Every now and then, I like to summarise what my key thoughts are marketing. Or, at least jot down a whole heap of big picture ideas about the world, and their implications on marketing.
So here goes for July 2007:
1. Green Marketing is a necessity.
- The way that we’re living now is simply unsustainable. There will need to be some massive changes culturally, and a huge challenge for designers, marketers, people – all of us.
- But Green Marketing has just begun. The Green tipping point has not yet arrived (I was wrong). Despite a huge amount of progress in 2007, Green marketing is still in it’s infancy.
- Companies that have solid green marketing strategies in place are very much in the minority.
- Business should be going green because it is the right thing to do. But also because it’s such a big opportunity.
- And, hey, isn’t it a nice thought that we can use our skills for good rather than evil?
2. We’re moving away from a globalised marketing world. People were buying cheap, mass produced and mass marketed products, but that’s changing. Why?
- Local is the key word – We’re moving back to see a return to localised production, reduced food miles, and avoiding excessive transportation (of products and ourselves).
- Having said that, tiny business can promote themselves and sell over the world – known as the Global Microbrand – which means it is a great time for small businesses to thrive.
- The Longtail – The internet brings with it unlimited distribution, so we’re not limited to the top-selling items anymore. Which leads to greater individualised tastes, the rise of niche markets and the ‘boutique generation‘.
- The large corporations have a bad reputation – Consumers are preferring something produced locally than in a sweatshop in Asia.
3. Word of Mouth Marketing has always been good. These days it’s a whole lot better.
- Traditional advertising doesn’t work like it used to. Nowadays people are better at avoiding it than ever before.
- So we have to go back to Word of Mouth – recommendations from our friends and colleagues. It has always been way more powerful than advertising.
- The internet speeds up the Word of Mouth process exponentially. Look at the current growth of social media (like Facebook for example). So if you can turn your customers into passionate fans of your brand, you’ll receive plenty of positive Word of Mouth.
- Honest, authentic and socially responsible brands are the only ones that can win. It’s just too easy for us to spread negative word of mouth about unethical brands.
- The bottom line: You can’t create a word of mouth marketing campaign unless you are word-of-mouth worthy.
4. Web 2.0 and the internet has changed the marketing game.
- Marketing is longer one way, and a ‘broadcast marketing’ mentality is no longer working.
- It’s now about having a conversation, whether on blogs, social networks, virtual worlds or even offline.
- Consumers are so much more connected than ever before. Which means that top-down, dumbed-down marketing doesn’t really cut it. We need to be having two-way conversations with our customers. Or they’ll go elsewhere.
- And we need to be developing communities with our customers.
- Even better, why not co-create? It’s no longer just about listening and talking to your customers. Why not get them involved in creating and promoting your brand (take a look at what the Threadless guys are doing, or even Nikon’s recent efforts).
- The rules change every week – This week it’s Facebook, next week it could be something else. But web 2.0 isn’t really about the newest website, it’s about connecting people. That’s where the true value of the internet lies.
5. At the end of the day, it’s just about being a ‘Nice Guy’
- Big or Small, the businesses that are going to do well are those that act nice – ie socially, environmentally and ethically responsible.
- Mass marketing forgot about the human voice. We’d much prefer to deal with humans than corporations, so brands that act human have a huge head-start.
- Likewise, businesses that are always ‘Marketing’ are like people who always talk about themselves. Pretty Dull.
- Is your brand a Nice Guy? If you met your brand at a party, what would you think of them?
6. ALL of these thoughts are inter-realated
- A groundswell of people will connect, online and offline, and be part.
- They will be using the web, and spreading ideas via word of mouth.
- We will all be working together to move towards a sustainable existence.
- Marketers can continue to be part of the problem, or they can be part of the solution.
- So the future for marketing is to be honest, decent, transparent, and human.
7. What better time has there been to be involved marketing!
I’m serious about this last point. Who would have thought that an industry like marketing might just have a positive influence on the world?
I’d love to hear some of your thoughts and comments about all this, as well as some ideas of your own. Don’t be shy – leave me a comment.