21st Century Marketing
What is 21st-century marketing? You can tell me in the comment section below your thoughts. I have been giving that question a ton of thought over the past year. I found myself confused more often than not as I witnessed various marketing campaigns. The question I raised is one I am sorting through. Are companies using 21st marketing techniques as a mere smokescreen for the 20th-century methods that are still being employed?
Some may associate a shift in marketing with the adoption of social media platforms. There were some parallels early on but more was needed than just opening a Twitter or Facebook account. An obvious shift in communication was taking place. Even before platforms such as Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006) were launched, people were beginning to change how they communicated.
For the industry I was in at the time, I was the early adopter of tools such as AOL and MSN messaging as well as email programs. While my competition was stuck in the fax machine world and purchasing floral products only through brokers at various ports of entry here in the U.S., I was able to develop a program that was current with our customers changing behavior.
Or was it really a changing behavior? Hmmm…this is it where it becomes ponderous. Our client base was tired of the bombardment of faxes that were then coupled with a sales call that asked them if they got the fax specials. A stronger connection was needed. Price and product was only part of the needs of the customer. With the use of new technology, I was able to communicate directly with farms across the world. This enabled my sales team to then communicate with our client base with a much wider array of options. Email marketing took over faxing with the content being hyper-relevant to the demographic needs of each of our clients.
So in my opinion and experience, the change of behavior had to do with the shift in what tools customers wanted to be communicated with. However, the core behavioral needs had not changed at that time and have not changed now. So where is the disconnect?
The disconnect is when someone feels that the new shiny tool they see in the store is going to significantly change the outcome of a project when the tool they already had will produce the exact same thing. So is there a difference between 21st, 20th or even 19th-century marketing? That is a question every marketer needs to face. We study history in school to embrace and learn about where we have come from and where we are today. All marketers need to do the same. Ask yourself what each of our customers really needs and wants. What is the answer? How is your marketing and sales team trained to achieve and meet the needs of our customers? Is it really just the final product they purchase or apartment they rent?
Your dialog is welcome in the comment section below.
Written by Jonathan Saar