Imagine that you could continue to market successfully the same way for ten years. Do you like that thought? Well delete that daydream because it just isn’t so. Welcome to marketing 2008. It’s more threatening, more promising and more exciting. Buckle your seatbelt, take your motion sickness pill and be prepared to be amazing. Because that is what you need to compete today.
Still the Same
Of course some things remained the same. Let’s establish our foundation before we venture into the swirl of the Time Tunnel.
The fundamentals are the same. That’s what makes them fundamentals. Marketing is still closely intertwined with selling and the purpose of marketing is to help you sell more. Marketing and selling are both strategies to help you make a profit. In fact marketing was and is a fundamental responsibility running through every function of your business.
“Marketing is so basic that it cannot be considered a separate function. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the client’s point of view.” Peter Drucker
Strange that even though management guru, Peter Drucker, offered that advice more than a decade ago – many organizations ignored his wisdom. That’s why we still see marketing departments and sales departments with little cohesion and cooperation. Why? Perhaps too many marketers see themselves as artists or statisticians while they see sales representatives as slimy. And the sales department labels marketing as a bunch of flakes who don’t know about the real world.
The purpose of marketing is to do one or more of the following three things:
1. Grab attention
2. Demonstrate value
3. Build relationships
The world is still round – or is it now flat? How is the “How” of those fundamentals changing?
Grab Attention Grabbing attention has always been a prime concern for marketers. Your message needed to defeat the noise of all the other marketers.
In 1998, if you had a huge marketing budget, the place to be was TV and the grand dame was the Super Bowl game at $1.3M for a 30 second spot. Of course ad production costs were extra. The top three ads that year were for Tabasco, Pontiac and Doritos. Do you wonder how many Doritos they needed to sell to pay for that ad? Oh yeah, Denver triumphed over Green Bay.
The Super Bowl is still the place for marketers with multimillion dollar budgets costing $2.6M for 30 seconds in 2007. But the holy grail of marketing today might more likely be to appear number one on a Google search. You don’t need millions to triumph.
Demonstrate Value Value was once demonstrated with celebrity endorsements, quality awards and longevity in the business.
Today client testimonials carry more weight than celebrities. Quality awards and certifications are so common that they have become ho-hum. Depending on your industry, a long time in business could be three years. We’re more interested in the results that you achieved for your recent clients. If you want to demonstrate value be sure to offer a free trial or money back guarantee – without the weasel word clauses.
Build Relationships Relationship building is more important today. Prove to your clients why they should buy from you – every time. Brand loyalty was once given blindly to sellers. Loyalty didn’t die. It shifted. Loyalty is now bestowed more on our friends and family which is why client testimonials become more convincing. And why networking is so much more powerful.
Changes and Trends
Some trends have been going on for longer than the past decade – but they are easier to notice now. We realize that both selling and marketing are more science than art. Sales representatives are no longer allowed to wing it. Of course both sales and marketing staff were being well trained by successful companies before 1998. But the integration of these activities is more evident in today’s training and daily activity. Today you are also more likely to see the large corporations training their sales reps with marketing skills and integrating marketing folks into the front lines. To be competitive small and medium business must convert all staff into marketers. And it will take more than a memo!
Technology in the form of computers, software and mobile devices has had a huge impact on how we market. The tsunami of influence is the Internet which has presented marketers with new challenges and incredible opportunities.
The proliferation of cell phones and Blackberries mean that clients expect to reach you anywhere and any time. In order to compete it seems that you need to be more available and respond faster than your competition. Be careful because that mentality can lead to the worship of instant satisfaction which results in more mistakes, distracted professionals and grumpy people. Too many are adapting their process to suit the tool – instead of using tools to improve the process. Warning Will Robinson!