The world of marketing is interconnected to many different parts of society. As many marketer knows, one of the chief goals at any given time is to make sure one keeps up with changes going on around him. This is because it is incumbent on any marketer to be responsive to changes in the public. With that said, the actual science of marketing is often altered by advances in capability that may come. As technology has developed, for instance, marketing has changed with it. The mediums through which companies and organizations communicate with their clients and constituencies has shifted. Marketing is ultimately about telling a story and getting a message out in a way that is most compelling and effective. Technology can have a hand in determining what this looks like, and any good marketer today must understand not only the possibilities of this technology, but also the drawbacks. As technology has developed, it has made marketing both easier and more difficult in myriad ways, ensuring that marketing experts will have to think their way through problems.
Technology has had a major impact on almost every function of a marketing department. For one, it has shifted the ways in which marketers reach their potential clients. In the past, if a company wanted to run a targeted ad campaign, they had to either put together a television ad or print out a significant portion of mailers. They had to do the physical distribution themselves in the case of mailers, hoping to reach as many people as they could in a short period of time. This has changed, though, as technology has developed. For instance, the Internet has brought on a much easier means of distribution. Companies can now utilize targeted ads that show up when a person is browsing another website. In addition to that, social media has become an important place for companies to market.
They build relationships online with their customers, engage with those customers in some way on an almost daily basis, and get out the work on important events and products through those channels. It is absolutely true that social media and the Internet have created a more intimate working relationship between marketers and the people they reach. These elements have also helped to reduce the costs of marketing. When customers can be accessed for cheap through sites that cost nothing, marketers have to consider the efficacy of any other marketing avenue that might actually cost the company more money.
Marketing is not all about the message, of course. It is also about conducting research so that companies can understand exactly what their customers want and even who their customers are at the end of the day. Technology has helped to enhance market research efforts. Today, surveys can be conducted right online, allowing companies to easily pull in data. More than that, data can be purchased. There are apps and other websites that will sell many different kinds of data representing consumer preferences and behavior. Stories after the 2016 presidential election have demonstrated the potentially powerful impact of this kind of data purchasing on marketing efforts. Donald Trump’s team was able to purchase carefully sourced data that allowed them to target voters based upon criteria they had come to understand from the data. It gave him the boost he needed in important states by allowing him to target a message to people based upon their known likes and dislikes. This is not just applicable in politics; it is also applicable in business marketing, as companies are coming up with pitches based upon customers they can more readily identify. That market research also depends on direct communication with people who use a company’s products or services. Many airlines, for instance, have taken to Twitter to conduct customer service activities with those customers who might have had a complaint or even a compliment to file. This allows a real-time understanding of how things like price and placement are doing for actual customers trying to use the product out in the real world. It takes the theory of marketing out of the picture and replaces it with the realities of consumer behavior.
Marketing has also brought to mind privacy concerns. Companies have to be more careful with what they do with data. While the opportunities for the use of technology are almost endless, marketers can also cross a line that would violate the public trust. Ethical questions have come up as a result of the rise of technology and the shifts in marketing strategy. Is it alright for companies to harvest and purchase data about a person’s online tendencies? These privacy questions continue to dog many companies, and companies have even had to add in discussions about privacy in their marketing messaging. As consumers have grown more concerned about their safety when shopping online or browsing online, some companies have seen an opportunity to build trust with consumers by coming down on their side in this debate. This has created a legitimate shift and has led the marketing world to a place where it is simultaneously using data while also trying to argue for the protection of consumer interests.
The future is full of technology possibilities. One of the most interesting things about technology is how it builds on itself. Once the car becomes possible, the automated car becomes possible, and so on. There are many advances likely to come in products and in processes for marketing companies. Importantly, there are soon to be changes in personal device utilization that will impact the world. Over the last decade, more and more people have bought smart phones, and before long, there will be absolute market penetration for phones and other forms of handheld electronic devices. The Internet is going to be used in ways that are more interesting and productive. On top of that, the Internet of Things concepts have been floating around for many years, and will soon be developed. When things are all linked, and there is more smart technology, marketers will both have additional channels through which to reach their customers and more responsibility to use those opportunities in a way that is both positive and ethical.
In order to be a marketer in today’s world, one needs a number of new skills. Telling stories is no longer all a person needs in order to be a good marketer. In the future, marketers will need multiple communication skills and styles. Being able to craft a traditional marketing message through ads will still be critical, but future marketing professionals will need to know how to communicate through shorter mediums to make up for the lack of attention span in many of today’s consumers. Beyond that, there will be a need for more digital skills in the future. Marketing has taken on a new identity, with shorter videos capturing a company’s message and drawing customers in. These things will become more prominent. It will also be critical for marketers in the future to understand data and analytics. This is no longer just something that baseball nerds have to know. Companies today are looking to be more efficient in their operations. This can only happen when all departments—including the marketing department—are using relevant technology to save money and enhance sales.
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