The Evolution of Marketing: From Antiquity to Algorithms
The First Paradigm: The Premise of Logic
The First Paradigm of marketing was literal, rational, and almost entirely product centric. The presumption was that consumers made their purchase decisions rationally and logically. If you produced the best product, the thinking was that consumers would flock to it. So, marketers had a defined purpose and a simple strategy: Make your product better than your competitors’. And let the consumers know about it. Marketing connected the product to the consumer by creating and leveraging a product’s feature set that was different from and better than the competition or by offering the product at a lower price. Tide “got clothes cleaner.” Dodge cars had a “smoother ride.”5 And for vacuum cleaners, “Nothing Sucks Like Electrolux.”
The Second Paradigm: It’s All About Emotions
Marketers, over time, realized something very powerful: people make decisions emotionally, more than rationally or logically. In fact, in many cases, entirely emotionally! Therefore, they began incorporating emotions into their ad campaigns. When TV came on the scene, it brought visual and audio together into a powerful new medium through which stories could be told very compellingly. Interestingly, emotional claims needed no scientific or data-backed proof. This, when stretched a bit, was euphemistically referred to as creative freedom or flexibility. With the trend toward engaging emotions, marketing became an invitation to an experience, more than just a push to buy the product.
The Third Paradigm: The Internet and Data
The rise of the internet and data-based marketing. After TV, it was the next major technological disruption of marketing. Data, which was previously restricted to the techies, geeks, economists, researchers, and the like, found a new patron. Marketers discovered the power of data, and they saw the jump in effectiveness it could produce. The new focus became using data to create more targeted marketing, which minimized waste, stretched the dollar, and vastly improved a company’s ROI. This paradigm saw the rise of data scientists and data savvy marketers in the commercial world. With the internet, marketers now had an extraordinary ability to reach, communicate to, and impress their prospects and customers as never before—at scale, with economy and precision.
The Fourth Paradigm: The Mobile and Always ON
The internet was hardly being digested when two new dimensions were being created, both of which would come to define the Fourth Paradigm. Mobile phones and mobile devices totally altered the consumer landscape once and for all. The mobile phone virtually became an extension of the human body, with consumers going to bed and waking up with it. Now, marketers had a medium available through which they reached consumers anytime.
As we moved through four paradigms of marketing, you’ve learnt that
- The First Paradigm was driven by the premise that consumers make logical decisions.
- The Second Paradigm delved into the emotional realms of consumers.
- The Third Paradigm was the era of internet and data-driven marketing.
- The Fourth Paradigm ushered in mobility via digital devices, which have literally become extensions of the human body and obsessions of the human mind.
Meet The Fifth Paradigm
In the Fifth Paradigm, brands will create excitement, engagement, and inspiration for their products and services using new technologies, new media, new frameworks, and new insights. Consumers will expect not only great products and experiences, but they will demand marketers use all the resources available to make a positive difference to society, either by helping it be more just and equitable or for the planet to become more sustainable.
In the Fifth Paradigm, the mission of a Quantum Marketer has to be fourfold:
- Brand Building
- Reputation Management
- Driving Business Growth
- Creating Platforms for Sustainable Advantage
Quantum Marketing Mission #1 Brand building. In this day and age, the brand is not only sacred but vital for differentiation, value perception, and competitive advantage. Building a powerful brand is critical for the short-, medium-, and long-term health of the company. Marketers are brand stewards and need to build it for the future, irrespective of whether their business partners can fully appreciate it or not.
Quantum Marketing Mission #2 Reputation management. In many evolved companies, marketing and communications/PR have come together. After all, they are a single continuum. Marketing is the brand talking about itself. PR is getting other people to talk about the brand positively. Quantum Marketers absolutely need to have plans to defend their brands and protect their reputation and not let consumer trust erode.
Quantum Marketing Mission #3 Driving business growth. Marketing should be done not for the sake of marketing, but to help drive profitable business growth. Performance marketing helps drive overall business growth. To be fair, what is the point of building a magnificent brand if it doesn’t drive profitable business growth? Marketers should help drive business growth, whether or not it is in their formal mandate.
Quantum Marketing Mission #4 Creating platforms for sustained competitive advantage. The fourth pillar of Quantum Marketing is about building a sustainable competitive advantage via platforms, partnerships, Intellectual Property (IP), and so on. Quantum Markerts build a significant competitive advantage by building platforms that leverage marketing assets and marketing properties, and the IP that goes with it, to differentiate the brand and maintain the differential on a sustained, continuous basis for the long term.
All the Senses: Multisensory Branding
Multisensory branding is all about reaching consumers through all their senses in ways that are relevant, authentic, compelling, and nonintrusive, thus cutting through the massive clutter and reaching the consumers’ hearts and minds. Here are the five senses quantum marketers can learn to harness:
An excellent example of multisensory branding comes from Aston Martin, the iconic British carmaker, famously associated with James Bond. This brand has done some amazing work in the multisensory space. As a luxury brand, its sales volumes are naturally limited and similarly don’t have gigantic marketing budgets. So, rather than relying on traditional marketing, they explored new fields to make their brand impact felt. One such direction is sensorial marketing, including sonic branding.
Unsurprisingly for a brand that has been around for more than a hundred years, the sonic identity has been built over many decades and at its heart is the distinctive sound of the engine. The exhaust note is the rumble of the car, a carefully engineered soundtrack that can switch from mellow to malevolent with a squeeze of the throttle. Nothing has been left to chance to ensure that every sound the car makes is in harmony with the engine sound, from the seat belt alerts and low fuel reminders, to the particular click of the gearshift and the soft creak of the leather upholstery.
Each element of the sonic identity, no matter how insignificant, has been given much thought. Using the fasten seat belt tone as an example, Aston Martin decided to make the warning more melodic, to be suggestive rather than demanding. If the driver ignores it, there is a second and a third transition in intensity to convey the urgency. The fundamentals of sonic identity are matching the sounds the car makes to the visual identity of the brand. Sounds that express and encapsulate the craftsmanship, refinement, and unique character of the brand.
Aston Martin also has deployed the other senses of touch and smell. It takes more than a hundred hours to craft the interior of an Aston Martin and it is all done to deliver a sensory experience, from the unique touch sensation when a customer runs her fingers over the leather interior to the aroma of the leather. The aroma is so distinctive that when Aston Martin Works restores a vintage Aston Martin, they will source the leather from the original supplier to ensure the aroma of the leather is authentic to that car. Talk of being obsessed, in a great way, to being true to and consistent with every aspect of the brand manifestation.
The idea of sensory marketing isn’t limited to a particular industry. Nike has found that when they added scents to its stores, purchase intent among customers increased by up to 80 percent. In a similar report, a gas station minimart in the UK found that the smell of coffee in the air increased their sales by 300 percent.
But merely adding fragrances to enhance the consumer experience or stimulate their brain or evoke their feelings is not sensory branding. It is just sensory stimulation. Sensory branding is where the sounds, smells, taste, touch, etc., are all unique to that brand and are recognizable and uniquely associated with that brand. It is a brand identity creation, across multiple senses.
Loyalty Transformed: 4 Pillars for Building A Loyal Fanbase
Brands should recognize that consumers expect brands to be loyal to them, not the other way around. In quantum marketing, marketers must constantly think about why, if at all, people will be loyal to their brands. The new loyalty continuum has four tiers of commitment. Marketers need to understand and assimilate all four into their affinity strategies.
Pillar #1 Purpose: Say if a given consumer is passionate about saving the environment, incorporate environmental considerations into the mix. In such cases, marketers may want to offer environmentally friendly products and packaging or may offer to contribute a small percentage of the profits for environmental protection, give a discount if they turn in their product packaging for recycling, and so on.
Pillar #2 Passion: Say if the consumer is passionate about golf, at a minimum give golf-related imagery in the communication materials, and use golf media channels to communicate the message. In this example, marketers may need to construct benefits around golf, even if golf is not connected with their category: maybe access to golfing events, professional golfers, or signed memorabilia.
Pillar #3 Relationships: Family structure , social network and propensity to switch (let’s call it a brand infidelity score) are invaluable as marketers think about the product construct, offer construct, communication form, and content and media channels.
Pillar #4 Commerce: Consumers want to know that they’re getting a good value. Many even need to feel like they’re getting a bargain to make a switch or persist with their current brand. Each consumer displays some price elasticity, a willingness to buy a product regardless of price, up to a point. Marketers need to factor these in as they set their pricing and promotion strategies, to make sure they win consumers’ preference every time.
Marketing Through Crisis
The pandemic woke and shook every businessperson and every marketer around the world. Everything came to a grinding halt, leading to a situation in which not just some companies but entire industries were shut down. For every business leader, it is imperative to have a risk management focus within marketing that creates and updates risk heat maps, crisis management plans, and crisis management training programs for team members.
But crisis is not the time to pursue sales ambitions. This is true for a number of reason:
- It’s a conventional wisdom that a friend in need is a friend indeed, which means that if a brand sticks with people and serves them during their tough and troubled times, when the tide turns and the good times come back, they will stick with the brand.
- Internal communications are critical to crisis management. A company’s employees are its best advocates during normal times and even more so during a crisis.
- And while it’s necessary at times to pull back marketing budgets during a crisis, it’s imperative not to go dark completely. It’s actually in times of crisis that a brand needs to assert itself and stay appropriately visible.