Written by Jim Babb
Rapid digital technological change has brought its power to bear on today’s businesses, causing new pains and disrupting businesses of every size across every industry. This trend has been well-documented by the World Economic Forum and Marc Andreessen. The technological evolution’s biggest impact is on the media, telcom, financial services and retail industries. Beyond the well-publicized fall of companies like Blockbuster and JCPenney, there are thousands of mid-level retail brands that fade into obscurity without anyone noticing. As a result, there is a new normal in how organizations build and maintain relationships with their customers — and only those prepared to make the shift will thrive.
The fundamentals of business have not changed:
What has changed is not what businesses must do, but how they must do it. Technology makes business easier to conduct, but also more difficult to manage. For example, shoppable Instagram posts can increase sales, but this also requires understanding how to build, test and learn yet another new platform behavior and content trends that change at the speed of light. This in itself may not challenge traditional marketing practices, but when you consider the speed and depth with which change is happening, traditional practices start to break down. Every time you implement a new marketing tool, you will already be one step behind whatever is next.
Modern marketing takes traditional marketing’s principles and frameworks and reshapes the process so we can more quickly adapt to change. It’s an approach that must be user-centered, iterative and built for continuous learning.
Yesterday, marketing meant asking “who, what, when, where and why” for any given business need, then creating a series of campaigns that provided answers. While this allowed marketers to scale a focused message across broad-reaching platforms like television, print and radio, it also inevitably oversimplified differences in customer mindsets.
Today, marketers must answer the same questions, but they must do it:
Modern marketing is about designing systems that allow you and your team to consistently answer these questions in better, more creative ways.
“We noticed that the average length between lipstick purchases is X. It’s likely because of Y customer insight. There is an opportunity to send an automated email that says WHAT.”
“We have a new lipstick coming out and it does X really well. Our Y customer is in need of this solution, so there is an opportunity to reach out to them WHERE.”
“Our team and lipstick brand stands for X and we know our Y customer does too, but WHEN is the opportunity to share our POV?”