The future of marketing

I am neither a prophet nor a psychic, but, along with my teams at Fallon and Mullen, found myself on the front end of several big trends:  BMW Films pioneered content-driven marketing, winning at Cannes, the One Show, and a Super Reggie, along with receiving considerable media coverage; in 2002 we helped Citibank’s credit card business start a conversation about using credit wisely — oh, if we had only pushed a little harderand, MassMutual’s newly launched brand effort set the company apart as a good decision just as the economy began to slide in 2008.

So what is the future of marketing? Hopefully you can start to find some answers to this question in these themes from the 2012 FutureM conference hosted by the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX).

  1. To take advantage of new technologies, you need a mission and a smart, meaningful strategy. Both will help you manage increasing complexity by giving you a lens for deciding what to pursue and to what degree. Without them you chance waste, risk, and missed opportunities.
  2. Technology is making it more possible to have a personal relationship with customers than ever before, but beware of the danger in that opportunity. You may cross the line and not realize it until it is too late. Ask your customers to help you find that line.
  3. The way people shop will continue to create incremental opportunities. While data to understand those opportunities seems endless and tools to tap them are getting increasingly sophisticated, you will actually have less control. Joe Chernov put it well when he said that buyers no longer need sellers, that buyers can find things on their own, and that sellers are now only a source of procurement. It calls for emphasizing service and the user experience in your marketing.
  4. You will need to place much greater emphasis on learning and understanding than you ever have before. The true behavioral, social and psychological impact of new technologies on your customers, as well as your employees, is an unwritten chapter. And, it will have many dimensions. Somebody in your marketing organization needs to own this. And, he or she needs a voice at the table.

© 2012 Development Practice 360, LLC

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