“The stone age didn’t end because they ran out of stones”- Unknown
About two decades ago, Modern Marketing had its Big Bang with the birth of the web. Just like the real big bang, there were a lot of hot gases around in the form of debates and prediction regarding the scope of the web and how it was going to transform business; slowly paving the path for the dot com boom.
Though it did disrupt certain industries like ‘Yellow Pages’, largely a majority of the businesses retained their way of working, may be tweaking a bit around the corners to adapt. But recently as the gasses have cooled off, a fundamental change in business has emerged. It took more than two decades but the web finally fulfilled what had once been forecasted. A massive disruption!
So, what was disrupted? MARKETING!
The Buffoon Becomes the Master!
According to the book ‘A New Brand of Marketing’ by Scott Brinker, Marketing used to be one of the least concerned departments when it came to general businesses. Apart from a few FMCG companies and advertising agencies in the New York, Marketing never made it to the core business functions, sometimes even mocked as ‘The Art and Crafts Department’. But then the web happened, suddenly shifting the power to the consumers.
Earlier the brands had an upper hand on the consumers regarding information. The communication channel had a very weak feedback system. Thus, enabling brands to dictate communication. They could influence sales process, spin public relations, control information etc. They also had the ‘high alternate search cost to their advantage which generally dissuades most consumers from hunting for better alternatives.
But as the web evolved, it completely dissolved that communication advantage owing to a series of factors. Some of the most important and impactful ones as identified by Scott Brinker are:
Open Information: Freedom of Speech has never been so effectively and efficiently followed. Search Engines enabled individual to publish anything, about anyone and all this for free! These search engines made these opinions and feedback findable by anyone, exploding ‘open information’.
Open Communication: Internet also gave us Social Media. Suddenly, we became connected round the clock and can instantly share information among peers, across a host of virtual communication channels. This led to the explosion in ‘open communication’.
This snowballing of information and communication had revolutionary impact. It put mega corporation at the mercy of mommy bloggers. But the important question that arises is what drives the people to praise or punish a company online? More than anything, it always has been the experience with the particular brand. These are the experiences that drive a person to opiniate and at times, attempt to persuade regarding a certain thought. And where are these interaction and experiences happening?
Increasingly on the web; through Apps; Or any other digital touchpoints. Today, people don’t go to the web to surf or absorb information, but to interact and engage themselves with an idea or application. Sometimes, Apps are mere tools enabling certain functionality like a calculator but increasingly it’s becoming the primary service offered by a company. These are popularly known as SaaS (Software as a Service) ventures. Their whole business model depends on one application or service that it caters.
These models and apps deliver the experience to the people, we were talking about. These experience and interaction happen from the very first touchpoint onwards, through the whole consumer cycle, thus, creating a need for effective delivery of the services as these experiences help create the brand one is trying to be. After all the customer experiences define the brand.
What is Marketing 2.0?
When the marketing tectonic plates were shifting above, a lot of innovation and connectivity was happening in the background which would later be the key to innovation. As marketing was fast taking the spotlight among business functions, technology was taking over marketing, slowly imbibing itself to the basic functionality and objective of marketing.
The front end of the marketing team -its interface with customers- used to be restricted to advertisements, brochures/flyers, direct mail and trade booths. But as of today, its a massive dynamic and interconnected digital ecosystem comprising of websites, apps, blogs and other digital touch points which keep on maintaining a sync among each other as well as creating effective content and experience round the clock.
Marketing 2.0 has arrived and no more restricted to informing, persuading or advertising one’s product, but creating an experience.
The back end of Marketing earlier comprised of a few Excel Sheets and a Mailing Database. But today it includes a CRM, content management, marketing automation, predictive analytics, testing and optimization tools, data management platforms, and a multitude of custom and cloud-based applications and databases.
Within a decade, marketing evolved from one of the least tech dependant to a tech savvy!
Why Marketing 2.0?
When we are talking about the growth of the marketing landscape into a trillion-dollar-a-year industry that’s being disrupted in just about every way, the question arises ‘Why not?’.
The top four driving factors responsible for the prolific growth of Marketing 2.0 are:
- Digital Revolution
- Change in Marketing Culture
- CMO budgets are increasing
- Investments and Acquisitions are through the roof
As the world becomes ubiquitously digital by every passing day, consumers are gaining more control with channel preferences and content accessibility. To successfully identify and engage a customer is more of a marketing objective, so to level the playing field, marketers are increasingly arming themselves with the tools required to interact and engage with the various channels as well as creating a more connected and efficient internal technological ecosystem to successfully capitalize on the digital footprints buyers are leaving behind. As Laura Ramos of Forrester says it best:”A wealth of insights is available to B2B marketers if they are willing to dig in. Internet exploration, search, smart device usage, content browsing, and business community social activity reveals the twists and turns customers take throughout their lifetime.”
With all this huge quantity of data, CMOs are fast turning from “Mad Men to Math Men”. Instead of developing marketing campaigns based out of hunches and superficial observation, marketing decisions are made through advanced factual based engines with results that are predicted through analytics. Marketers are no longer just good storytellers, but technologists that are required to make data driven decision.
In all, an era of a ‘Quantified Marketer’ is here and here to stay!
How Marketing 2.0?
Existing Marketer, using or on the verge of using marketing automation would concur that for the past few years the recipe for success has been understanding and operationalizing the demand funnel. The key takeaway has been that in order for Marketing and Sales to play well together, one has to culturally align and establish an integrated lead management process.
But before Sales and the Marketing team integrate, the marketing functions need to evolve to that of Marketing 2.0. According to 2014 Merkel’s CRM Executive Summit, its a 5 step process which involves gradual acceptance of the omnichannel experience.
The above 5 phases end up integrating all the channel and as a result provide the fully integrated experience.
But now its time to go far beyond the demand funnel, and a need to create a sustainable ‘Demand Factory’. After a decade of innovation in marketing technology and now ubiquity of Internet access, the amalgamation of digital buying and digital marketing will finally enable marketing to become the driving force of growth.
Now the question is, ‘What is a Demand Factory?’
Visualize a manufacturing plant with operators and assembly lines, with robot assisted automated production lines.
- Picture the raw materials that enter the demand factory as unqualified leads from omni-channel marketing.
- Watch the unqualified leads move along the assembly lines through lead scoring systems which segregates them into proper intake bins; Automated Data Segmentation.
- Now watch the ‘factory robots’ – your program triggers – retrieve each of the segmented lead and push it to the next phase of production.
- Now watch the ‘refinery’ area – the nurture system, the remarketing engines, and dynamic content platforms busy refining them to finished products: ‘Customers’.
- Now visualise the plant manager – that’s Marketing Operations – in the control room where production and output are accurately monitored and forecasted.
That’s the vision in a nutshell: the Demand Factory framework is the next evolution of demand generation, and it’s here now.
When Marketing 2.0?
As of today-
- The Internet has become the first point of contact for customers
- About 65% of the consumers claimed that an Digital Experience changed their opinion about a brand!
- About 96% were influenced when deciding on a purchase.
- In six days Youtube can give you a reach of 100 million views.
A 30 second Super bowl spot gives one a reach of 100 million views.
The above mentioned data truly advocates the data provided in the graph. Today, Marketing is a rapidly changing environment which is slowly evolving to become the driving force behind mega corporation’s growth story. Marketing is fast evolving from its ‘old model’ comprising of informing, reminding and persuading to the ‘new model’ comprising of demonstrating, involving and empowering.
So, the most apt answer to ‘When Marketing 2.0?’ is ‘NOW!’.
According to recent discoveries, evolution is not a slow and steady process but a moment of sudden burst in evolutionary activities, triggered by major disruption in the environment, something known as Punctuated Equilibrium. Everything would be happening fine and taking its usual course of time, but suddenly a rapidly changing environment happens which proves to be a major disruption and it works as a survival test. New Species arise who are better suited to the new surroundings and old species either vanish or adapt.
As Gord Hotchkiss says,”Punctuated Equilibrium is exactly what is happening in the evolution of marketing today!”
For a more detailed study of the changing digital dynamics and future trends please go through the article ‘2015: An Year of Digital Darwinism?’.