Article

Liz Eden
Liz Eden 29 November 2016

Has our love of marketing technology meant we’re ignoring our customers?

Someone recently told me that the marketing landscape was changing with new technology like the Internet of Things and programmatic. I disagree. I have worked with marketers for 4 years and have seen very little technological evolution and even less social change from historic practices to how marketers approach customers today.

I think the question to examine is whether the social and human side of marketing has been considered enough or have we been too focused on technology?

Many current marketing and trade practices closely mirror how we have interacted as humans over a long period of time.  As Dr Steven White explains, in the beginning we traded with our neighbours and then our reach grew when exploration of other areas occurred so we ramped up production to meet demand.  This demand rose as the population grew, affluence increased and access to customers changed.  Soon commoditisation and capitalism bred and we saw the rise of competition with several traders offering similar goods.  This meant your reputation was paramount.

I believe that nothing has changed.  Businesses still rely on awareness, reputation and word of mouth.  This will remain static even in the face of changing technology.  The technology is not what is popular; it is what it allows you to do.  Social lets you keep in touch with friends and share experiences, programmatic lets you target the right people online whilst traditional channels like TV and billboards make people aware of your brand.

The pace of change is slow and deliberate with many businesses following their competitor’s lead.  No one wants to put their head above the parapet for fear of a backlash.  A backlash, which could be potentially devastating under today’s circumstances due to social media’s reach.  Social media is simply word of mouth on steroids.

Humans are programmed to need to feel valued.  We will always choose to talk to someone, who takes the time to get to know us, over people who talk at us.  The 2016 buzzwords of relevancy and personalisation echo this human sentiment.  We are crying out for businesses to talk to us at an individual level.  Instead the majority of businesses are buying marketing automation platforms and using digital rather than ATL campaigns to reach us but they are peddling the same content.  It’s not the tools that are shaping the landscape but the people.  Those organisations, who are successful in talking to their customers, really understand who they are marketing to.  Not everyone will love you but you don’t need everyone to. 

Changing the marketing landscape requires a change in thinking rather than implementing new software.  Perhaps it is the scale that is terrifying and not the method but, as Douglas Adams writes, “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.”  These consumers are a growing number of the population that expect relevancy and will buy from organisations that speak to them.  It’s time to dig your heels in to those, who believe that “anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” 

It is time to disrupt the normal routine – there are competitors for every brand, there are customers on every continent and these customers are more informed than ever before. 

Many current marketing and trade practices closely mirror how we have interacted as humans over a long period of time.  As Dr Steven White explains, in the beginning we traded with our neighbours and then our reach grew when exploration of other areas occurred so we ramped up production to meet demand.  This demand rose as the population grew, affluence increased and access to customers changed.  Soon commoditisation and capitalism bred and we saw the rise of competition with several traders offering similar goods.  This meant your reputation was paramount.

I believe that nothing has changed.  Businesses still rely on awareness, reputation and word of mouth.  This will remain static even in the face of changing technology.  The technology is not what is popular; it is what it allows you to do.  Social lets you keep in touch with friends and share experiences, programmatic lets you target the right people online whilst traditional channels like TV and billboards make people aware of your brand.

The pace of change is slow and deliberate with many businesses following their competitor’s lead.  No one wants to put their head above the parapet for fear of a backlash.  A backlash, which could be potentially devastating under today’s circumstances due to social media’s reach.  Social media is simply word of mouth on steroids.

Humans are programmed to need to feel valued.  We will always choose to talk to someone, who takes the time to get to know us, over people who talk at us.  The 2016 buzzwords of relevancy and personalisation echo this human sentiment.  We are crying out for businesses to talk to us at an individual level.  Instead the majority of businesses are buying marketing automation platforms and using digital rather than ATL campaigns to reach us but they are peddling the same content.  It’s not the tools that are shaping the landscape but the people.  Those organisations, who are successful in talking to their customers, really understand who they are marketing to.  Not everyone will love you but you don’t need everyone to. 

Changing the marketing landscape requires a change in thinking rather than implementing new software.  Perhaps it is the scale that is terrifying and not the method but, as Douglas Adams writes, “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.”  These consumers are a growing number of the population that expect relevancy and will buy from organisations that speak to them.  It’s time to dig your heels in to those, who believe that “anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” 

It is time to disrupt the normal routine – there are competitors for every brand, there are customers on every continent and these customers are more informed than ever before. 

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