Original insights in international business and marketing
Over the years, the term Marketing has evolved into a catch all phrase that encompasses a wide range of activities ranging from product development, product management, brand management, market research, sales development, business development, marcom, and many more. Seems the essence of Marketing – the concept of generating demand for a product or service – has gotten diluted or has been degraded to a lesser objective. I suspect much of this has to do with the background and skills of those who make up marketing functions in most corporations. Very often these folks have technical, sales or clinical experience which, although of great practical value, doesn’t often translate into true marketing know-how. The art and science of communicating with customers often requires a very different skill set and perspective. One that product or domain experts don’t always have. This is especially true in this day and age when the very existence of Marketing is under threat and the way it is practiced is undergoing a profound change, the likes of which we have never seen before. Fueled by a rapidly evolving technology infrastructure and a generational change in how, when and where customers are engaging with businesses, the very nature of our dialog with potential customers is undergoing an unprecedented metamorphosis. More and more, people are switching off traditional medias and changing their information consumption patterns which in turn is altering their relationship with brands.
Meanwhile, many corporations still burdened with classic marketeers formerly of the sales, product or clinical ilk, are struggling to stretch beyond classical thinking and tools (brochures, trade shows and spec sheets, etc…). They are unable to engage in the new currency of Content and are hesitant to embrace the new social and interactive mediums. In some cases it is an age or generational gap that limits an organization’s ability to change its marketing model. In others it is a skills gap that cannot immediately be overcome through training. Fresh thinking, new skills and alternate profiles are needed to effectively navigate and capitalize on the promise of Inbound Marketing. Skills and perspectives that may be at odds with or missing in today’s corporate talent pool. Among these new skills for a new era, three of them stand out as must haves for any marketeer who professes to embrace the notion of deeper customer engagement.
1. Publication / authoring of actual content. Instead of delegating to agencies or professional writers, tomorrow’s marketeers will need to play an active part in generating content for their products and editing the contributions of others. They will need to roll up their sleeves and regularly develop engaging content on topics prized by their target audience.
2. Curation / content management. With so much new content coming on line New Era Marketeers will need to carefully manage a tsunami of information coming at them from multiple mediums. More than pure content authors, they will need to become librarians bringing order and structure to diverse ideas and concepts. More than airline pilots, they will need to become air traffic controllers carefully coordinating the ebb and flow of flights on the ground and in the air.
3. Communication / customer dialog and engagement. Above all, New Era customer interaction will become bi- directional and will require shorter but more frequent conversations with the target audience. A new dialogue will emerge based on trust, insight sharing, education and a commitment to shared interests.
Photo courtesy of Stuck in Customs at Photopin