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The Changing Nature of Marketing

Posted By , Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The changing nature of marketing, and the fear of missing out – the FOMO theory, are two subjects that have never been so more aligned than in today’s digitally driven consumer market. For decades, marketers have prescribed a long list of tactical solutions for businesses including, direct mail, white papers, newsletters, blogs, publicity, conferences, advertising and social media, to name a few – all of which may be more likely to generate a diluted marketing message, and hefty invoices, than new accounts or revenue growth.

Ever since the 1980s businesses have been held ransom to the FOMO theory. The great advertising epidemic known as Yellow Pages, was the beast of all beasts, in regards to missing out on critical new business leads. Who would have believed that a full page colour ad printed in the 2006 Sydney Yellow Pages would set a business back AUD$81,000 each year?

If you didn’t have your ad printed in the Yellow Pages, quite simply put, your business didn’t exist – The phrase “not happy Jan” speaks volumes, and resonates to this day in the minds of millions of Australians. But there has always been a reliable source to generate new accounts and revenue growth, and that has been good old, word-of-mouth referrals.

As a business, you look for ways to humanise your brand and build trust with customers. Social media has provided marketers with a solution to engage customers and put the spotlight on User-Generated Content (UGC), also called User-Created Content (UCC), defined as any form of content that was created by users of an online system or service. UGC has taken word-of-mouth to another level, allowing a digital aggregation of reviews and recommendations on almost everything.

Google now place a weighting on organic search results based on the number of reviews your business has generated within the google environment. Unbiased reviews and recommendations are now regarded as the number one influencer when consumers are in a buying cycle. Having worked in marketing and communications for over 20 years in multiple capacities, I have navigated through the Three Tsunamis of disruptive change for marketers that have affected consumers buying behaviours.

From Print marketing to Online, and from Online marketing to Digital. In 2017, if a business has no web presence, they are certainly missing out on new business leads. Word-of-mouth will still prevail, and by right, many SMEs across the globe still rely solely on this form of generic marketing, and yes, it doesn’t cost a cent! But eventually the funnel needs to be refilled.

Moving on from websites, APPs have become ubiquitous, with many creators of products and services investing tens of thousands of dollars on being accessible – all in the palm of your hand! Reported as of June 2016, Android users could choose between 2.2 million apps. Apple's App Store remained the second-largest app store with 2 million available apps. Although, getting a consumer to download your app remains a marketer’s nightmare.

Let’s go one step further – into the future. BOTs are the latest solution for marketers. BOTs are artificially intelligent (AI) programs that can do many useful things like search for news, summarize webpages, play games, and more. You can start chatting with a BOT just like you chat with friends. The more consumers use a BOT, the more intelligent it becomes. BOTs takes search to a whole new level, and are destined to emerge as a leading digital solution for markets in 2017.

My job as a digital entrepreneur is to provide solutions. My passion is in building communities and connecting people. When people are connected within a digital environment like TripAdvisor, Facebook, or ExpatChoice.Asia for that matter, a sense of respect and responsibility prevails when writing a review.

Typically, by the time a consumer has started looking at unbiased reviews in these chosen digital environments, they've already figured out their need/want, how a business might ideally fulfil that need/want and are now in the process of selecting a business. The critical thing to note is that the mental gap between reading a review and deciding to purchase from a business is ridiculously small, and typically results in a yes/no decision almost immediately.

Article first appeared in Access Asia magazine April / May issue, pg 17. 

Author : John Gordon, Managing Director, Expat Choice.Asia

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