Saturday, November 06, 2004

And Marketing Ends NEXT>

BrandClique is a tiny group of some of Pakistan's very dynamic young marketers. I proposed to my companions, Adil C. of Henkel Arabia in particular, there: "Marketing as we know it will be dead."

Why? How?? This is a dramatic statement!

But I stand by it. This is the reason why, as given to the group:

I'll tell you why I think marketing as we know it will be dead. Very simple - marketing is no longer going to be about what the corporation thinks. From the days of what the seth saab ["Mr Owner"] or the Jewish entrepreneur wanted, we have come to the days of what's happening at the consumer's end, and how (s)he "calls" a brand experience.

The word "call" is from the IT terminology, as in, call a result... call a query. Here it means creating an experience.

If my study of technology and consumer behavior is correct, and I wouldn't think otherwise, then the creation of the brand and its context have rapidly shifted to the consumer's end. The consumer has a complex choice of media and how (s)he attends to it. How easy do you think it is for a marketer to predict whether I am watching a 30-second spot on TV, or immersed in sending and receiving SMS's on my cell?

Each day, it's just getting worse, as there is an asynchronous movement in media, technology, and manufacturers. Simply put, by the time a marketer decides to send out an email campaign, the world is onto SMS. When the manufacturer/advertiser wakes up to SMS, the consumer's onto MMS. By the time we reach there... the consumer is tired, wants a life, and is enjoying out with the family. What do we do? Where do we catch them? And this is the simplest of the question. I'll tell you a little later what are the questions....

Marketers are dead if they don't see things from consumers' perspectives. This problem is global, and the giant is only awakening. My word for it. I'll give you an example. A friend in an agency came up with a product name for a drink:"SAX." It was drawn on the imagery of jazz music, and supposed to elicit classic feelings. The product name ia a sexual pun. It sounded great as the name for a novel, may be. Or an opera. I asked him, tell me, do you think a man or a lady, or a family at a table would say, give me SAX? He said, er, no. Why didn't I think of that?

I state the obvious, but something tells me it's always been about the obvious... Yet in real life, it was never so obvious. I'll cut it short for now with this: marketing as we do it will be dead because we have to adjust to painful levels of speed, quality, and pricing. We also have to take an extremely different perspective. Basically it's just good old marketing, but the technological change factor is so high, it's changing the shape of things. Think of it like an element (hydrogen, carbon) under extreme conditions. It is the same, but it is not the same. Carbon as graphite will be dead. Carbon as diamond will remain.

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