What happens when marketing becomes a part of, or eclipses, the product? In a world were products and brands become more and more similar, will products end up as commodities, as invitations in to differentiating services and added value offered through the marketing relationship? And how will this affect marketing?
About a month ago I was asked to supply an article for the Ukrainian «Business» magazine. In a short essay I had to reflect on the obscure topics of the Future of Marketing. Would there be brands in 2031? What instruments CMO’s would have at that time? And aren’t we all supposed to be dead in December 2012 how different will the consumer be? This is when I realized that I haven’t written anything like this for a while. The future that I was predicting in Top Ten Trends in Marketing Innovation was about to happen now. However, 2031 was still a longer shot, so I gathered that I can let my imagination fly free.
If there ever was a reason for me to write about the future of marketing, it was in 2009. The theme though is as alive today as it was then. Some argue little has changed, others state the new era has already arrived. And there is Nilofer Merchant (@Nilofer) who suggests Marketing is Dead and then comes up with 5 ways to replace it. All in itself these five ways are things I can relate to, but they don’t make it as replacements for Marketing, in my humble opinion.
In September 2009 I left Russia for Belgium, to work for Futurelab. By that time I had worked internationally for 5 years, but the prospective of seeing “the West” from inside was thrilling. I had little illusions, though: when you see audit results * of a huge multinational across the globe, you stop feeling so bad about your own country’s opaque methods of dealing with advertising money. However even those little illusions I had, were enough to give me a surprise.
Kodak is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, turning to renting out space to tenants on its manufacturing campus, and shopping its 1000+ digital patents (selling intellectual property to stay in business is kind of like giving away your mind in order to stay sane).
In September I was invited by my friends from Evensysin Romania to talk about the ways FMCG brands could improve the performance of their sales promotions. When putting together my presentation (see below) I was heavily influenced by two factors. First, I had just published my new book, So You Want To Be Customer Centric? and my mind was still full of all the material I didn't get to use. Secondly, I've never really been a fan of the "buy more, buy cheaper movement", so I didn't really feel like talking about the ways to build a better sales promotion mousetrap.
Now, I won’t spend time arguing their arguments. I can see how they (and others alike) came to their conclusion. I’m just not so much of a guy that throws good stuff away. I like to try and see if I can fit what I think and see into the current framework. So here’s my perspective on the 4 P’s:
Did you know that socially engaged consumers spend more on brands than those people who don’t interact? That’s according to a new Bain & Company report, which studied social media and its role in marketing.