The Changing Role of Marketing in a Consumer-Driven World

 In Strategy and Go to Market

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It’s no surprise when Twitter, one of the most popular sites on the Internet, introduced advertising to monetize their traffic. So why did it make news? It’s because their advertising model epitomizes the seismic shift currently taking place, a clear sign of the changing the role of marketing.

In today’s hyper-connected world, brand and advertisers have less influence and control; it’s all about the consumer.

Through Promoted Tweets, advertisers can target millions of Twitter users.  If a consumer searches something that is relevant to company’s products and services, a promoted Tweet shows up.  For example, if a user looks for coffee, a Starbucks‘ Promoted Tweet shows up in the results.  It works much like the the Google model.

However, it’s not just about getting the message of the promoter out; these Tweets need to be useful to the visitor.  If not, they will not be shown.  It’s that simple.

Changing Role of Marketing Means the End of Mass Marketing

In this next era of marketing, companies need to engage and address consumer needs and interests.  And in all communications.  If not, they risk credibility and will quickly become irrelevant. The days of generating one-to-many discussions– mass broadcasts, mass advertising or press releases are certainly numbered.

It’s more and more about creating an ongoing dialogue with customers.

Success hinges on productive consumer relationships.  Developing relationships will be necessary and will  allow companies to stay on top of customer preferences and concerns.  In turn, they’ll have the understanding on how best deliver on evolving requirements.

The Changing Role of Marketing is a Conversation WITH the Consumer

You can no longer carefully craft your message, buy ad space or radio or TV time, and assume your message will be heard. Instead, today’s audiences are fragmented using a wide spectrum of information channels.  They also want to hear from you on their own terms.

Foremost, this means that you need to figure out where customers spend their time.

Perhaps they are on Facebook, where users post more than 55 million daily updates. where they share more than 3.5 billion pieces of content weekly.  Perhaps consumers uses mobile phones, sending one of the daily 2.5 billion text messages. (Blackberry)

Next, customers need to determine how regularly they want to hear from you.  Alternatively, they may want to come to you instead.  This is the case for more than 93,000 people who submitted questions to a new “Open for Questions” section on a 100,000 questions appeared within just 48 hours.

Or it could be they would like the convenience of your information within in regular activities, such as checking Twitter.

Regardless of your communications channels, the key is to not just talk.  You also need to listen. The changing role of marketing requires organizations to engage.  If customers have problems, acknowledge and fix them.  The happy upside is that you learn from them.

Just ask Frank Eliason, a customer service representative for Comcast.  He saw that many Comcast customers posted their frustrations on Twitter.  Hence he reached out with a simple question, “How can I help you?” He then responded to each and every Tweet and resolved their issues. He now has close to 42,000 people who follow him. And Frank is now one of the go-to resources for Comcast customers looking for help.

The changing role of marketing really means that marketing does not end when a lead goes to a sales team.  It means that everything an organization does, everything that touches a customer — is marketing.

We expect that we’re really only at the beginning of this customer revolution.


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