Re-Think Your Marketing Models

It’s brand new world out there.  500 million tweets are sent every day.  Amazon sells over 250 million products.  Over 27,000 reviews are posted on Yelp every minute.  The average U.S. TV home now receives 189 TV channels.

(Credit: http://www.tarcherbooks.net/)
(Credit: http://www.tarcherbooks.net/)

In this new world order, old marketing models just don’t cut it.

The traditional purchase funnel — which marketers used to describe the conversion of groups of people in decreasing size as they moved closer to purchase — no longer represents customers’ actual shopping journey.  These days, people don’t follow a straight path from awareness to familiarity to consideration to purchase. And, by denoting a purchase at the bottom as the end of the process, the purchase funnel certainly doesn’t reflect marketers’ ultimate objective today — developing sustainable, valuable customer relationships.

I wrote a piece for Marketing & Sales Books that suggests the purchase funnel be replaced with a less linear and less definitive model — and one that leads to a relationship.  Read about “the new relationship formulahere.

The concept of push vs. pull marketing also no longer applies.  The delineation between efforts that rely on aggressive sales and exposure by retailers to “push” products at customers vs. those that attempt to “pull” customers into a store with strong brand appeal seems pointless in an era where smartphones often replace salespeople and reviews often replace ads.

Even the relatively new classification of media types — owned, paid, and earned — seems inadequate. A marketer who is only concerned with optimizing across the three types the mix of media spend and the type of marketing messages fails to recognize the full range of touchpoints, including many outside of media, that shape brand perceptions.  In fact, messaging itself may need a reconsideration.  Experiences are the new marketing — what you do is far more influential and important in shaping customers’ perceptions of your brand than what you say.

I recently spoke at EXPOMARKETING, the largest platform for business in Latin America.  (You can see an excerpt of my talk here.)  The conference theme, “Salvamos El Marketing” (Let’s save marketing), reflected the sense that many marketers may have — the art of marketing seems to be waning and the science has yet to be understood fully.  Marketing may not need to be “saved” but it definitely needs to be re-thought.


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