Marketing In The Digital Age

Over the last few weeks we have looked at three influential subcultures at acquiring the youth mindshare, growing the women share & expanding the netizen share. Today we are going to introduce the pertinent elements to Marketing in the Digital Economy. As consumers, we experience digital transformation all the time—perhaps almost every day. In the past decade alone, the ways we consume music, movies, photography, news, retail, and travel have changed utterly. We are on the cusp of similar transformation of transportation and manufacturing, with the advent of on-board computers in cars, driverless cars, and 3D printing. And digital transformation won’t stop there, either.

Companies who ignore disruption of their industries will not be successful, and ultimately won’t survive.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), digital innovations can bring countries closer to sustainable prosperity. McKinsey lists top innovations that have had the most significant economic impact, including mobile internet, automation of knowledge work, the internet of things, cloud technology, advanced robotics, and 3-D printing, among others. These digital technologies have been around for some years but their impact reached the highest point only recently, fueled by the convergence of multiple technologies.

These technologies help develop multiple sectors in the economy such as retail (e-commerce), transportation (automated vehicles), education (massive open online courses), health (electronic record and personalized medicine), as well as social interactions (social networks). However, many of the same technologies that drive the digital economy are also disrupting key industries and upsetting major incumbents. Large retailers such as Borders and Blockbuster, for instance, experienced the disruptions caused by digitally empowered entrants in their respective industries. These digitally empowered entrants—Amazon and Netflix—are now the new major incumbents in their industries.

Interestingly, even the past disrupters may experience the same fate. Apple’s iTunes, which once successfully disrupted the brick-and-mortar music retailers with its online music retailing, has been disrupted by Spotify and its music streaming business model. Apple’s revenue from music sales has been in decline since its peak in the early 2000s. Apple launched its own music-streaming service, Apple Music, in mid-2015 to rival Spotify.

Adapting to the emerging disruptive technologies, most customers are excited and anxious at the same time. Automation of knowledge work, for example, has not only bumped up productivity but has also brought fears of losing jobs. 3-D printing has opened a world of possibilities in terms of rapid innovation. But on the negative side, 3-D printing can also be misused for producing guns, for example. Yet three-dimensional printing has the potential to disrupt manufacturing and it’s supporting industries, including shipping, supply chain services, equipment, and more.

The most significant dilemma is perhaps caused by the mobile Internet. It has brought peer-to-peer connectivity and empowered customers to be much smarter and better informed than in the past. But a study by Przybylski and Weinstein of the University of Essex proved that mobile phones might also hurt relationships. The research revealed that mobile phones divert people’s attention away from their current environments. It also discovered that the feeling of being able to connect to a wider network often inhibits people’s abilities to be empathetic to others nearby. Therefore, as the drive toward digital economy intensifies, consumers are longing for the perfect application of technologies that allows them to self-actualize while becoming empathetic at the same time.

In previous blogs, we talked about the major shift from product-driven marketing (1.0) to consumer-centric marketing (2.0) to ultimately purpose centric marketing (3.0).

As outlined Marketing 4.0 is a marketing approach that combines online and offline interaction between companies and consumers. In the digital economy, digital interaction alone is not sufficient.

In fact, in an increasingly online world, offline touch represents a strong differentiation. Marketing 4.0 also blends style with substance. While it is imperative for brands to be more flexible and adaptive due to rapid technological trends, their authentic characters are more important than ever.

In an increasingly transparent world, authenticity is the most valuable asset. Finally, Marketing 4.0 leverages machine-to-machine connectivity and artificial intelligence to improve marketing productivity while leveraging human-to human connectivity to strengthen customer engagement.

If we look at the disruptors, the leaders all had commitment for digital marketing transformation from the top. In each case, a clear business motivation, such as saving the business or building a foundation for an agile organization, drove this commitment. Digital marketing and data- driven decision making is a priority. Vision is clearly communicated, so employees know where “forward” is.

If your organization hasn’t yet committed to transformation, you can still take a few steps forward. Experiment and learn using the tools and data you already have. Create some small successes that will boost the organization’s confidence and imagination. Begin communicating the value and importance of digital marketing for the future of the company. Such small steps can ultimately lead to greater organizational commitment and the resources needed to move even further ahead with transformation.

CMO Perspective – Anthony Reeves from Amazon

A recent influencer marketing study suggests that 70% of millennial consumers are driven by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions. Moreover, YouTube is the second most influential social media platform for influencing purchases.

Understanding that influencer marketing coupled with powerful video content and a creative concept has the potential to boost brand and product awareness significantly, Amazon plugged their cutting-edge Alexa-powered voice assistant, the Echo, with a piece of video content featuring a host of world-renowned celebrities from a host of different fields, from comedy to cooking.

Initially aired at the Superbowl, the ‘Alexa Has Lost Her Voice’ campaign was not only funny and incredibly creative, but it used influencers in a way that placed the benefits of its voice technology-driven product at the heart of the production.

According to Amazon’s Executive Creative Director Anthony Reeves: “We’re always trying to innovate on behalf of our consumers and even though I think we’ve proved conclusively that nobody could ever replace Alexa, we hope that viewers have as much fun watching this, as we had making it.”

Result: Not only did the video campaign earn over 47 million views and go viral as a result of its ingenuity, but it cemented the value of influencer marketing done well. 

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