The basic purpose of Marketing is get your message to a customer, with as little cost as possible, so motivating them to purchase your product. In fact, business guru Peter Drucker said "The purpose of Marketing is to make selling unnecessary."
Done well, the results have a long-lasting effect. For example, see if you can complete the following phrases:
- Avis. We try xxxxxxx.
- It's finger lickin' xxxxxxx.
- The Ultimate Driving xxxxxxx.
Your ability to fill in those blanks is just one result of good marketing.
Traditionally, marketing departments have leveraged media outlets such as newspaper, radio, and TV to "get the word out" and build brand recognition. But in the past 25 years, cable TV, the Internet, satellite radio, TiVo, and podcasting have dramatically changed how we get our information. This begs the question, what is the future of marketing?
I asked several PR and marketing professionals to give me their take on the future of marketing, and here are their perspectives:
Tac Anderson, a partner at Menloprk.com and an avid marketing blogger ( newcommbiz.com), says the future is "scary if you rely on reach and frequency, but exciting if you like personalization - if you realize that customers own your brand."
"The future is now," Anderson says. "Consumers are no longer content with media made for the masses. They want media made for them, individually." He says that if marketers aren't willing to give them a personalized message, they'll "create it themselves, then they'll share it with their friends and a few hundred thousand people - Have you checked out YouTube lately?"
Anderson says the best thing marketers can do is participate. Not like that dad who got kicked out of youth football or soccer games for yelling at the kids, but "participate like the team mom who always showed up with orange slices and threw the pizza party at the end of the year."
To do this, Anderson says marketers should first look at your customers as a community. "Then identify what you could do that would be the most supportive to your community - because they are your brand."
Patti Murphy, owner of Murphy Media Services (murphymediaservices.com), acknowledges the role of the "New Media," but she isn't ready to let go of tried and true just yet.
Murphy says "The demise of 'traditional' media has been predicted countless times over the past several decades. The invention of radio was going to make newspapers obsolete. Television was going to kill radio, and the internet was going to render all of them a thing of the past."
Then Murphy points out that advertisers are spending billions of dollars on newspaper, television, and radio advertising. "Public relations and marketing practitioners continue to use traditional media outlets as an effective way to disseminate news and announcements," she says.
Murphy also cites a Pew Internet and American Life study that found only eight percent of the population participated in "all things digital," while 50 percent of American adults "are only occasional users of modern information gadgetry."
Therefore, Murphy believes that the future of marketing will naturally retain traditional media as part of the mix.
Justin Foster, co-founder of Blueline Grassroots Marketing (bluelinegrassroots.com) and a perennial blogger (agencyunderground.com), is a believer that the customer's perspective must drive the future of marketing.
He believes that in this age of information overload, consumers will want to be in control of what they absorb, pointing to the ubiquitous use of iPods and TiVo.
From Foster's position, customers will say "I don't need a well-crafted marketing message; I need information, and I have a choice. I'm a real person, not a demographic."
To accommodate this, Foster believes marketing will need to quicken its communications with consumers, because surveys are increasingly viewed by the customer as a waste of time. "Customers want to be heard, since they are the actual users of the product. But they want more direct communication."
Along those lines, Foster notes that websites must be more user-friendly. Consumers think "why is it so hard to find a contact number? At least give me a place to post my concerns or questions. What about product reviews? User-groups? It would be great to meet other users so we can talk about your product."
Bottom line, I liked what all three of these PR/Marketing pros had to say, especially Patti Murphy's summarization: "Blogging, viral marketing, and other technology-based mediums are surely a wave of the future. But, traditional media – TV, radio, newspapers – should not be counted out of the game."
The trick, it seems, will be identifying and coalescing the community of people who use your products.