Feb 25 2021
Peter Drucker, the Austrian management consultant, educator, and author, once said, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” This quote treads well even in the current times, as marketing is evolving swiftly in a post pandemic era. Today, a brand’s emotional connect with its customers resonates much more strongly rather than just marketing gimmicks.
Hence, in this new transformed world, Empathy is going to be the superpower of Marketing. We will see more brands like Nike, building whole new types of shoes for people with cerebral palsy. Empathy is about going beyond micro targeting to micro moment targeting – for e.g. BBC has reported that Spotify will now identify how you are feeling, through your voice and suggest songs according to your “emotional state” – this goes beyond identifying just your gender, age and location!
A lot has already been said about the year 2020, the havoc of the pandemic and all of us have lived through it. The year 2021 had a promising start with multiple vaccine options getting approval and the world at large getting used to the new ways of living. Consumers were at a pause, re-aligning their priorities and thus, marketing was temporarily in a cocoon, only to now come out transformed – learning a little from both the pre-COVID and during-COVID worlds. Some key trends in 2021 for marketing will revolve around:
Purpose-driven marketing by brands
Marketing with a purpose will take center stage, as well as for fueling growth and innovation for a company. There will be a continued emphasis on sustainability and brands will be moving towards a sustainable future. The smartest brands must stay mindful and continue to adapt to a changing landscape and consumer needs on transparency, trust, and affinity.
Digital-first and personalized data-driven marketing
Marketing is going to need help of another super-power in order to empathetically connect with its consumers – artificial intelligence - mining trillions of data points that the consumers generate on an everyday basis and identifying what the individual needs in that moment. It is not just about targeting the consumer right, but about living his/her life in order to creatively engage with them through hyper-personalized experiences.
Voice-enabled marketing will witness an upsurge as consumers are adopting various voice-enabled devices and companies should use this as a marketing opportunity enabling personalized and unique consumer experiences of modern-day users. In the rapidly approaching age of voice marketing, voice technology will make interactions with brands more natural and seamless to foster relations and improve brand image.
Localizing brand presence
Marketing localization is a growth investment which enhances the experiences that customers have with your brand, making it culturally relevant to them. Covid saw a rising trend where consumers favored local stores and local sourcing. Brands should lean into the rising trend to expand their presence at the granular level.
Convergence of physical and digital
Over the years, the digital channel has seen an unpreceded growth, further accelerated by the pandemic. While digital will continue to rise, this is not the end of the road for physical channel, as the human dimension will continue to play a crucial role. Consumers are looking for connected experiences where the physical and digital coexist in the same customer journey with a fluid interaction between both. This omni-channel strategy is critical for brands in order to provide consumers an immersive consumer experience.
In conclusion, marketing with its many facades will keep evolving. The only novelty that the pandemic has induced is that customers are now more wary of how brands are selling themselves. Be it any medium they adapt, it’s necessary to keep in mind that the emotional connect will play the most pivotal role in enhancing the ‘brand – consumer’ relationship in the longer run. Hence, brands need to strategize wisely as to how they grab the eyeballs of its target audience with that empathetic angle.
Authored By - Meghna Varma, Director, Marketing, IPM India Wholesale Trading Private Limited, (country affiliate of Philip Morris International, Inc.)
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