5 Ways the Old Marketing Paradigms Have Changed
It is not business as usual. The Internet has provided consumers with unprecedented access to information and choice. The emergence of social platforms has meant that, for the first time in history, everyone has their own media channels. The days of relying on the patronage of publishers, or record companies, for people to have their work recognized have long since gone. In a world where information has become abundant, attention has become scarce.
These fundamental changes, in the rules of communication, mean that a different mindset and frame of reference is required when people think about marketing. Many of the old paradigms are now obsolete. Here are five of the "old school" to "new skool" changes in our digital universe.
1. 'Return on Investment' Is Now 'Return on Engagement'
In a world where information is now abundant, it has become harder for businesses to obtain the attention of their prospects and customers. Companies used to win attention by shouting loudly at target groups. In so doing, they would hope that a percentage of their audience were looking to buy and would respond. The success of a campaign was measured solely on how many responses were received and the ROI achieved.
Consumers now pay less heed to these messages and have been empowered to initiate the customer journey themselves. Therefore, attention is no longer obtained by shouting at prospects and hoping they respond. Rather, it is achieved by engaging with prospects and customers, over the longer term, and in so doing, being front of mind when a customer is ready to make a purchase.
2. 'Unique Selling Points' Are Now 'Customer Engagement Points'
The unique selling proposition was always one-dimensional and pre-dates even the service economy. It came out of Madison Avenue from the requirement to make TV advertisements that stood out. The idea was to come up with a unique benefit that would attract customers. But in the fast moving world where we live there no USPs. In the service sector, there is nothing a company can offer that a marketer cannot copy. Even in the world of products, first-mover advantage is measured in weeks not years. As we enter the experience economy it is more three-dimensional offers that will resonate with consumers. It is not just what a business does that matters but how it does it and how that makes a customer feel. This is not easily articulated by one unique selling proposition but rather a series of customer engagement points.
3. 'Broadcasting Messages' Is Now 'Facilitating Conversations'
A company's best marketers are no longer the individuals in the business themselves. In a world where attention is scarce, and everyone has a channel, it is the community around a company that are the best communicators: its customers, prospects, suppliers, partners, stakeholders etc. Subsequently, the emphasis of an organization's communications should be from simply broadcasting messages to creating communications that will lead to engagement. That is, people respond, discuss and share the information with others.
4. 'Knowledge Is Power' Is Now 'Shared Knowledge Gives You Attention'
The Internet has made information ubiquitous. Therefore, the days of going to organizations because they had the knowledge you lacked are long since gone. Everyone has the ability to research and obtain the knowledge they require. With information, in a digital age, being a commodity, companies should not guard their expertise. Rather, they should share the information they have with the wider world. In so doing, a business will demonstrate proficiency, and earn credibility and trust with prospects and customers alike. In so doing, they will obtain the attention of the market place. The company can then charge for where the real value lies, that is, in the application of the knowledge.
5. Customers Are No Longer 'Kings,' Now They Are Your 'Partners'
In an analog world, the old adage the customer is king meant that without the patronage of the customer, there was nothing. The "customer is always right" and other sayings were meant to highlight the idea that companies had to treat customers well. Of course, this is still the case. However, now it goes further. In an experience economy, customers want to be involved. They want a say in the new design, the choice of colors, the next offering, etc. They want to be able to personalize more of what a business provides. Moreover, with every individual owning a channel, the customer will now be an organization's greatest marketer. Therefore, customers are no longer simply king, today, they are even more important.
The Web-enabled digital world is altering many old paradigms and creating new ones. Failure to understand this "change in thinking," means companies are likely to miss out on opportunities that emerge from this ever changing world. Above are just some of the old adages that are developing in different ways before our very eyes.
What paradigms do you notice altering as the digital revolution takes hold?
Grant Leboff is the founder of Sticky Marketing Ltd., a consulting firm that advises clients on sales and marketing strategies, building their brands and positioning them as market leaders in their particular sectors. He also is the author of "Stickier Marketing: How to Win Customers in a Digital Age."