Marketing 4.0

Last week I shared the 10 key takeaways for brand story development In it, there are the top tips and also a summation of the most pertinent blogs on the topic. I was speaking to a former colleague of mine who was recently appointed to Global Marketing Director of one the largest consumer led companies in the world. As I passed on my congratulations, I was surprised at his passing remark: “the marketing world is quite fickle, it is difficult to stay in front of the enormous change that has occurred and is occurring.” We agreed that many of the tried and true still remain (ie brand strategy planning, positioning, briefing agencies, ideas vs executions); it is that advancement of technology that is shifting the demands of current day marketers.

It is why over the next few weeks that I am going to attempt to look at evolution of Marketing and how PROCESS alignment is the way forward.

This is not to say that each model has been superseded (ie Marketing 1.0 is still the foundation of everything that we do); however the challenges we as Marketers face demand greater agility in our application. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the variety and speed of change; yet be comforted by the fact that what stands as bedrocks of bygone periods still stand the test of time today.

This is the era where Don Draper thrived as it all came down to the pitch of who had the most compelling features and benefits. Product was king and the irony being that those in Operations led the new product development process in most companies. “Build a better mousetrap.” What can’t be lost is that the rational component of a product needs to be embedded in consumer’s minds prior to the emotional leap. Too many brands spend an exorbitant amount of spend on a humorous spot that does not resonate due to a need not being established.

Having spent most of my career in the alcohol industry I was always amazed that some of the great innovations were not based in a problem to solve but what grape varietal was bountiful or what efficiencies could be garnered at the brewery. I was fortunate enough to lead a division called i-Nova a global insights and innovation hub where the consumer soon became queen. Again, no Marketer worth their bachelor degree would ignore the data that one can now obtain about the target market.

In Marketing 3.0, we observed consumers transforming into human beings with minds, hearts and spirits. Ultimately this will always be a consideration regardless in advancements of AI, 3-D printing, Virtual Reality and the like. Therefore, the future of marketing lies in creating products, services and company cultures that embrace and reflect human values. The rise of ‘Purpose’ best reflects this shift in emphasis. It is ironic to me that whilst many who argue against Byron Sharp’s landmark book ‘How Brands Grow’ do so on the fringes. At its heart a brand has and always will be differentiated by Purpose. The controversy surrounding art vs science precludes the need for a Brand Purpose. Availability will always be enhanced by distinctive assets, which are derived from attributes, personality & values – aka the purpose of a brand.

The technologies we are seeing today are not new. But they have been converging in recent years, and the collective impact of that convergence has greatly affected marketing practices around the world. New trends are emerging from this: the “sharing” economy, the “now” economy, omnichannel integration, content marketing, social CRM, and many other things.

Technology convergence will ultimately lead to a ‘coming together’ between digital marketing and traditional marketing. In a high-tech world, people long for high touch. The more social we are, the more we want things that are made just for us. Backed by big-data analytics, products become more personalized and services become more personal. In the digital economy, the key is to leverage these paradoxes.

In this transitional era, a new marketing approach is required. The first part that we will look at are the new shifts that are shaping our world (connectivity, subcultures etc). Secondly we will look at the new frameworks that will boost productivity by understanding consumer paths in the digital era (metrics, industries etc). Lastly we will delve into the major tactics of the new world (human centric, content engagement etc).

In essence, Marketing 4.0 describes a world where features and benefits still matter, an understanding of consumer is still the main driver and where a deepening and a broadening of human-centric marketing covers every aspect of the purchase journey.

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