Tag Archives: Mobile Marketing

The Future of Marketing

CRMAs many of you know, Boston and the surrounding environs are hosting multiple FutureM events this week. FutureM is a multi-location conference highlighting the newest technologies and their impact on the future of marketing. The future of marketing is in flux. Those of us involved in marketing are witness to the shift from the dominant broadcast paradigm to a new interactive paradigm.

Not attending any of the conference events, and thus without the benefit of the insight provided by the practitioners driving the paradigm shift, makes offering an academic perspective regarding the future of marketing a challenge. But that’s precisely the purpose of this blog post.

What are the characteristics most closely associated with the future of marketing? Marketing is destined to become increasingly fluid, responsive, interactive, efficient, personalized, targeted, location-based and mobile.

Fluid – as marketing moves from the broadcast paradigm to the interactive paradigm, lead-time for developing and placing promotional messages is reduced. As marketing efforts move more to the online and mobile environment, the opportunity to monitor and change the message to increase performance grows. Marketers possessing the tools/skills to accurately monitor campaigns and to make changes on the fly will succeed in the new interactive marketing environment.

Responsive – in the future marketing efforts will become more responsive to the wants and needs of both the target market and the client. In the future, metrics will play a larger role in determining the success or failure of marketing campaigns. Delivering the correct message to the correct target market in order to generate the best potential return on investment (ROI) will become less art and more science. From a target market perspective, fluidity and responsiveness are interdependent.

Interactive – the broadcast paradigm is passive whereas the future of marketing is active. Those in the target market have the ability to interact with marketers in real-time and can participate in the generation of the marketing message. In addition, placement of marketing in online and mobile games offers an interesting opportunity.

Efficient – in the future, the ability to calculate an accurate ROI provides marketers with an opportunity to optimize marketing efforts. Optimization today remains an elusive concept. By reducing wasted marketing expenditures and tailoring messages based on target market responses, the mythical goal of efficiency is destined to become a reality.

Personalized – the future of marketing is one of personalized or customized campaigns. As we move away from the one-to-many communication model, individual targeting and interpersonal communication becomes the norm instead of the exception. Combined with the category below (targeted), marketing messages in the future will be customized at the individual level.

Targeted – the ability to deliver personalized messages is made even more powerful when combined with data. Demographics, psychographics, behavior and usage, historical purchase data, responsiveness to past marketing campaigns and geography will play an important role in the marketing messages that those in the target market receive.

Location-based – in the future, where you are and why you’re there will play an increasingly important role in marketing. Offers from nearby competitors, suggested venues and activities, historical points of interest, sales and promotion information and consumer evaluations/ratings of the same will play change based on your location.

Mobile – coupled with the above, more marketing campaigns will be delivered via mobile devices in the future based on location. P-commerce and p-marketing will gain in importance as the technological capabilities of smartphones and iPads (or similar devices) increase to the point that computer ownership becomes unnecessary.

The main reason for the paradigm shift? Technological advances and Moore’s Law in action. On the consumer side, the cost of increasingly sophisticated technology is decreasing to the point where it is nearly affordable to all in the North American market. In the future, television, video and digital outdoor advertising remain important but serve to drive traffic to online and mobile campaigns. The importance of traditional print advertising is expected to diminish. The ability to reach targeted consumers individually via mobile devices at an affordable rate negates the need for investment in print media.

On the business side, customer relationship management (CRM), data collection and data mining are becoming refined to the point where CRM systems will provide actual value (as opposed to hypothetical value). The goal of marketers in the future will be to collect as much data and information as possible at the individual level and to use this information to predict responsiveness to customized marketing efforts.

The new era of marketing is the social/mobile marketing era. Micro-targeting is the future of marketing. And this future is becoming a reality because of the merging of marketing and information technology.

What do you think the future of marketing will be?


A Macro View of the Global Mobile Marketing Environment: Marketing Opportunities by the Numbers

*all of the graphics and information (except the cell phone operating system data) contained in this post are from the International Telecommunications Union website and publications and may be accessed via the ITU publications landing page. Operating system graphic from Best Choice Tech.

How can you be anything but optimistic about the future potential of mobile marketing? The technological infrastructure to provide 100 percent of the population with access to mobile phone coverage is nearly in place (currently, 90 percent of the world’s population has access to mobile phone service). Over 4.7 billion people have and use mobile phones (predominantly GSM). Both reach (number with access to mobile phones) and penetration (number of people per 100 subscribing to mobile phone packages) are increasing rapidly. Regional differences in penetration exist and will for some time. But the overall increase in reach and penetration provides marketers with a new opportunity to access global market segments while providing measurable (and traceable) results.


One of the biggest challenges for marketers is the technology available to reach potential consumers via their mobile phones. A significant number of applications have been developed for users of iPhones and Android-based phones but users of mobile phones based on other operating systems face limited options. RIM (Blackberry) users are better off than are Nokia users but neither have the wealth of application options available to iPhone and Android users. Why, when Symbian is the most widely distributed global mobile operating system, are so few functional applications available? Clearly a need exists for either consolidation in the mobile operating system options or for development of applications (apps) and web browsers designed in parallel for the system(s) used most widely. This limitation is only valid if apps and browsers emerge as the preferred platform for mobile marketing. The other options, short message service (SMS), e-mail marketing and bluetooth marketing are not impacted or as limited by the distribution of apps. Smart marketers will pursue all available options to reach people who have identified a willingness to receive information (permission-based or opt-in marketing).


Mobile broadband (Internet) subscription per 100 people already exceeds fixed broadband subscription per 100 people in the developed world. Within the next two years, the same condition is expected to exist in the developing world. With 4.7 billion of the 6.7 billion people on the planet subscribing to mobile phone service (70.15 percent), it’s clear that the future of marketing is mobile.


The Evolution of Marketing

Marketing is commonly believed to have progressed through five distinct phases of evolution since the beginning of time: the simple trade era, the production era, the sales era, the marketing department era and the marketing company era. This is the classical progression taught in business schools today to tomorrow’s marketing leaders. But is it an accurate and complete representation of the different eras of marketing? In my opinion, the answer is no.

The premise of this blog is that since post-World War II, marketing is evolving in twenty year cycles, more or less. Thus, while the classical five era progression is taught in business schools, seven distinct eras are apparent. Why is this important to marketers? It may not be. Or it may represent the difference between success and failure. Knowing the game and how it is played is a necessary and critical component of winning the game. Let’s review the five classical eras before making the case for the two new eras.

The first is known as the simple trade era, where everything available was made or harvested by hand and available in limited supply. Exploration (some contend exploitation) and trade in resources was the focus of the economic activity. Commodities ruled the day. Because we’re somewhat lazy as theorists, this era is described as having lasted from the beginning of time through the mid-19th century. The simple trade era was replaced by the production era at the time of the industrial revolution. Mass production increased the availability of product options in the marketplace. This is the era of the field of dreams business philosophy of “if you build it, they will come”, successful only because there were few alternative product options available. This marketing era lasted approximately 60 years from the 1860’s until the 1920’s.

The sales era (1920’s – 1940’s) followed the production era once pent-up consumer demand became saturated. No longer could businesses easily and readily sell everything they produced. Competition for market share increased. Companies had to work harder to sell their product to consumers. Commoditization emerged: products became commodities and price became the distinguishing competitive advantage. The archetype representing the end of this era is Willy Loman. The post-WW II economic boom fostered the emergence of the marketing department era where manufacturing firms realized that the sales orientation of the past was not resonating with consumers. New levels of affluence provided consumers with more power in the marketplace. Businesses consolidated marketing-related activities (advertising, sales, promotion, public relations, etc.) into a single department. In my opinion, this is the period of “the great awakening” in western business: the time when the realization that marketing is the reason that business exists emerged. This period lasted from the 1940’s through the 1960’s and is typified by my favorite brand repositioning phrase: new, improved and lemon-scented.

The marketing company era emerged once the premise of the marketing concept became widely accepted. The marketing concept, in brief, contends that businesses exist to address customer needs. That is, the customer is the focus of our business endeavors. No longer was marketing compartmentalized – it became the goal of the business. All employees became part of the marketing effort, either directly or indirectly, and the customer became king. In the classical theory of marketing evolution, this is the final phase. It began in the 1960’s and is still in play.

But is it? Obviously not. In an article entitled “Marketing: Historical Perspectives”, a sixth era is identified: the relationship marketing era. The goal is to build a long-term, mutually beneficial, relationship with the customer. The focus changed to lifetime customer value and customer loyalty. Peppers and Rogers ushered in this era with their 1993 book “The One-to-One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time” (disclosure: Martha Rogers was my advertising professor). Customer relationship management (CRM) and data-mining became the buzzwords in marketing. Getting all systems in sync to capture information about each customer’s behavior is still, at best, a work in progress. The key to building relationships is trust, thus its importance as the central tenet of relationship marketing. Clearly the relationship marketing era exists and is in play today, from the 1990’s to 2010. But is it the end of the evolutionary process?

In April 2009, Forrester released “The Future of the Social Web” in which they identified the five eras of the social web. As with each previous change in marketing eras, this report serves to announce the paradigm shift from the relationship marketing era to what is identified here as the social/mobile marketing era. It subsumes the knowledge and theories of its predecessor era, as did each before, but focuses on real-time connections and social exchanges based on relationships driven by the consumers (permission-based or opt-in relationships). In this era, businesses are connected 24/7 to current, future and potential consumers in real-time. Communication and exchange of information is a critical success factor. But much like the predecessor eras, trust and maintaining a positive image are just as important.

From a marketing standpoint, two lessons are apparent. First, in the past the diffusion of innovation in marketing was unidirectional, from the academy (business schools) to business. Marketing theory drove business implementation of marketing practices. Today, this is no longer the case. Business schools lag businesses in the adoption and implementation of best practices in marketing to the point where current marketing education is out of touch with reality. A new game has developed and we’re barely aware that it exists. Thus, lesson one is to get your marketing education via sources from outside of traditional business schools. And second, as we transition from the relationship marketing era to the social/mobile marketing era, opportunities exist to grab market share, or share of voice, in the new era. Lesson two is that the time is now.