Marketing has radically evolved conceptually over the last few decades into its current cross-functional discipline. Before new media emerged with the invention of the internet, many marketers had to resort to old forms of media such as the yellow pages and radio. These old media mediums, without the concept of a search engines introduced, are more conducive to push advertising. As new media technology emerged, pull or inbound marketing became a very powerful option. In today’s age individuals are looking for answers online. This introduces the opportunity to position a product or service tailored to the needs of what that specific person is looking up.
Further, over the years many disruptive technologies have emerged to circumvent advertising. For example, to avoid commercials on TV, consumers can now simply record their shows and fast forward, or just use a service such as Netflix. Technological innovation combined with change in many people’s reactions to advertising and push marketing have contributed to the “concept of marketing” to change. One of the key things to consider on a psychological level is the principle of reciprocity. If brands are genuinely adding value to people’s lives, many people feel the need to reciprocate the value in the form of a sale, or whatever other metric you are measuring. To differentiate from the millions of push marketing messages out there inbound marketing becomes invaluable.
At a high level, marketing impacts both a corporation and a consumer significantly. Marketing is an invaluable component of any corporation; finance would cease to exist if marketers couldn’t execute on their forecasts. In general, marketing impacts corporations because marketers optimize external and internal forces in a given industry which allow them to brand corporations in order to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.
Corporations utilize external analysis in order to determine how their marketing can be optimized to compete in a given industry. Using models such as Porter’s five forces, marketers in corporations can assess factors such as the bargaining power of suppliers and consumers, threat of substitutes, risk of new entrants, and ultimately the intensity of rivalry among established firms. Marketers in corporations also consider macro-environmental factors such as macroeconomics of the country, as well as technological, demographic, social, political, and legal forces.
Corporations must utilize internal analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses to determine what their firm can and should do. Marketing leverages the building blocks of competitive advantage such as superior quality, innovation, efficiency, and customer responsiveness. Marketing impacts a corporation’s inbound and outbound logistics, operations, human resource management, finance, and service. Marketing plays a cross-functional role which leverages a corporation’s unique value proposition in order to brand the corporation to achieve sustainable competitive advantage given the internal and external constraints.
Consumers play an integral role in marketing because of how invaluable segmentation, targeting, and positioning a value proposition is in this ever-changing competitive landscape. The emergence of new media has leveled the playing field to a large extent. Marketing builds trust for consumers, as companies psychologically manipulate (in an ethical way) through persuading and convincing the end consumer that their value proposition is worth it for the consumer to open up their wallets and pay. Marketers understand consumers based on psychographics, demographics, and geographics. With this knowledge of their target market, marketers then segment, target, and position their offering to leverage and capitalize on consumers cognitively consistent psychology. It impacts how consumers think, feel, and react to different brands. For brands such as Costco, word of mouth is a critical factor in their success. Given this, marketers must impact and incentivize word of mouth, traditionally through word of mouth and modernly through online channels.
Today consumers play an invaluable role in actualizing a brand’s value. Global brands understand that they must adapt to cross-culturally subtleties within different markets. Brands realize that return on engagement with consumers is in many ways as important than ROI in terms of sustainable competitive performance. Consumers facilitate accelerated word of mouth through social media and digital channels. Our globalized, interconnected world has given consumers the power to review goods and services online, and ultimately brand equity is determined by consumers. A high level concept called crossing the chasm illustrates this importance. There are early adopters of new Apple products, for example, who wait in line for days before the new iPhone comes out. The hardest part for brands to enter into the mass market is the early and late majority of consumers, who look to others for validation. Consumers look to other consumers as well as online reviews in order to make purchasing decisions. Social media influencers are making a healthy living by simply promoting products to their fans who naturally look to them for validation. The consumer plays an invaluable role in marketing because of psychological and sociological factors which in addition to technology provides the opportunity for marketers to gain market share.
I would argue that marketing’s role in 5-10 years will continually adapt on many fronts. There is a huge trend where there is significantly more and more searches for products and services on the mobile device. Mobile devices lends itself to immediate results coupled with the ability for consumers to easily streamline their reviews. Decisions within the digital ecosystem will be made quickly through direct response marketing. Mobile devices lends itself very easily to a phone call. This is where scripted language is essential to close warm leads developed by online channels. Mobile devices allows the quickest way to reach a target market and get a direct response phone call for example. This is where a compelling salesperson will need to close the deal on the phone. Apps have seen significant growth from launching mobile Instagram advertisements. Direct response features such as “call now” and “download now” are proving to be efficient on the mobile device. I see this trend continuing for the next 5-10 years.
Also as technology continues to grow, there will be new opportunities for marketers. For example, as virtual reality emerges, this will introduce a new marketing channel in which marketers can segment, target, and position their offering in a relevant and meaningful way. Marketing will continue to be universally adapted to different industries.
Today we see marketing as an integral part of the election process for the Presidency. Given the trend of social responsibility, I see marketing as being an incredible tool of spreading awareness about the world’s largest social problems and the solutions that entrepreneurs have crafted. Forecasting this trend forward, marketers can capitalize on emerging digital and traditional marketing trends with new emerging technological platforms in order to optimize their brand’s marketing mix to maximize sales and market share.