Out with the Old, In with the New
In the beginning of the 21st century, companies were armed with human resources to build personal relationships with their customers to boost sales through one-on-one interaction in a controlled environment. Consumers believed the information dished out to them by sales professionals. The tables have turned around and it is now the consumers that have an expanse of verifiable information available at hand at the click of a finger. The past decade has also seen a change in the consumer attitude. They now expect more features for a lower price. According to the statistics given by Pew Internet & American life Project, as of May 2010, almost 80% Internet users conduct an online background research on a product before making a purchase decision. Customization and segmentation have emerged as the new indispensable marketing tools. Although, the objective of marketing remains the same, its approach has changed. The need for this development stemmed from the demand of consumers as witnessed with the commencement of this decade. The new-age consumers became more demanding, adventurous, and enthusiastic to try out different market offerings. Marketers exploited this behavior as an opportunity to steer consumers in their favor. This gave rise to greater emphasis on creating a brand value. A brilliant marketing strategy can even convince its prospective customers that the product will satisfy their needs and persuade them to overlook the product's shortcomings.
The New Age: Internet Marketing
You can buy almost everything online today. The internet has drastically changed the face of trade and commerce in the past decade. Hence, it is not surprising to note that it has also been responsible for marketing as it is au courant. The massive online presence of consumers prompted a revolution in the way of advertising and marketing. More companies have stretched these functions to the realms of the virtual world to influence consumer behavior in their favor. They are attempting to build a strong network that allows them to get closer to their clients. While online advertising began in the form of banner ads on websites, it has now taken the forms of viral videos, blogging, promotional campaigns on social networking websites, and consumer discussion forums. Marketers are beating their brains out to keep themselves abreast with the changing trends in consumer needs and tastes. In fact, internet has proved to be a reliable source for gathering data for the same. A marketer can research on the target market through surveys, polls, and interaction with focus groups through online media. This has enabled the consumers to contribute in the decisions pertaining to product offering. Nevertheless, the whole process can now be conducted much more speedily than ever before. It would be absolutely unfair to skip the subject of search engines here. They were the propellers of these changes in marketing. A product that has no mention in any of the domineering search engines, has instantly lost its reputation amongst prospective customers. An example of this trend in internet network marketing is the fundamental - "If Google doesn't know, nobody does."
Thanks be given to the world wide web, it is now possible for the marketing to facilitate instant sales through the option of mail order shopping, instant access to product information and subsequently, acceleration in the time taken to make a sale. Companies have transposed their focus to garnering online traffic to their websites, blogs, ads, and social networking accounts through search engine optimization of keywords, publishing extensive content, purchasing customer database from other companies, and establishing consumer-friendly interfaces to solve queries. The size of the company's scale of operations is no longer a factor for consideration to plan a fruitful marketing strategy. Ten years ago, companies could afford to rely on consumer loyalty to maintain a stake in the market. However, if a company does not make its market presence felt through adequate marketing, its position will be quickly taken over by its competitors.
Internet Marketing Statistics
According to HubSpot.com:
- Twitter has assisted 42% companies present on its portal to bring a new customer.
- 66% marketers rank blogs as an important source of increasing online traffic to company website.
- 57% company blogs are credited for acquiring new customers.
- Facebook has helped 67% B2C companies and 41% B2B companies to generate business.
- Inbound Marketing costs as much 62% less than outbound marketing.
- 51% fans of a company's Facebook page will make a purchase.
- 79% followers of a company's Twitter account will recommend its products to others.
Looking back at the past decade, the forms of marketing that nobody had ever heard about, are now into play and they are being employed with noteworthy results. Take the instance of electronic marketing. In the start of the millennium, e-mail marketing was the greenhorn. Today, it is an essential part of nearly every marketer's PoA. In the field of marketing, it initially gained recognition as a means to reach many customers through a single source of communication. Now, it is the medium of marketing that is used to send personalized messages to different target groups segmented into smaller sizes. And, this trend seems to be present in all other forms of marketing. Marketers have come to realize that each consumer has a varied psychology and in order to get more customers, they must reach each one discretely. While this knowledge was established during this decade, it was not until recently that the marketing strategies designed specifically concentrated on manifesting it. The concept of 'mass marketing' and 'high economy of scale' is now passé. A visionary company now spends a considerable portion of its budget to distinguish the consumers' needs and offer products that satisfy each one. This has resulted in horizontal diversification of the product line. Such an approach is less likely to culminate into the total failure of the marketing plan.
This is just a brief insight on how marketing has changed over the past 10 years. Not to miss out, the global recession crises and unfavorable employment rates in most economies has also prompted companies, big or small, to devise more riveting marketing strategies. The world population may be growing, but how many people can they really sell to? Marketing is the medium of stimulating sales in the future and subsequently, it's one of the most important functions of the management of a company. In the present consumer-driven market, companies cannot afford to let their competition have access to any window of opportunity to take the lead. Marketing is the solution to that. Take a closer look, marketing is not limited to just profit-driven companies anymore. Almost every person, organization of our commercialism-driven society is marketing itself today.