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Forget about consumers and start engaging with people

There's so much discussion about the changes and related challenges marketers are facing in this highly connected, post-recessionary, networked age. What follows is a summary of an interesting book called "Marketing 3.0, From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit" by Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, Iwan Setiawan. It basically explains that the history of marketing has followed three main stages and I will attempt to summarise my learnings. Sincere apologies to the authors for any misrepresentation.
Forget about consumers and start engaging with people
Marketing 1.0 emerged from the Industrial Revolution, during which time marketers sold goods with product-centric promotions, urging consumers to compare prices and quality. This paradigm was based on one brand talking to many consumers.

Technology initiated a shift to Marketing 2.0, which set out to satisfy consumers with brands that addressed both their functional and emotional needs. The rise of the Internet empowered people to access vast amounts of new information. To differentiate brands, marketers added emotion and began talking more directly to their target markets. Brands in this phase of marketing's evolution worked hard to establish relationships with individual customers.

New-wave technology has now enabled Marketing 3.0. While consumers will always want products to work well for a reasonable price, they now also expect brands and their organisations to keep them in the loop via social networking. In addition, they expect brands to engage with them with like-minded values. Marketing 3.0 is based on engaging in a many-to-many relationship with consumers, featuring functional, emotional and spiritual connections with communities.

The main forces propelling Marketing 3.0
  1. Participation
    Access to better, cheaper technology makes it easier for people to connect in communities. Improved collaboration has fostered social media while blunting traditional advertising's impact. Corporate marketers and research and development specialists have lost power.

  2. Globalisation
    Globalisation has facilitated trade and communication across borders, but it has not resolved issues of nationalism and economic inequality. To bridge this gap, brands should focus on cultures and social issues in their communications.

  3. Creative society
    Individuals are naturally creative beings. As people attain material success, they increasingly seek creative and spiritual fulfillment and are more likely to respond to marketing based on values and meaning. However, creative innovations also often emerge in poor countries to solve problems.

So what does all that mean to the marketer? Kotler, Kartajaya and Setiawan propose us marketers consider the following important Marketing 3.0 guidelines:
  1. Focus on your customers and recognise the value of your competitors
  2. Be aware of change and be ready to respond to it
  3. Protect your reputation and create a strong brand identity
  4. Market first to consumers who will gain the most from your products
  5. Sell the best products and services at a fair price
  6. Be accessible to your customers, and make it easy for potential customers to find you
  7. Establish, maintain and strengthen good customer relationships
  8. Recognise that all businesses are service businesses
  9. Keep perfecting your operations, product quality, cost controls and delivery systems
  10. Always consider the ramifications of your choices
For me the main take-out of the book is that marketers have to create spaces where brand communities can engage with people and their personal network. It's no longer about a brand talking to target consumers but rather brands and the brand community engaging in a safe and symbiotic space with people and their communities. At Gullan&Gullan we would also suggest that once all your research, brand plans and strategies have been developed, take a step back and use wisdom and intuition to make your final decisions. And of course, make sure that your brand strategies are brand-centric™ and consistent across all touch points with all "stake-communities".

22 Nov 2010 21:50


About the author

Desirée Gullan is the Creative Director of Gullan&Gullan Advertising (Pty) Ltd. Gullan&Gullan's propriety brand-centric™ methodology forms the basis of every communication service ensuring that brand equity is enhanced through congruent, consistent expression at every touch point from above and below the line, online, and brand experiences. Visit www.gullanandgullan.com, email or call 011 887 6591.