“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say or what we think they should want” – Eric Ries
Marketing in the 21st century is more than sitting around like the characters from Emmy award winning Mad Men smoking, drinking and coming up with catchy taglines; it is an integrated science that can be the difference between the success and failure of business.
Over the past fifty years, the consumer has changed considerably with significant transformations in the steps of the customer journey making it essential for marketers to sharpen their digital pencil and reinvent their skill set to remain in the game.
Driven by ecommerce, “one of the most distinctive changes in markets over time has been the expansion of goods and services available to consumers”.1
According to IBISWorld industry data, the online shopping market is seeing revenues of 18 billion annually, with the market expected to grow at 9.4% annually for the next five years.2
Digital technology is arguably the biggest change to the marketing world, with 24/7 customer engagement, social media and access to worldwide markets at a click of a button, it has never been easier to reach customers.
Traditional media outlets are bleeding their advertising revenue; some even being sent into voluntary administration such as Network Ten. This changing of the guard from traditional to digital mediums requires new skills, and a new breed of marketers are agile, nimble and pre-emptive to opportunity.
With the increasing level of customisation and user-lead design and automation, marketers must respect the needs, wants and demands of the consumers – or risk not doing so at their peril!
What makes the marketing wheels spin today?
That most important element in today’s marketing mix is the WIFM factor. The ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIFM) is now more prevalent than ever, with consumers being bombarded by EDM’s, offers, re-marketing ads and social media influencers banging on about a product or service, with the flow on effect being consumers becoming desensitised to traditional marketing messages.
Today’s consumer signs up to electronic newsletters almost daily to receive an offer or unlock some information they want. Consumers are so perceptive to marketing techniques that when they receive personalised – yet standardised – EDM’s from a server, they simply unsubscribe or block the emails once they have what they want.
Consumers are time poor, tech savvy and disloyal to ‘bricks and mortar’ retail stores with poor customer service. Customers want what they want, when they want it, and they don’t care how they get it.
This mentality has led to the rise of credit payment facilities such as AfterPay, Credit Line, GE and ZipPay who offer the aspirational market access to products, services and experiences they may not have been able to afford previously. These are all considerations that marketers must embrace in the digital space if they want to succeed.
The companies that are winning in the race for the consumer and the ones that are getting the consumer involved in the process, “they don’t just build things right, they build things right for their customers”.3
So how can a marketer succeed in an evolving job market?
There is a misconception that anyone can ‘do’ marketing – this is simply folly. Anyone can write website content but do they understand that it needs to be sales driven, SEO-optimized, laden with keywords and repurposed across a range of platforms while remaining consistent with the brand and style or consumers won’t see it or care what it says?
Good marketers consider market trends, subscribe to innovation magazines, understand the micro and macro environmental factors in and around business and, most importantly of all, make money for their clients.
Marketing is often thought to be expensive, however, if done right, it is the thing that creates value, automates functions, builds brands and helps businesses to thrive.
Today’s modern marketer should ensure that the customer is not only simply engaged with, but catered for as products, services, platforms or experiences should be designed ‘for the consumer’ not for the creator. Companies go broke when they fill their products with features that the market simply doesn’t want, doesn’t care about and won’t pay for.
“In a crowded marketplace fitting in a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible” – Seth Godin
2 IBISWorld Industry Report X0004 Online Shopping Industry in Australia, November 2016.