Evolution of Marketing

I just read an interesting email newsletter from Forrester Research about the evolution of marketing. Historically, marketing was a one way street where companies pushed everything to consumers; this was done on and offline.  Now as the online experience evolves consumers and marketers begin to develope “relationships”.  These relationships grow as consumers actively engage with a companies brand .

As I can’t provide a link to the newsletter—here is a cut and paste of the content:

Direct marketers and market researchers unearth deep client needs. Leading direct marketers already combine Web clicks with purchase and loyalty data to unearth a consumer’s interaction with the brand. But BrandIntel went a step further and recorded the content that users generated and other consumers read. It could then analyze what its customers really wanted and why one production flopped — Snakes on a Plane — and another succeeded — Heroes. Direct marketers will also use this data to find brand ambassadors and pamper them.

eCommerce professionals drive online sales with personalization. More than a third of Web visitors will make a purchase after seeing a personalized recommendation. eCommerce professionals can boost online sales with one-to-one personalization, such as individual homepages at Amazon.com, or one-to-many personalization, such as Virgin’s mobile offers based on someone’s home address. These firms base personalization on engagement — how the consumer behaves on their site.

Customer experience professionals innovate the brand. Whirlpool observed people at home and used the results to develop a new sub-brand — Gladiator — with fridges for men in their garages. To meet these uncovered needs, customer experience professionals will develop a disruptive strategy, simplifying the interaction, amplifying the service elements, and repositioning the brand overall.

Interactive marketers drive a better online experience. With 80% of consumers visiting manufacturers’ sites to learn about products and services, a firm’s online presence is the ideal starting point for repositioning. Firms can improve their online engagement with their customers, inviting them to offer input for brand values and product strategies in an online community, as Lego and Dell have done.

Marketing leaders steer based on hard data. Measuring engagement will take the guesswork out of budget allocation.  Engagement can drive awareness, transactions, brand preference, and loyalty. But each of these objectives requires a different approach and investment in people, processes, and technology. Marketing leaders from firms like CompUSA and BMW prioritized one goal, chose a very specific set of tools and vendors, and successfully moved the needle on transactions and loyalty, respectively.

What’s a widget worth?

According to (Business week- Jan 2008), the view/usage of widgets has doubled from July to November 2007 with an estimated 586 million unique views. This is primarily due to the explosion of Facebook.

In the same time, the dollar spend by advertising companies on social networking websites is expected to rise to $1.56 billion in 2008. But is this good value for money for the advertisers?

Do we know what a Facebook user is worth? I suppose it gets to the heart of what is a user is doing on a social website? What are their behaviour patterns, do we fully understand how users currently engage within these social communities? Do they even see the advertisements or have the widget ads long faded into the backdrop like the mighty banner ads of 2003?

To combat the users desire to not click on ads, I sometimes wonder if marketers are banking on the effectiveness of subliminal messages.

2008 is going to be interesting year while widget makers and social marketing website will have to “show us the numbers” if they want continue to demand high premiums for their advertising space.

As a side, I always enjoyed this video on the Power of Subliminal Advertising.

Influencer’s Theory

A long, but interesting read of Duncan Watt disputing Malcolm Gladwell’s influencer’s theory.

“If society is ready to embrace a trend, almost anyone can start one–and if it isn’t, then almost no one can,” Watts concludes. To succeed with a new product, it’s less a matter of finding the perfect hipster to infect and more a matter of gauging the public’s mood. Sure, there’ll always be a first mover in a trend. But since she generally stumbles into that role by chance, she is, in Watts’s terminology, an “accidental Influential.”


I’d be curious to hear thoughts—I think a key missing element with the Madonna theory is that the influencer’s in that situation may have been media (MTV or radio) that played something over and over again until became a hit. How does the media powerhouse influence trends?