THE FUTURE OF MARKETING: EVOLVE OR DIE :ADDRESSED DELIVERED AT THE 2015 CIMG NATIONAL MARKETING PERFORMANCE AWARD, SEPTEMBER 19, 2015 AT THE BANQUET HALL, STATE HOUSE
Members of the CIMG Governing Council
Invited Individuals and Institutions
Members of the Press and most of all our proud award winners
Ladies and Gentlemen
First and foremost, allow to me to express my profound gratitude to the Governing Council of the CIMG for inviting me to be the Special Guest of Honour for this Awards and Dinner Dance. I am very grateful for the opportunity to share my views on the theme for this occasion, “The Future of Marketing: Evolve or die”. This theme is timely and very relevant in today’s world, a world that is increasingly being transformed by changing trends in marketing technologies. And there is no better forum to address this topic than here.
Even though it is difficult to predict what the future holds, one can say with a fair degree of certainty that marketing as we know it has changed over the years. In his book “Defining Marketing for the Twenty-First Century” Philip Kotler explains how marketing has evolved from being a production and product based concept in the early 1900’s, to being selling focused in the 1920’s, and how it has changed from selling products to embracing the marketing concept of providing customer needs. In a follow up book titled “Marketing 3.0:From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit” published in 2010, he outlines how marketing has changed from marketing 1:0 where marketing was about selling products to a target market, what he termed the product-centric era, to marketing 2:0 where the product value is defined by the consumer and the need for marketers to identify unfulfilled needs and wants of the consumer, what he calls the customer-centric era, to marketing 3:0 where consumers request more participation in value creation, what he terms the human-centric era.
In December 1999, Sergio Zyman, former marketing director of Coca Cola and one of the most famous marketing gadfly in the world published a book titled “The End of Marketing As We Know it”. In this book he argues that the future of marketing is coming but we should not wait for it. Rather, we have to create the future and we should keep on thinking about our next destination. He concludes by saying that traditional marketing is dead and there is the need for marketers to reinvent themselves.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we know over the years, the focus of marketing has shifted from Outbound Marketing (or traditional marketing) to Inbound Marketing. And businesses have come to recognize the overwhelming advantages of pulling customers toward their product, rather than pushing their products toward their customers.
Inbound Marketing, because of its use of digital technologies has changed the field of marketing in ways unprecedented in the history of the profession. The question some of you may be asking is, how did we arrive at such a fascinating point in the history of the profession.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, technology has now become part of our life and in many ways, it is our life. We have now entered the brave new world of technology marketing. Technology has introduced new tools that make communication with potential customers more efficient and effective.
Technology marketing allows marketers to find more relevant ways to reach consumers at affordable costs.
Digital marketing has emerged to transform the field of marketing. The digital age has revolutionized marketing, increasing its complexity as well as creating the opportunity to dramatically improve customer experiences. And brands are starting to realize the insights and power that technology can bring to their marketing initiatives. In order to remain competitive, it is now critical to use digital insights to direct and influence customer interactions.
Marketing analytics is being used by today’s marketers to evaluate the success of their marketing initiatives, by measuring performance using important business metrics, such as ROI, marketing attribution and overall marketing effectiveness. Data is gathered from across all marketing channels and consolidated into a common marketing view. Analytical results is then extracted to provide invaluable data to drive marketing plans.
Today, we have the ability through google and marketing analytics to test and evaluate the success of our marketing campaign. Without the use of analytics, one will have limited knowledge on what and what doesn’t work.
Social media gives marketers a voice and a way to communicate with peers, customers and potential consumers. Social media is being used as a communication tool to create relationships with people who might not otherwise know about our products or services or what our companies represent.
With the explosion of social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, snapchart, YouTube, Pinterest, and more, consumers can access direct feedback about products. Instead of looking at companies, as they did in the past, consumers are looking at fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions. For these reasons, a new field of influencer marketing is predicted to be the next big thing in advertising.
Success stories are abundant when it comes to using social media from headhunters that people use to find jobs on the internet, to new businesses that want to introduce new products as well as already established Fortune 500 companies that want to strengthen their brand.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, an enormous amount of data that wasn’t unavailable just a few years ago is now easily accessible. We have entered the era of big data and is revolutionizing marketing. Today, 65 per cent of marketing industry leaders have turned to tangible measurement and data to take marketing decisions that are evidence based.
The collection of vast amounts of data is helping marketers to understand consumer behavior on an entirely different level. With that information, they are able to assess and identify key findings on their audience and target them better. As a result, they can make more informed decisions on future marketing campaigns, allowing them to be more effective marketers.
The availability of big data has given rise to personalization in marketing by making it possible to reach different consumers with different creative messages, rather than having to have a single TV advert that everyone sees. Marketing messages can now be tailored based on demographics, interests, location, purchase history, and others.
Mobile marketing is massive and forecast to exceed desktop Internet access in many developing countries. Smartphone is the number one possession people have and there are more mobile devices than people on the planet. And 43 percent of those mobile phones are smartphones, with GPS, G4, and Wi-Fi capabilities. It is estimated that 91% of mobile phone owners have their device in arms’ reach 24/7.
Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to review products and then make purchases. Experts say mobile phones have become our second brain. Without it, most people cannot function. What this means, though, is that we need to be prepared to handle our customers at all times.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is true that technology marketing has created disruption in some industries such as music, magazines, books, videos, movies, photos, retailing, news among others. These disruptions however, have led to a re-invention and innovation and the emergence of new business models that have transformed the customer experience. The dominant players in such industries have all changed and new ones with new business models have emerged. Take file sharing on Napster, then purchasing tracks from online stores such as iTunes and Amazon. And subscribing to streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as we are well aware, marketing is about the consumer. We know from ongoing marketing research that most branded content are coming from consumers. Marketing expects agree that one of the biggest changes to impact the future of marketing is the move to customer centricity. With just a click of a button consumers can gain meaningful insights about companies and their products. They can compare products, find lower prices, read reviews and even communicate with other users about product quality and buyer satisfaction. The consumers journey is now self directed and marketers need to put in place strategies to meet the needs of empowered consumers.
Consumers today are less responsive to traditional media and are embracing new digital technologies that empower them with more control over how and when they are marketed to. And we are beginning to see a future where consumers control what they watch and when they watch it. Consumer-centric marketing means putting the consumer first. Thus, we need to develop new channels to reach out to consumers. To achieve marketing success today, one has to focus on the consumer instead of campaigns.
The question one may ask is, how should marketers respond to all these changing trends in marketing and how does the future looks like. Will the profession end as Zyman predicts. What should be our call to action.
Marketers have to be where the customers are. Zyman talks about fishing where the fish are. Technology has given way to the rise of the conscious consumer. Marketers have to listen to what customers are saying and find ways to respond to their reviews on products and services.
People are still attracted to brand. Thus, marketers need to ensure brand integrity. Creating a product and pushing it upon customers no longer works.
Even though people have written about the death of outbound marketing, fact is, there will always be differentiated customers; we know there still exist old-fashioned consumers. Thus, marketers should not think in terms of discarding traditional and embracing digital. Instead, they should think about how to get both to work together in an integrated and consistent way. Even popular Inbound Marketing champs HubSpot uses a mixture of both Inbound and Outbound Marketing. This shows a convergence of online and offline shopping. For examples, items purchased on ebay or Amazon have to be delivered in the offline world.
Technology marketing has become a necessary evil. The internet, social media and others will continue to remain a driving force for marketers in the coming years. As marketers, we need to understand digital marketing techniques such as email marketing, Pay per click marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and viral marketing.
We need to understand that marketing has shifted to mobile applications. As marketers, we need to understand the various mobile marketing techniques. We need to have a mobile optimized website, we need to understand the use of QR codes, square codes you see on posters, newspapers and bill boards, the small black and white design you scan that using an app on your smartphone and it takes you to a website; you need to understand analytics for mobile (could be google adwords or facebook marketing tools); you need to understand SMS (simple text messages) and MMS (multimedia messages) marketing; and the role of mobile applications in marketing. Marketers need to understand the opportunities of reaching their audiences via mobile and how to make their mobile sites and presences visible and accessible.
Today, we live in a world that wants answers quickly. Our world today demands speed, convenience, and competitiveness in order to survive in the ever changing marketing space. This calls for a high sense of professionalism, and marketers must be abreast with modern current transformational factors driven by technology.
It has been said that the quickest route to failure is not to try anything. You have no choice but to adapt to this new age of marketing or you risk becoming obsolete.
Times are changing and as such we need to fine-tune our strategies as marketing professionals. The key to your success is the ability to adapt to new marketing trends. You should be able to predict the future of the profession before it gets here. And the future of marketing will be shaped by technology. Thus, we should strive to reach digital maturity.
As we strategize to reinvent the way we undertake marketing, we should remember that there is significant market at what the late CK Prahalad calls “the bottom of the pyramid”. This is over 4-5 billion poor who are unserved or underserved by the large organized private sector. This translates into 60% of the world’s population. This market is large and potentially lucrative, markets in retailing, fast moving consumer goods, microfinance, telecommunications, agriculture, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and others. 4-5 billion poor can be the engine of the next round of global trade and prosperity. And we need an innovative approach to address their needs.
I would like to use this platform to call on all marketing professionals to lend themselves to positive learnings on current trends and also encourage CIMG to structure their training programmes and course contents to reflect these trends in order to afford students and members the opportunity to acquire these skills as modern tools for success in the marketing field.
Finally, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I take this opportunity to congratulate award winners. Your hard work and effort has been recognised, continue in this pathway and serve as role models. I also want to encourage us all to leave no stone unturned in our bid to be successful in our respective fields of endeavour.
I wish you a pleasant evening.
Nana Dr. Osei Darkwa III
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