Five eternal truths of marketing
Editorial

Five eternal truths of marketing

The world of marketing is changing fast, driven by new customer behaviour and a proliferation of channels. But it’s good to remember that despite these trends, some eternal truths of marketing still hold sway.  

Marketers must strive to understand the needs of the customer

Conversations about marketing are increasingly dominated by data and analytics – it’s easy to forget that, at root, your audience is made up of ordinary people. Although lifestyles and occupations have changed drastically over the past 50 years, human beings have remained fundamentally the same, and are driven by the same desires and needs. Therefore, data science is only powerful to the extent it offers actionable insights on how customers express these needs. The most successful businesses allow the changing needs of customers to drive their expansion.

Innovation is needed to match changing consumer behaviour

While consumer needs have remained fundamentally the same, behaviours have changed dramatically. This has been driven by technological advances, such as fast wireless internet and mobile platforms. Indeed, the pace of change is arguably faster than ever. But where consumers lead, marketers have always followed – from roadside billboards to adverts in in-flight magazines. As consumers take to a variety of new platforms and form new communities, such as those on Snapchat and Instagram, brands need to change their strategy accordingly and adapt to omnichannel, always-on campaigns.

Differentiating your business from your competitors 

Archaeologists have found evidence of a mosaic bearing branding for fish sauce in the ruins of Pompeii dating from 35AD. This shows that even in antiquity, businesses understood the importance of distinguishing their brand from an alternative. Two thousand years later, marketers are still focused with demonstrating how a product or service can meet customers’ needs more effectively than competitors.

As such, with consumers experiencing a brand through Facebook, YouTube and Instagram – as well as print and TV – having a unified brand voice and a recognisable identity is critical. Today, marketers refer to ‘verbal branding’ – distinctive, consistent copywriting for the age of social media. And while products and materials have become more advanced, many of the world’s most successful brands have remained true to their original logo and aesthetic. The Coca-Cola logo has remained essentially the same for more than 125 years. 

Converting prospects into customers is still the aim of the game

From the informal businesses in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, to the boardrooms of Apple and Nike, one marketing imperative remains the same: conversion. Although much advertising and marketing is focused on building awareness, almost all activity ultimately boils down to persuading the consumer to complete a purchase. And while the aim has stayed the same, the techniques used have changed considerably. In the age of social, businesses are striving to make conversion as smooth and seamless as possible, for example, by enabling customers to check-out without leaving a given channel. This will minimise the likelihood of customers abandoning the purchase process.  

While the techniques we use in communications have evolved, guiding the customer through the psychological process from awareness to conversion will always be a critical role of marketing.

Deliver a great product

It’s often said that customers have become more demanding, but of all brand characteristics, quality and consistency are usually the deciding factors in whether a business survives of fails. This has been true for centuries. From Toledo steel, to Arabian thoroughbred horses, to German cars – the brands that resonate down the ages are those that deliver quality for customers. In short: every great campaign should be backed up with a great product or service.

The quick read – five eternal principles of marketing
  1. Never stop striving to understand the customer
  2. Innovate to keep up with the behaviour of your audience
  3. Demonstrate how your product or service is superior to the competition
  4. Become an expert in converting prospects into customers
  5. Every great campaign should be backed up with a great product
James Richards Freelance Journalist
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