The path to salvation is not through being quiet; one needs to strive, reach out and endeavour. This is very true as far as marketing is concerned and therefore every entity, be it a local supermarket or an MNC, struggles to help us know they even exist. In this pursuit, they resort to one mantra – sell, sell and sell. The selling approach has evolved over time but the struggle has prevailed nonetheless. In conventional marketing, the emphasis is on selling whereas in new age marketing, more importance is given to customer satisfaction. Previously, the products were aggressively promoted on the mass media viz. TV, radio, banners and posters, newspapers and magazines. More reliance was on a thirty second advertisement on television. The major concern seems to be, in traditional marketing, visibility. But now with the advent of the internet and social media, marketing is modernised and is continuously being reinvented. In new age marketing, the focus is more on understanding the needs and desires of customers, satisfying those needs, getting feedbacks and building lasting relationships with the customers.
Internet; what is so amazing out there? Roughly about 40% of the world’s population has an online presence. They all search for information over the World Wide Web to compare products, make buying decisions or even to make a purchase and the search engines are in possession of this information. Using this information, a business organisation could target only those customers who are of its interest. The internet has a huge audience as does television, but the bang for buck is more for the internet marketing because the online advertisements are very specific unlike the TV ads. This type of target marketing saves time and money for both marketers and consumers. Google has capitalised heavily on AdSense and AdWords and has been continuously innovating to ensure better service for its clients as well as users. Out of all internet users, approximately about 70% use social networks and spend most of the time on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Tumblr etc. According to Pew Research Center, there are about 1.2 billion Facebook users worldwide and more than 95% of them are aged less than 30 years, the average amount of time spent by a Facebook user is 15 hours and 33 minutes per month, total number of YouTube page views per month is 92 billion. With such demographics and statistics come some of the greatest of opportunities for the marketers. Also on these social media, users reveal a lot of relevant information as to their interests, likes, envies, age, gender, place, education etc. This platform not only helps marketers better understand the needs and desires of the customers but also get their feedbacks. Thus, with all the sensitive and relevant information beforehand, marketers could make better products, give better services and achieve better customer satisfaction.
Nowadays, in the marketing world, there is an increasing emphasis on brand positioning i.e. the target customers’ reason to associate with a brand in preference to others’. Through careful and strategic set of marketing activities, brands are made to occupy distinctive place and value in the customers’ mind. At the same time consumers have a strong tendency to avoid advertisements. In such a scenario, marketers have had to ensure that ads do not seem ads and hence the process of disguising ads has given birth to a new marketing concept- Product Placement. Product placement or embedded marketing lays emphasis on making ads less advertorial by creating ads that are stories, mini movies, and real life scenarios. When James Bond endorses Omega wrist watches or the famous Bruce Wayne drives a Lamborghini or the Ironman himself drives an Audi, the audience connect to that scene; build a perception about that brand in their minds. Product placement is a mega industry in itself that creates new identities for brands and increases revenues manifold for the movies. This sort of co-promotion/co-branding has become a trend. On an average, a blockbuster movie partners with more than a dozen brands for promotion. Also, we see franchises like McDonalds partnering with movies for co-promotion and we see celebrities using/promoting certain brands in the middle of a movie. At this juncture, comes one more interesting marketing concept- Neuromarketing.
Neuromarketing is the marriage of brain science and marketing. This field of study answers the questions like why a consumer desires a product and when does he need it the most. Activity tests (MRI scans while being shown a series of mini-films) are carried out on a sample set of people to identify the emotional peaks in the story and this helps to find the best scene and apt time to pitch the product and thus it also helps create more and more memorable and impactful ad campaigns each time. Does it ring a bell? Why these techniques are being adapted? Yes, to advertise without letting the customers know they are being shown an advertisement. Yes, it’s true; marketers are adapting new and complex scientific techniques to dig into consumers’ subconscious minds to make the art of selling more creative and data driven. Many questions might arise: are marketers being manipulative? Is this ethically, socially and morally correct? That’s for readers (and the consumers themselves) to decide.
Marketing activities make customers think; somehow products are connected to their sense of well-being and the sense of happiness. The key here is, it’s not the product or a service that makes a customer happy but what makes a customer happy is how that product is perceived, the sense of joy and pride that comes by being associated with that product/brand. With all the new and fancy marketing techniques, where does the traditional marketing feature in? As mentioned earlier visibility is a requisite for any marketing activity to be successful and the brands could effectively make us feel their presence using the old techniques viz. TV advertisements, banners and posters, newspapers and magazines. I would like give an interesting example as to what happens when one of the traditional advertising techniques is ripped off.
Sao Paolo is one of the largest cities in the western hemisphere and a tourism hub; thus a potential marketplace for all sorts of sellers. The city administration of Sao Paolo has banned all forms of outdoor advertisements in a move to fight against visual pollution. There are no banners, no posters, no billboards, no ads on buses and taxis- absolutely no outdoor ads. The revenues, after the ban, of all kinds of stores, boutiques, hotels, restaurants etc… have taken a toll. Sellers in Sao Paolo are now immensely reliant on digital marketing and word of mouth marketing. So what does this tell us? The effectiveness of a marketing activity is dependent on both traditional marketing and digital marketing. Maybe that is why marketers are trying to rediscover traditional media. In fact, conventional advertising and commercials still has the lion’s share of the marketplace—almost double the digital media advertising in terms of money spent. The bottom line is that television and print media are still important because in a world where content is king, television networks and print media publishing houses are some of the best mass content producers. In the world we live in, both credibility and visibility are of utmost importance. A brand cannot be credible unless it is visible and once it is visible, it ought to be credible.