If we can learn one thing from Back to the Future II, it’s that knowing the future can be quite lucrative, even if your name is Biff. Marketing is one of those interesting fields that’s under a continual evolution. Don’t believe me? Just go ask a door-to-door brush salesman. What’s that? Oh yeah, they’re not around anymore.
How then, you ask, can we be prepared for the next stage in marketing evolution? What’s our version of Gray’s Sports Almanac? What’s our crystal ball? Good questions! What we have is the power to harness and interpret metrics, and observe trends displayed by online users around the world - in real-time. Imagine what a brush salesman would have been able to do with a foreknowledge of which houses to visit! Data-driven marketing facilitates a bidirectionally positive connection between businesses and consumers in two ways:
1. Businesses can ensure that they’re focusing their primary efforts on attracting customers who are actually interested in what they’re offering, and,
2. Interested customers can more easily find the businesses that ideally fit their needs.
That’s called a win-win, and it’s what the future looks like.
Harnessing and interpreting, however, are only one part of the marketing evolution. It’s also critical to identify which tools will best reach that goal. Let’s be really honest with our collective selves: we’re fickle about social platforms. We’re eager to jump on the newest social networking trend, and we completely forget about what we used to use (Friendster, anyone?? Myspace?). To that end, it’s a good idea for the content of your marketing not to be completely tied up in the network per se, but to be adaptable across platforms - future-proof, as it were. That's not to say that we think Facebook is going anywhere soon (it's not), but depending on what type of business you own, you might even find better results on a different network.
This is a hard pill for a lot of businesses to swallow. Specifically, when a business has poured years into developing an online base through a singular social network; the idea of that network becoming passé is fairly off-putting. But let’s get a little perspective, huh? Allan H. Mogensen made his life’s work (1901-1989) the study of work simplification, and coined a phrase you’ve probably heard before: “Work smarter, not harder.” But Mogy also had another little gem, that described fairly succinctly how we often react to suggestions of change: “First of all, we resist anything that is new; secondly, we resent all criticism.”
The main thing to remember is that preparing for the future of marketing isn’t just about shaking things up for the sake of it. It’s about meeting needs. By streamlining our processes and ridding ourselves of redundancies, we can offer better, quicker, smarter services. With the available tools and knowledge, we can be there for our customers when they need us, where they need us - and they won’t feel like they have to introduce themselves to us every time we meet.
Ready to face a brave new world? Excellent! Let’s make a pact not be the extinct brush salesmen of the future.
Want to learn more? We've got you covered. Check out our guide - The Future of Marketing, which covers these topics and more in much greater depth!
Little Bird's Ponderings from the Perch Podcast also regularly discusses how the future impacts marketing and vice-versa. Subscribe to get all the pertinent info!