During the old days, traditional marketing was king. Whatever the television, radio, magazines, and billboards were selling, consumers knew they had to have it, or else by definition, they wouldn’t be living the so-called good life. They were always made to feel like they were missing out on what everyone else was currently and effortlessly enjoying. Even if they didn’t know they wanted it in the first place, they’d figure it out later with the latest commercial or magazine cover.
All that has since changed with the rise of digital marketing and how it became responsible for taking the consumer from being a member of the audience to the main player onstage.
The evolution of customer behaviour
Before the birth of digital marketing, the interaction between marketers and consumers was very much one-sided. Traditional marketing defined what consumers wanted or ought to want. They defined it through the average American family. Being white and having a house in the suburbs with at least one car and one dog meant that you had made it and would live the rest of your life as the object of everyone else’s envy.
Now, things have taken quite the 180-degree turn. Digital channels have opened the conversation on both sides and consumers are now the ones leading it. The rise of social media has given the consumer the power to define what is “trending” and marketers are scrambling to be part of the dialogue. And scrambling isn’t an exaggeration; it’s getting more and more difficult to stay relevant in a consumer’s life, even if it’s just aspects of their life, whether it’s at work, entertainment, or their day-to-day routine. There is so much content being created than its audience knows what to do with, and it’s crucial to be compelling enough to catch even just a portion of their attention for a portion of their day.
Facebook’s ‘Share’ button, Twitter’s ‘Retweet’, and Instagram’s ‘Like’ are giving consumers the power to express what they find interesting. The content with the most Shares, Retweets, and Likes is what is called ‘trending’—meaning it’s what everyone is talking about. Consumers are no longer interested in what businesses have to sell, instead businesses have to sell what consumers are currently interested in. And “currently” is an important word. If a family and a house in the suburbs with Fido and a Volvo was the end-goal then, nowadays the end-goal can be anything and it can last for as long as 24 hours. The next day, everyone has already moved on to the next great thing, which, to every marketer everywhere is dismay, can be anything. That’s why it is very important for sellers, with the help of their marketers, to be one-step ahead in appeasing their customers.
The effects on the digital landscape
Despite what seemed to be such a complete change in the game, companies noted that the 4 P’s of marketing (product, price, placement, and promotion) are still relevant. What was very important to consider was delivering these to the right audience, in the right words, through the right platform, and all in the right time— thus, essentially meant that marketers had to find a way to adapt quickly. This is called ‘agile marketing’.
A study has shown that two-thirds of interactions and touchpoints are consumer-driven. A better part of the fate of a business rests on the following: customer-written Internet reviews, recommendations from trusted sources such as friends and family members, and a customer’s personal experience and interactions with their brand. While businesses still have a third of influence over consumers, that last push needed to completely shift a customer’s purchasing decision is being ready to influence them across different touchpoints. Agile marketing gives you that ability and an agile digital strategy encompasses five areas: listening to what your consumers are talking about, taking what you heard and responding to it in real time (through social media), adapting to what you heard your consumers are saying, measuring the data you receive from your consumers’ behaviours in order to strategize future marketing plans, and anticipating customer needs.
The importance of Big Data
Big Data has become the basis for a company’s competition and growth. It enhances productivity while increasing the quality of products and services, and creates a significant value for the world economy by reducing waste.
According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) and McKinsey & Company’s Business Technology Office, the large pools of data generated and analysed for insights has become crucial to businesses, government, and consumers. Big Data has the ability to transform lives and companies need to take it and its value-creating potential seriously to have an edge among its competitors.
But it’s not only companies and organisations who have a chance at gaining from the value that Big Data can create. Consumers can also reap highly significant benefits. One example is the creation of the app Waze. Its smart routing paired with real-time traffic information has proven to be a big time saver in people’s routines and time saved is money earned, as they say. Another example would be Big Data’s impact on healthcare. It can prove beneficial to patients who would have a greater access to a variety of healthcare information. Patients would be able to not only compare the prices of medicine, treatment, and doctors, but also enabling them to choose each one in a way that is more effective and customised to their own genetic make-up.