Marketing Reinvented: People, Purpose & Experience
I think we all know by now that marketing is going through monumental change. Whether it be the organisational structures we sit in, the technology we use or the media we create, buy or sell into; all are being significantly affected by the winds of change. But what is depressing to me is that when you look at marketing strategies and even the teachings of leading business schools and marketing associations the same old teaching’s and frameworks are being rolled out. These may well have sufficed 5 years ago but today if you hang your hat on these you will be out of a job pretty soon. That’s why I wanted to share an approach I believe will be adaptable for any marketer for years to come. It focuses on 4 elements. Replace the 4 Ps with the SAVE framework and concentrate on People, Purpose and Experience.
Replace the 4 Ps with S.A.V.E
Last year a study was published in the Harvard Business Review which I do not think has got enough attention. It was a research study of over 500 B2B marketers across multiple countries and industries and suggests replacing the traditional 4 Ps model with a new approach focused on Solution, Access, Value and Education.
It’s authors, Richard Ettenson of Thunderbird School of Global Management, Eduardo Conrado of Motorola and Jonathan Knowles of Type 2 Consulting bring the academic, practitioner and consultant approach together to recommend
1. Focusing on Solution instead of Product: Many organizations are moving their business model from product-oriented to service and solution-oriented. Customers don’t care about the product, all they care about is solving their problems. What is the job you get done?
2. Focusing on Access instead of Place: Many organizations are moving their business model from ownership to ‘access to’. Nowadays, many businesses operate around always-on, high-speed Internet access. Place is irrelevant, it’s all about access. What do you give a customer at this precise moment that they want or need and what channel are you using to for them to get it?
3. Focusing on Value instead of Price: Customers have concerns about price, but only after their concerns about value. What is the value you create? When designing new business models your value proposition is key.
4. Focus on Education instead of Promotion: With up t0 70% of the purchase journey today often completed without interacting directly with a salesperson, providing current and potential customers with information relevant to their interests to create a sense of familiarity and trust long before a purchase is even made is crucial.
In addition to SAVE however there are three more elements I believe you need to take you on a path to success.
People is the only P that survives from the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s 7Ps for me. However where they talk about anyone interacting with the customer I would say that any people related to the organisation need to be included in the marketing strategy. If you are working for or with any decent company it will have passionate employees, customers, ambassadors, partners, suppliers. Put them front and centre of both you marketing strategy and execution. It’s no longer a choice between B2B or B2C approaches. We are living in a P2P world. People create an emotional connection that will differentiate you from you competitor. Think beyond the big name brand ambassador and look for the people who truly have passion for your product, service or company.
Many marketers have paid lip service to the idea of CSR, sustainability, diversity and philanthropy over the years but my prediction is this that purpose will become an ever increasing part of marketing. As the world’s products and services become ever more commoditised and the search for differentiation becomes an even bigger challenge for marketers the hunt for enhanced perceived value will continue at pace. It has already been noted by the likes of the Reputation Institute’s Reptrack framework that citizenship is an integral part of the formation of any brands reputation and this will only increase over the years. Whatever citizenship or purpose means for you as an organisation be it sustainability, diversity, philanthropy or something else an approach where purpose comes before profit and is integral to every marketing message will serve you well. For me personally being part of Mynewsdesk’s Social Innovation Project which aims to provide both technology and time to non-profits has made me and many others even more engaged in the company and its mission than I ever was. In the past purpose was window dressing. Today it delivers clear business benefits and if you are not using it you are missing out.
The final element of my approach is the customer experience. This will become in my opinion the biggest marketing opportunity over the next 10 years, Never have you been able to touch, interact and influence your customer with such speed and scale than you can do today. And never have those customers been able to influence more potential customers in a similar way.
Whether it be through the customer experience and service you actually offer, a social media interaction in a plethora of channels, a piece of educational content you serve across multiple formats in both digital and physical formats or a physical event where you people and expertise is at its strongest, experience needs to be at the centre of your marketing strategy. It’s not just technology companies that need to worry about user experience (UX) and creating that WOW moment for customers. We all need to have multiple WOW moments in our customer and prospect journeys. Some would argue that the customer experience has always been a key part of any marketing strategy but I would argue it has never been as important as it is today.
So there you have it four themes to get you thinking. Whether you like them or not it sure is an exciting time to be in marketing… good luck.