In case you missed it, there is a fundamental shift in the world of marketing. A shift that has moved us from a synchronous environment to an asynchronous environment. A shift that, if we don’t adjust as marketers, could be the demise of our organizations.
Synchronous environments are where things are happening at the same time. This is where the brand and the consumers are working hand-in-hand in the marketplace. Neither is moving faster than the other, and both are sending and receiving information at the same rate of speed. This is what the market looked like in the 80s and early 90s. In asynchronous environments, the power is no longer equal and shifts over to the consumer. This is where the consumer sends and receives information faster than the brands. Think about it…consumers now control and dictate our every move as brands. A prime example is the new Samsung “Life Simulator” commercial…I mean what brand builds a phone that can withstand mud, water, ketchup, mustard and dog licks?!?!? But, research shows us that 33 percent of people either lose or break their phone accidentally. I’m sure Samsung would like to invest that money elsewhere, but when the consumer speaks, you don’t just listen you have to react.
In today’s market, we have bloggers who are more trusted and can have a greater influence than the actual brands themselves. We have everyday citizens who can be classified as field reporters, because we see their photos and videos appearing across multiple media outlets. We have countless internet and social media outlets that are now our first source of news and information. And, if we as brands receive enough comments or complaints, we’ll actually change our business practices.
Don’t get me wrong, as I am a fan of this fundamental shift. But what we need to do as marketers is adjust with the changes in the marketplace, and adapt our business models. In order to do that, we have to understand three key things:
- Market for the consumer and not to the consumer. Consumers can smell a sales message from miles away. Within in a matter of minutes when they see your advertisement, they can research it or poll their friends via the internet and social media to find the “real” truth. Make sure your sales message is something of value.
- Be specific and personal. As marketers, you can no longer speak in general terms. Generic terms in marketing mean absolutely nothing. Learn to be honest and tell the consumer exactly what they are getting themselves into with your product. Pharmaceutical commercials are always the brunt of jokes, but at least I know that by taking their product I could get enlarged rashes on my outer extremities that could lead to colored urine and hallucinations.
- You are no longer in control. Quit trying to control something you can’t. Rather than fight an uphill battle about your brand, provide the consumer with ample tools to connect with you and share positive stories about you in all phases of the purchasing cycle.