The Future of Marketing

95951534-630x6301.jpg

arrows pointing to the futureAuthor: Sierra Uselton, a Summer 2014 intern at SocialCentiv

With the rise of social media marketing, have you ever wondered what will marketing be like in the future? To better predict the future of marketing, it’s important to understand the history and the present of the marketing process.

In the past, marketing strategies consisted mainly of advertising, public relations, direct marketing, sales promotion and personal selling.

Today, marketing strategies are more focused on the concept of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing places more of a focus on two-way communication with consumers. The happy divide that once existed has crumbled and technology is utterly changing the way that companies spend money on marketing.

Here are four things you need to know about the future of marketing:

1. Marketing will become more tactical.

Today, companies are gathering more data than in the past and have become far more sophisticated about measuring every small detail of their marketing campaign(s). Now that activities under the marketing rubric are measured, the marketing group itself has to become even more tactical in order to move the needle.

2. Commoditization will drive marketing investment.

Product categories will go through four stages, with each stage requiring preparation and investment. The entry phase consists of the sales team explaining the concept to buyers and following up to help move leads to the next step of the sales cycle. Next, the consulting phase occurs when the salespeople continue to cultivate new accounts while marketing helps identify new leads. Then, the service phase takes place. The service phases includes vendors providing the same product and customers decide which product to buy based on the ability of vendors to precisely respond to their specifications, their delivery requirements, and payment. The final stage, the commodity phase, occurs when a product becomes a commodity and the sales teams slides into the background while allowing the marketing team to take center stage. The marketing team works to set up the fulfillment channels and ensure the terms of the contract are delivered.

3. Sales and marketing will learn to work together.

With better measurement of marketing and a better understanding of the four stages of product category, there are fewer opportunities for disagreements to take place. A better understanding of the four stages of product category makes it easier to plan and execute a gradual handover of responsibility from the time when sales plays the primary role to when marketing steps in.

4. Marketing will become more reactive and less proactive.

Now that the customers play a more visible and powerful role in a brand’s image,, marketing has become more reactive than proactive to the customers. Review sites like Yelp can play a large role in defining a brand’s image than any individual marketing activity. Using social media, companies can gauge the interests of customers and prospects to help with everything from defining product requirements to designing advertising campaigns.