I enjoyed this excellent blog from Percolate’s Noah Brier. In it he explores the drivers of change in marketing and argues that it exists at the end of a ‘chain of change’ that looks like this: Technology > Culture > Consumer Behavior > Marketing. There is a lot of great material to explore in this post, but to cut to the conclusion he suggests that:
“Technology evolves (in both macro and micro ways) — which creates changes in the scale, pace, and pattern of culture — which in turn affects consumer behavior (the way people chose to interact with the brands, products, and companies around them) — which marketing organizations must adapt to or risk being outflanked by those who do.
The reason digital transformation is at the top of everyone’s agenda can be plotted along exactly this change continuum: Digital technology is introduced and becomes widespread, which in turn makes the world smaller/more connected (scale), much faster as we move from the physical world of atoms to the digital world of bits (pace), and fundamentally alters the ways we interact and communicate (pattern).”
What does this mean for marketing (and communications)?
The challenges and changes facing marketing and communications remain consistent over time – a smaller role for advertising, the need for more accountability, less brand loyalty, more channels etc.
Different technologies also affect culture and consumer behaviour in a predictable way. There is just a ‘whole different scale, pace, and pattern.’ Which leads Noah to conclude that:
“Asking ourselves what the future of marketing looks like probably should be less of a priority than building an organization that can deal with whatever future ends up arriving.”
His company Percolate argues that marketing functions need to become more agile, connected and intelligent. They need to be modeled on how consumer and customer behaviour will change. This is absolutely right and goes for communication functions too.
We are going to continue to operate at greater speed, more globally. We need to be looking ahead and making intelligent bets, experimenting, adapting quickly to changing trends month to month as we work towards longer-term company objectives.
Our teams need to be looking out and building networks that expose them and their brands to ideas and developments that could come from anywhere in the world. This is what will give brands an edge.