The Economist Intelligence Unit has interviewed six marketing visionaries who are sharing their insights of what the future of marketing looks like. The “Future of Marketing” initiative is sponsored by Marketo, and publishes conversations with Seth Godin, John Hagel, Aditya Joshi, Marc Mathieu, Jim Stengel and myself. It makes for great, and varied reading, with each person taking a particular path to the future:
- Seth Godin encourages us to make stories worth telling. He argues that marketing is about everything and that today’s marketer must be embedded within what the company makes, working and pushing towards what the customer wants.
- John Hagel says that marketing is just experiencing the tip of the iceberg in terms of transformative change. We are going to see more marketers having to work with what he calls the “three As” – attract, assist, affiliate. The “power of pull” means we need to work to attract customers, help pre and post purchase, and find new models to help customers help each other.
- Gavin Heaton discusses PANDA – a framework for the future of marketing. Tapping into purpose, analytics, networks, digital and art (yes art), marketing will not only remain relevant as a business and consumer facing profession, it will help drive brands and companies to deliver greater value to its stakeholders, customers and networks.
- Aditya Joshi looks at the skill base at the marketers of the future. And by future, he means now. Clearly we need to be investing in marketing teams to build out strategic thinking, analysis capabilities to derive insights and develop actionable plans and technology abilities to help organisations straddle marketing and IT.
- Marc Mathieu also speaks of massive change. Technology is infusing how we connect with people, learn from them, connect with entrepreneurs and engage with audiences. But perhaps the most challenging aspect is a central shift in purpose – “Marketing used to be about creating a myth and selling; now it’s about finding a truth and sharing it”.
- Jim Stengel breaks the future into three components, personalisation, automation and purpose (yes it’s a theme). He also flags storytelling as a mechanism to encompass the whole approach. “You don’t have a story unless you have purpose, have ambition, and are trying to make a difference in the world. More and more, people care about where brands come from”.
Take your time and read one of these interviews per day. There are insights that you don’t need to wait five years for – they are practices that you can embed in your thinking now and prepare for out to 2020. After all, the future is a moving feast. Take your seat at the table.
Around this time of year we often see the announcement of new books being published, new music being released and new films arriving in the cinemas – all in time for the holiday season. It’s the marketer’s year end rush – our attempt to stake our claim for your attention and your wallet. But this year, there are some differences – with a number of free alternatives bypassing their claim over our hard-earned income, hoping instead to capture our imagination.
Top of my reading list this holiday season are:
Valeria Maltoni is also pulling together a year-end, crowdsourced collection just in time for the holidays. Keep your eyes out for this – it’s due any day now!
With publishing tools now readily available, I am surprised that more brands don’t pull together some sort of publication for their customers at year end. Agencies too. It is a GREAT alternative to the staid Christmas card. And while I know that the last weeks of December are fraught with activity, going that extra step to provide your business stakeholders with an unexpected, branded gift such as an eBook shows that you understand that the new currency is not FREE but all about VALUE.
Anyone involved in marketing, in transformation or change management knows that there is a simple fact – change is hard. Getting someone to understand that their product, job or world has changed is an enormous challenge. It requires not just logic, but also an emotional response. We need to change our hearts as well as our minds – and it is easy for us to KNOW something but very difficult for us to ACT on that knowledge.
What we need to do is swallow the truth. We need to consume it, to bring it into the depths of our beings. We need to give “new truth” the chance to spread through every fibre, infect every synapse and tingle each fold of skin.
And you know what? Our “gut” tells us a great deal about the “truthiness” of truth. Items that are unsavoury are expelled quickly in an impulsive response. “Heavy” items are digested slowly and over time.
Seth Godin suggests that the future is just like the past, but shinier:
Your industry has been completely and permanently altered by the connections offered by the internet. Your non-profit, your political campaign, your service business. Not a little different, not just email enabled or website marketed, but overhauled.
But the future – or more precisely, the true future, is not just shiny. It is tasty. We are hungry for it and for the sustenance it brings. Ask yourself not just how you are forging a future for yourself, your business and your community – also ask exactly what it is that we should swallow. If it’s not the truth, it won’t stay down for long!