the process of ensuring better shelf life and more importantly freshly derived food items have a higher water content and therefore offer natural hydration that is important for cellular health. In comparison to that preserved things would have more salt and ultimately unhealthy.
This means that current organizations who deal with F&B categories have a huge task at hand to make sure that the consumer demands are met. Am sure that they are currently thinking about how they can make this and pretty certain in the near future we will have a bottle of ketchup full of real tomatoes and not crushed.
The next set of claims these FMCG companies will come out will be 2 days since tomatoes are plucked and the race will be who get the fastest to the consumer.
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.
“We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.” — Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
The global digital market today is growing at astounding pace and this is mainly due to innovations in the telecommunications markets and improved infrastructure. This has enabled people today, to afford a smartphone with an high speed internet connection. 42% of the global population today is actively using the internet & 67% of those using the internet are on social media.
And especially in the developing markets where internet access is mainly via the mobile medium the use of social media is even more. Taking specific case of India, people here are adept to use a Facebook or a Whatsapp more than anything on the phone. There are phones launched in the name of Facebook and there are even schemes from the network service providers focusing only on how good their offering is w.r.t internet surfing or how their plans are the best when it comes to consuming social media.
Facebook today is a household name across the globe with more than 1.28 Bn active users across the world, and this number is growing by the day. Below are some facts about FB that gives some idea about how big is FB.
Things i feel that made Facebook the giant it is today
Word-of-Mouth at Scale
Today this medium which was intended to be a social sharing / meeting platform (staying connected) has becoming one of the hottest marketing tools after Google to exploit. Marketeers are are investing huge sum of monies on this platform as it can target as well as Google but at the same time it also has the option of using the biggest platform which Google lacks, via mobile numbers. Making this one of the most potent marketing tools which in its own way makes it unique online as well as offline medium.
Stories are planted on the brand pages based on the analytics about the TG in terms of behavior as to which kind of topics they like and accordingly stories are crafted. These organic stories are extremely effective at getting people and the things they care about.
The other option which I feel FB started but is a big let down is sponsored ads which are intrusive and spoil the entire FB experience. Its like giving the platter on a silver spoon but spoiling their own UEx. Donno when but it will have a backlash on the brand sooner or later. Its become a tool for marketeers who either are lazy creating stories or content that their TG likes or just want to extract the juice of this platform rather than nurturing this and milking at a steady pace.
Staying connected was the motto Zuckerberg started this venture with, which was an extremely nice thought but end of the day there is no free lunch and now FB is cashing in on its popularity by introducing various intrusive marketing tools. And somehow I feel this is all driven by the fact that Google makes millions of dollars and somehow FB now wants to follow their footsteps and start making their millions.
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.