Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Concept of "Connected Marketing" in Short


The world is never going to be a simple place. People's requirements are complex. Not only human beings, even animal's requirements are more complex than before. Marketing also have passed several iterations of changes but the core of marketing has not being changed. I liked one of the quotes a lecturer in my MBA mentioned which is, "Marketing is common sense, common sense that is not so common". It is indeed understanding people, needs, community and trying to cater the best product or service. Also, to sustain the connection you had with the individual or community by keeping them nurturing. Another angle would be to understand human psychology and influence on it to create awareness and help them to success their goals. There are tools to help marketing products or services, but if you think clearly, it's really the common sense that help to achieve the actual results.

Today we are connected with the world in many ways. That itself brings a big challenge to marketing our product/service/brand/etc as the competitors also have the same amount of resources to connect with the customer. Connecting with a customer for lifetime would be the ultimate success of the business in the long run.

It's obvious that now days we use Internet to connect with the rest of the world more than other conventional method such as snail mails, postcards, telegrams, etc. A Computer is now a house appliance and Internet is the connecting medium. Well, with all the information we've shared, many entities know almost all the details of individuals to a greater extent. Eg: Pizza hut maintains a detail level records of what you ordered, when, delivered locations, etc.

In business we use connecting technologies to connect with Customers, Partners and world around us. We use TV, CD/DVDs, cell phones, fax, web, virtual reality displays, etc to communicate about the product or service. Not like in past, organizations now segment the market and connecting with selective customer base to talk about their product/service.

Connecting for a Lifetime

In today's marketing, companies being more selective about which customers they should serve. Companies dig deeper to customer needs and trying to build a long lasting relationship. Not like in mass marketing, this effort is to ensure that the selected customer will retain for a longer period, by managing the lifetime value of a customer. When a business do better in keeping old customers happy makes the competitors very difficult to find new customers. As the loyalty of the customers increases credibility of the business also increases. Hence, businesses now days trying to grow the "share of customer" instead of "share of market". They try to find needs of existing customers and provide products or services to satisfy those needs. If you look at Amazon (http://amazon.com), they started as online bookseller and now sells many other things to keep their customers engaged.

Connecting with Stakeholders

Stakeholders includes people are from inside and outside of the company (Staff, partners, board, customers, community, etc). In default scenario, marketing folks helps to bridge the consumer and a particular product team/department to coordinate the need and supply chain. Also in some organizations almost everyone is playing a marketing role to some extend. Eg: Software companies like WSO2 Inc have people who plays cross roles. Engineering team helps a lot in Marketing where they attend in Webinars, writing blog posts about products, etc which are not directly related to Engineering. So it's all connected, Marketing, sales, manufacturing, engineering and list can go on.

Strategic alliances have become a need in most of the companies. For example, most of the big companies are at least have a single partner. Strategic partnerships are playing some sort of an role in any type of business in a given time. A business to grow successfully the connection with stakeholders have to be strong and long lasting. Poor communication with stakeholders also a huge indirect cost to an organization.

Even though we think we know all the fancy theories of marketing we fail most of the time because we have not focused on the "common sense". Understanding how world is changing and filling the need gap is going to be one of the big challenges for Marketeers. No matter how good your marketing/corporate plan is, if you don't have the common sense and do not have the understanding of connected marketing, the probability of failure is very high. Marketing is not just sending bunch of mails to a set of email addresses in a database, street promotions, advertising or fancy conferences. It includes a challenging task of understanding human needs and connecting with them for lifetime (B2B or B2C).

This post is just to scratch the surface of the whole Connected Marketing concept. This does not cover the methods on how to successfully market your product/service. As one of the basic principles in marketing, if you understand that "Everything in marketing starts and ends with the customer", you can go a long way as a successful connected business.

Happy year 2014!