Three Principles of Marketing the Future

By Lora Kratchounova, Scratch Marketing + Media

More than 50 years ago, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore predicted that computing power would increase at an exponential rate. The anticipated rate of change has been refined since his first declaration back in 1965, but half a century later, Moore’s Law (as it came to be known) continues to hold water: Overall processing power for computers has been doubling roughly every two years.

What does this mean for today’s digital marketer? As we noted in Part One of this series, present-day marketing is about trust, expertise, reputation, community recognition, and engagement.These goals are no different today than they were at any point in the past, but the techniques we need to rely on to accomplish these objectives are different, and they continue to change in step with the acceleration of technology advancement swirling all around us.

The unofficial word of the not-so-new millennium is “acceleration,” and 21st century brands must keep up with the ever-increasing pace of change by delivering constant improvement on their products and services. For marketers, this means building and keeping the trust of your customers by constantly delivering on a promise of ongoing innovation. You are Marketing the Future, sending the message that today’s investment will pay off over and over again with each new product release or update.

In order to establish trust and build brand authority in this era, there are three key characteristics that must be kept front-of-mind.

1. The Customer, and Not the Brand, Is In Control.

The buying journey is now being dictated by the consumer instead of the company. Consumers no longer rely on brands to tell them their needs through traditional advertising, especially TV commercials and print ads. Today, consumers start their journey online where they can tap into peer networks or visit independent review sites  —  and they make decisions when and where they will, often outside of a company’s owned channels. Google has identified this as the Zero Moment of Truth. Successful brands know they still must deliver the information consumers need and want through a variety of channels, but they understand that they don’t control the conversation anymore.

Source: Google Zero Moment of Truth, The Momentum Principle

It’s crucial to note that this applies to B2B environments as well as consumer interactions. Forrester has noted more than 70 percent of business buyers use online resources before committing to a vendor; Accenture has found 94 percent of B2B buyers use an online search to begin the buying process; while 74 percent of C-level executives say web search is “very valuable” and 53 percent prefer to locate information for themselves.

Many consumers are at best delaying  —  or at worst ignoring  —  interaction with brand-owned channels such as company websites, social media profiles and online advertising. And that’s okay! Marketing the Future means embracing the fact that brands do not control the conversation anymore, but rather ceding the center to your customers, revolving around them and delivering on their needs. That’s how you show customers respect, earn their trust and build brand preference.

2. Successful Brands Are Never Finished.

Early adopters of Google will remember when the site carried a “beta” notification; but when is the last time you saw that on any online platform? You don’t  —  not because beta testing doesn’t exist any longer, but because the smartest, most competitive companies know that they are perpetually in beta.

The most successful online companies constantly update their code, many times a day. Already four years ago, CNET reported, Facebook was updating its code twice a day; that same year, Amazon was reportedly updating its code every 11.6 seconds. Likewise, smartphones are bought not just for their out-of-the-box capabilities, but because apps can be downloaded and the functionality changed and enhanced to suit each individual. And Tesla is networking its cars so services and updates can be added automatically and invisibly, allowing users to personalize their automobile experience.

This is the continuous delivery model, and consumers have come to expect it in the form of a better user experience on a constant basis, whether from a product or a service.

3. Successful Brands Never Stand Alone.

Another thing the most successful modern enterprises recognize is they are part of an ecosystem. Their leaders know that partnerships with companies offering complementary products or services are essential to promoting the benefits of each and expanding their markets.

Think Apple with its App Store, where developers from individuals to major corporations are providing content for the iPhone and iPad. Likewise with Google’s Android phones and Google Play store. Each has created its own ecosystem that allows it to provide consumers far more content than it could expect to produce on its own  —  more than 1.5 million apps. And where is BlackBerry, the former king of the hill in the mobile phone world? Lost in their wake, because it isolated itself on the island of Marketing the Present, instead of embracing the principles of Marketing the Future.

Whether establishing a new ecosystem or joining an existing one, successful modern enterprises are the ones that have come to this realization: Collaboration is the framework of the future. Successful marketers are the ones who understand the value of partnerships and learn how to promote them in order to further their own objectives.

Never Stop Evolving

Modern companies never finish improving, and Marketing the Future means continuously evolving to serve them. The most important element of that evolution is acknowledging that, in this era, everything is centered on the consumer. In order to compete in this brave new environment, products and services — and the companies that market them  —  are in constant development, thriving in the partner ecosystem. That’s what must be done to build brand authority and win over today’s connected consumer.

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