What are the major trends and forces changing the marketing landscape in an age of relationships?
The world of marketing has undergone a significant transformation in less than a decade. It is being shaped and altered by several trends and forces. While it has already changed a lot, dramatic changes still happen every day in marketing. One of the leading forces that have brought about the most significant change in the way brands learned about and related to individual customers is digital technology. Nothing else has changed marketing to this extent. Digital technology took marketing to the next level. Everything is happening at a faster pace, from striking new relationships to cementing existing ones. Advancements in the world of digital technology and social media have taken the marketing world by storm.
Marketers can now target individual customers more selectively and engage them deeply with the help of online, social media, and mobile marketing. However, the key thing that the marketers must note is to cleverly blend traditional methods with the latest digital approaches to create a smoothly integrated marketing strategy and mix. Take Starbucks for example or Nike. Starbucks has cleverly blended traditional methods with modern digital approaches to growing its marketing impact. Nike is now heavily relying on digital channels and using them in conjunction with its existing traditional approaches to growing its impact and customer base. As the use of smartphones has grown common across the world and the number of smartphone users has increased, companies are using apps for sales, marketing, and customer engagement. Nike is not using social media and mobile advertising only to promote its brand and products but it uses various apps to strengthen its relationship with the customers.
The Great Recession had a remarkable impact on the marketing and business world. Consumers reset their priorities to bring consumption in line with their incomes. The US economy strengthened post-recession. However, consumers have played cautiously and shown less interest in mindless consumption. The economic environment of the US and the world keeps changing and organizations need to balance their value proposition with the current times’ and also focus on long-term equity.
Marketing is now no more limited to mainstream businesses but in recent years, not-for-profit organizations have also shown a keen interest in marketing. Colleges, hospitals, foundations and even churches have now made marketing a central part of their strategy. In an increasingly smaller and more connected world, marketers are connected globally with their partners, customers and competitors.
As the world has grown more connected, the call for ethical and socially responsible marketing has also grown stronger. Marketers are reexamining their responsibilities in terms of social, environmental, and ethical needs. They know that the ethical, social, and environmental impact of their marketing efforts matters more now than ever.
All the latest developments happening in the world of marketing can be assessed under a single concept: engaging customers and creating and capturing customer value. There are several new opportunities for marketers to benefit from and form value-laden relationships with their customers, marketing partners, and society as a whole.
Artificial intelligence has also emerged as a major force in the world of marketing. It has changed a lot of things in the world of marketing. While data and analytics have become more critical than ever for marketers, artificial intelligence has improved the speed at which things happened in marketing. It has also added a new chapter in customer relationships. Businesses are using chatbots to make customer service more accessible for customers. AI is solving several everyday challenges for marketers. Marketers will however need to find a balance between customer value, customer experience, and business growth.
Other sources: Principles of Marketing. (Kotler & Armstrong).