Marketing, media and consumer behaviour redefined
Standard Bank recently had a few marketing and banking tongues wagging after forking out millions to change their well known and fairly acceptable ‘simpler. better. faster.’ pay-off line to the abstract, Triple-B: ‘inspired. motivated. involved.’
Sentiments echoed across the blogosphere were all somewhat scathing, which illustrates the power of blogging and the fact that consumers have found their voice and are not shy to use it. (A good example of what was and is being said can be found on the popular community blog about all things cherry – Cherryflava). One wonders what results Standard Bank would have enjoyed had they pocketed their marketing budget and instead implemented a direct mail campaign asking clients for recommendations on the new slogan. They could even have thrown in a sparkling new iPod as a prize for the best submission. Let’s face it, for the most part 50,000 heads can only be better than 50.

The emerging trends changing the face of business today are as many as they are varied. One prime example directly related to the Standard Bank debacle worth unpacking, would have to be that our fundamental understandings of marketing, media and consumer behaviour are being severely rattled and in the process redefined.
A New Marketing Manifesto?
With this in mind, marketers would perhaps do well to adopt or at least consider a revised marketing manifesto that could include some new connection economy fundamentals, including:
1. Technology is not so much about sexy machines anymore. Instead, technology has become a means to connect people better.
2. Customers are still fed up (they have been for a long time). There have been no significant changes to service levels in the last 50 years.
3. Up until very recently, this was OK because customers could at best express their irritation around a Bar-B-Q or over the phone to a friend. The message, negative or positive, could be controlled. A-la Marketing 101.
4. With the introduction of the Internet, customers have found their voice – a global one at that. For too long, the learning curve one had to take before being able to publish to the Web (i.e. HTML, Frontpage, Macromedia) was too steep and so the Internet remained a playground for IT experts and uber-geeks. This is no longer the reality marketers are faced with.
5. The landscape has changed. On one hand, technology is emerging that is allowing ordinary people to publish content to the Internet. On the other hand, and on a social level, consumers are realising that they have a voice and a global stage.
6. This roaring co-influence of societal and technological evolution is propagating: a new breed of consumer.
7. Marketers are no longer in control of the message. Even more, they are not in control of their brand: the consumer is.
8. Consumers are smart, resourceful and quick; sometimes more so than the corporations they fund. Corporations do not seem to realise this, or are too proud to admit it, and have absolutely no idea how to capitalise on it. The Standard Bank story is a prime example of this.
9. There are internal and external customers. It is immeasurably more important and challenging to get employees to buy into the brand they work for. And at the end of the day employees too are customers.
10. Emerging Technology + Societal Evolution = Citizen Media, Citizen Journalism, Citizen Broadcasting, and Social Networks. Marketers should be asking the question: “How are we engaging our stakeholders on these new platforms?”
The Social Customer Manifesto and The Cluetrain Manifesto provide further insight to tracking the worldwide buzz. These sites should be compulsory reading for anyone in an organisation who has anything to do with consumers. Other useful tools to keep tabs on what is being said online include: BlogPulse – a trend search that allows users to pick up on and compare conversations happening in the citizen journalism world. And Google Alerts – a nifty, little-known application by Google that delivers updated search results to set specifications by email. For example, if a user were to set up a Google Alert for “Chuck Norris”, as a random example, any new search results picked up by Google will be delivered directly to the user’s desktop.
There is no question that the world is changing fast and that organisations need to adapt to stay relevant and informed. To follow some of the trends and developments in the information technology space, visit www.TomorrowConnecting.biz or www.tmtd.biz
For further information contact Mike Stopforth on mike@tomorrowconnecting.biz.

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