In marketing, it is safe to say the fundamentals are likely to always be the same. Product, place, price and promotion will always be determining factors in a marketing plan and will always need to be considered to ensure marketing success. The fact of the matter is that businesses are operating in a landscape where consumers’ interests are changing at the speed of technology. And keeping up is the game plan, says Pertunia Tsotetsi.
The questions remains: should marketers always only be keeping up with the Jones’ or should they instead be working to be the ones setting the pace for trends? In today’s day and age, it matters not that the fundamentals are there, but how these are triggered into being more than just the basics. In the 21st century, smart marketers know that they need to get ahead of the trends and anticipate the next big things, or else be devoured by their competitors.
As consumer generated media has taken over virtually all facets of life the traditional way of marketing is becoming obsolete and brands constantly need to stay ahead of the times by not only planning ahead, but actively listening to and taking action on the things that are topical in society.
Does this mean that we should all start going with the flow, taking on every new fad that goes viral for the sake of winning a customer over? Not in the least. Yes, due to the fast paced world we live in, being reactive keeps a brand top of mind but the actions of the brand are futile if their vision is based on what is fleeting instead of what is steadfast.
A detailed marketing plan is still vital to the business. Planning will still be important to determine how people are going to consume information in the next five to ten years. It helps us to forecast the growth of the brand, the need for its products and to put strategies in place should business not be booming – for whichever reason. There is simply no place for assumption and applying stereotypes to the communications shared.
How do we strike a balance between living for tomorrow and living in the now? The key word is balance. The best marketers will use their marketing approach as reference, but will balance these out with a focus on constantly gaining more consumer insights, adapting at a faster pace with shorter lead times, and always always present in real-time. Instead of only focusing on the plans for the next month or next quarter the focal point for marketing should even be the next hour.
In the current space that marketers are operating, the key to driving successful engagement lies in listening to and understanding the needs of the customer. Marketers forget that so-called ‘audiences and target markets’ are people just like me and you. The old way of marketing using LSMs and demographics is proving futile. Instead, the foundation of effective marketing is understanding people, their interests and what moves them, and this is done through consistent research and analysis.
As Forbes magazine puts it; marketing is in the process of shifting from globalisation to personalisation. Even though the world is almost operating as a global village, marketing is becoming more localised and even more individualised with consumers now raising their own voices and resisting homogenisation.
Six morals of the story:
- Work smarter and harder in your marketing efforts
- Let the fundamentals guide you but don’t make it the only focal areas
- Stay ahead of the trends – anticipate what you need to focus on and participate in
- Let your long term marketing plan direct your course of action and let short term activations fall into place from there
- See your consumers as ‘you and me’ and listen and react to their needs – they will make these needs known
- Develop ways in which you can localise your marketing activities and avoid having a ‘copy and paste’ approach for all customers.
At the end of the day, marketing doesn’t need to be a complicated affair. All it comes down to is you being open to listening more and adapting quicker to the things going on around the business. And do remember – keep it simple.
Pertunia Tsotetsi is marketing manager of The Fish & Chip Co. Follow on Twitter @.