Even a quick flick through the marketing trade press will leave the reader with the impression that marketing best practice is changing.
The globalisation of brands and the impact of digital technologies have combined to drive greater market potential and lightning-speed, interactive communications.
Now, everything’s viral, multiplatform, connected, social, and as more emphasis is placed upon the importance of the digital channels, even the Chartered Institute of Marketing has issued new professional standards, designed to help marketers develop mastery at the highest level of knowledge and application.
Added to that, New Media has become the hallowed ground for the world’s advertising and marketing agencies. But for all that, the stats appear to tell a more balanced story.
In the hope of impressing several million potential car-buyers, Land Rover recently launched an Instagram campaign to take the user on an ‘adventure’ as they jumped from one uploaded picture of a vehicle to another. The campaign inspired plaudits from advertising execs the world over. It was ‘groundbreaking’, ‘original’ and front-runner for ‘campaign of the year’.
The reality was less impressive. With only 5000 ‘adventures’ undertaken, whilst it may have delighted in creative circles, it’s audience reach was, by advertising standards, a complete disaster.
The purpose of marketing and advertising, is to combine to deliver the audience for the client and then persuade them how to act. Core strategy plays an essential, informing role and all marketing communications should be consistent with it. Developing a clear and engaging value proposition and engagement plan remains at the centre of the true marketer’s existence. Creating brand awareness, developing customer conversion, retention and advocacy will always be the goals, no matter the century we operate in; and the brave, new, digital world should be embraced, only if it delivers against them.
So is marketing really changing? The answer is that fundamentally, it remains the same. New technologies and the opportunities that come with them, will come and go and the application of strategy will come and go with them, but core strategy, driven by clear business objectives and deep customer insights is, and always will, be king.