These days, it seems that everything is changing. It’s true that marketing, too, has seen massive transformations as well as the rise and fall of many trends and technologies. Accordingly, marketers have been scrambling to keep up and stay ahead of the curve. Being left behind on the latest technologies and strategies can mean being left behind competitors. And while some changes have just been flukes and have fizzled out, there are many permanent changes that we’ll see the rippling effects of for years to come.
First and foremost on this list is the transition to digital. In fact, this change is singlehandedly responsible for the majority of other seismic shifts in the marketing space. Think, big data, marketing technology, real-time marketing, and more. Marketing technology alone is growing at a pace of 2,233% each year, opening up brand new possibilities of efficiency and effectiveness in every area of sales and marketing.
Of course, the now globalized market means greater competition along with larger audiences. And these audiences are more informed than ever and are expecting higher quality and faster response time from brands. Customer journeys are non-linear and often take place on a variety of platforms.
In response to all of this, marketing teams are restructuring and de-silo-ing, a task that can be difficult with remote working becoming so popular.
How can marketers really be expected to keep up with all of these changes? All of this flux makes knowing the essentials and the unchanging values more important.
Everything is Changing and Nothing is Changing
It’s easy to get caught up in technology and the accessibility with which it allows us to communicate with our audiences. But, this is far from the first time in history that we’ve seen new, interesting ways to more easily communicate with audiences–although it can certainly seem like the most intense period of change. Still, consider billboards and pop-up advertisements, mailbox flyers and batch & blast emails, keyword stuffing and link farms. At some point in somewhat recent history, these were new, savvy options to get in front of audiences. Yet they’ve all died, no longer considered respectable marketing efforts, if they ever were.
What do these all have in common? They’re intrusive and, for the most part, they game the system. They don’t care whether their audiences’ lives are bettered by their message or their marketing tactics.
The same will be true of modern marketing efforts. Is it easier than ever to insert your brand in front of the faces of your audience, no matter where they are around the globe or what they’re doing? Yes, definitely. Should you? No.
Keeping it Traditional
In business and in life there are certain constants that remain throughout everything. And while it may seem that marketing is and always has been in flux, some methods and strategies have passed the test of time. For example, personalized marketing has been abuzz since the 90s, even though it’s often treated as an up and coming trend. Similarly, content marketing has been treated recently as a fad that has yet to prove itself. What not everyone is aware of, though, is that content marketing is tried and true.
For example, there’s this little tractor company you might have heard called John Deere. Before they were a household name, they followed the tenants of content marketing to success.
John Deere is known as much for its superior products as it is for its brand that represents all things country. When John Deere was founded, though, it faced competition and struggled to show people why they should purchase a John Deere tractor. Instead of focusing on ways to sell their products, they turned the focus to those whom they were attempting to sell to. Thus, in 1895, The Furrow was born. An agricultural journal that focused on the topics that most interested potential John Deere customers, The Furrow is now available in 40 different countries and is delivered to 1.5 million farmers. The success of John Deere and its publication speaks for itself.
Of course, this isn’t the first example of content marketing and it won’t be the last. What it is, though, is a perfect case study of the way that content marketing is a successful, time-proven tactic. The elements of establishing a relationship with an audience will never become outdated or go out of style.
So, when it comes to surviving against competition and saying focused amidst the overwhelming changes, qualities such as trust, emotion, and human connection will always reign in marketing efforts. Similarly, so will good stories, good products or services, and genuine endeavors to put your audience first.
These new opportunities and changes should be thought of only in terms of how they can assist in accomplishing the goals and qualities above. As many of marketers’ dilemmas are the same as they’ve always been—lacking strategic goals and measurement frameworks, essentially—it’s clear that technology and other such advancements cannot simply make marketing ‘easier’ or ‘better’. Marketing has more control and options than ever, but staying true to the essentials will be the most viable method of creating success in these hectic and exciting times.
Did you like this post? Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Blurred Lines: The De-Silo-Ing of Marketing to discover why breaking down organizational silos is key to staying agile and ahead of your competition.