How Marketing is Reborn in the Digital Age – Forbes | Region & Cash

In 1954, legendary management guru Peter Drucker declared that marketing is one of only two fundamental functions of an organization, along with innovation, since the purpose of a company is to attract a customer. After that, marketing had to travel a long, hard and marginal road for more than half a century.

Most business owners didn’t accept that creating customers was the purpose of a business. They saw marketing as a cost center with hard-to-justify costs and hard-to-measure intangible benefits. Marketing was seen as an expense, not an investment. Marketing was seen as a means of selling with interrupting, repetitive and annoying ads trying to coerce customers into submission. The results were incremental at best. As a result, chief marketing officers have had the shortest tenure in the C-suite.

But now there is good news. Although the initial impact of digital technology on marketing was simply to increase the amount of disruptive and annoying advertising, Jeff Rosenblum describes in his new book Exponentially: Transform your brand by empowering it, not disrupting it (McGraw Hill, January 2022) explains why marketing is experiencing a rebirth of sorts, helping to create exponential benefits, not just incremental increases in sales.

Why the shift in marketing is now underway

“Advertising,” says Rosenblum, “is shifting from technology-driven messages that disrupt the consumer journey to data — connected content that guides people through the consumer journey.”

“Some brands,” Rosenblum writes, “dominate the competition, while others—including many well-known names—go bust. The fundamental difference between these two groups is the extent to which they empower their customers.”

Six steps are particularly important to becoming an exponential brand.

1. Establish a clear, customer-centric purpose for the business itself

Marketing’s problems turned out to have less to do with marketing itself and more to do with the company and how the C-suite was using marketing. The changes now taking place are closely related to a move away from seeing the company’s purpose as maximizing shareholder value and towards creating shared value for customers. With the customer first, marketing can then play its proper role in creating empowering content and meaningful experiences.

2. Establish the right behavior and culture first

“Companies,” says Rosenblum, “are beginning to see that they are completely exposed in a naked world. Embracing transparency isn’t as easy as getting rid of bad behavior.” Nor is it about signaling virtue when it comes to the latest hot topic. “It’s about a fundamental change in corporate behavior. Advertising continues to play an important role. But companies must first focus on purpose, behavior and culture before focusing on external messages. Brands that know this and act accordingly are the ones that achieve exponential growth.

3. Create content that guides people through the consumer journey.

It’s about removing friction, understanding customers’ emotional and functional needs at every step, and guiding customers toward their goals. The brands that use this approach to improve the lives of their customers are then “able to build an army of evangelists who spread their brand messages more effectively than traditional advertising.”

4. Show how the company improves customers’ lives

The new way of advertising, says Rosenblum, “doesn’t have to be a Patagonia-inspired non-profit initiative promising to save the world. While these efforts are great, most people don’t wake up in the morning expecting brands to hug the trees and save the manatees. They just want their own lives to be improved, one small step at a time.”

It can be about making life funnier and easier, more convenient, cheaper or more meaningful. “The common thread between all of these exponential brands,” says Rosenblum, “is that they have found an authentic and valuable place in their customers’ lives.

5. Refocus messaging for immersive content

“Advertising is not dead,” explains Rosenblum. “This false eulogy has been written before. It just needs to be redefined to be about immersive content and experiences, not just disruptive messages. Interrupting ads might be enough to get people into the sales funnel, but not through the sales funnel. This is why empowering content is so crucial.

6. Enable co-creation of value for customers

The revolution “is not simply about giving consumers access to information. It’s about shifting the flow of information from asynchronous to synchronous. For the past century, communication has been asynchronous—one-way. Brands wrote stories and audiences listened.”

Business communication is becoming increasingly interactive, like any healthy relationship. “Consumers tell brands what they want, either explicitly through text, voice, or implicitly through their behavior. Exponential brands are responding with optimized products, content and experiences.”

And also read:

Why the problem of key management is often at the top

Five top management guides to customer centricity

Author: Amine

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