The Future of Marketing
Well – that is a question… what is the Future of Marketing?
Truth is, Marketing means so many different things to so many different people that whatever the ‘future’ of Marketing looks like; it almost certainly looks different to different people. I believe we will see a rise in AI and responsive collateral – probably much sooner than we think but there are, however, a few universal truths that from our experience are timeless – and will shape the future of a very complex field and be applicable in virtually every sector.
This may seem like a lofty collection of alliteration, but in our experience, you can boil down a significant chunk of marketing activity into each one – or a combination – of these areas. First up, let’s talk Honesty.
If there is one thing we can all agree on is that whatever field of Marketing you are in – digital, content, design etc – whatever your collateral, it absolutely has to be honest. And I mean honest as in factually representative, and truthful. Obviously by the very nature of Marketing we are aiming as ‘selling the dream’ and so we are trained in finding those silver linings or focusing on those pain-killing aspects of our products; but never should we mislead.
Over the past 18 months I believe we have learned a lot more about ourselves as people and as businesses; we have spent time becoming more attune to what really matters and because of that we have subconsciously become more astute to what we are being fed through media outlets. Being honest in your marketing activity will get you noticed, much more than if you cover everything you put out in a sugar-coated goo that customers see straight through if they do spend with you in the end.
Obviously, there’s a fine line between being honest in your marketing and being TOO honest – but inevitably that will come down to the type of brand you are portraying. But one way to ‘future-proof- your communications is to keep them relevant to what is happening within your business and team; but without spilling your guts all over LinkedIn daily.
In a similar way to being Honest, the Humanity elements of Marketing have increased massively over the past 18 months. In a world where we were bombarded with news of deaths, rising infection rates, lockdowns, and general misery – the humanitarian marketing won out. Think back to early Summer 2020, the best and biggest stories were about PEOPLE. The survivors, the volunteers, the families, the businesses, and the increase in indie pop ups. This visibility of the actual humans in our businesses must be a key figure as we move forward. We have spent so long talking about ‘survival’ in both the business and personal senses that we all feel closer to those we follow online because we acknowledge their humanity, their struggles and ultimately, their successes too.
Again, the catch here is to not make your marketing ALL about your people (unless that’s your field of course) but learning about the people who help a business tick, the people who have put their blood, sweat and tears into an organisation, the aspirations of these people are genuinely of interest to people. So, if you do not already do it – try to think of how you can humanise your marketing, without overshadowing your key aims and objectives. It adds a beautiful layer of complexity to what you are offering and will help set you apart from your competitors.
Ok – this is a risky one… Some companies use humour very, very well. Think about organisations such as Innocent for example. Their tongue-in-cheek marketing for their smoothies and juices is unique, sets them apart and engages thousands of followers every day. But can you transfer that same humour to say, a petrochemical processing business? Probably not.
My advice is to always know where the line is for your business, but if you can introduce even some slight ‘light-heartedness’ (if it’s appropriate for your brand!) then I say, go for it. Following from Honesty and Humanity, people are reacting very differently to communications now than say, 2 years ago – they respond to what engages them, and in my experience that is what makes up my 3 H’s.
Remember, every part of your business is unique. From your product or service to your team – even down to your Coffee vs Tea debates in the office. You will have competitors, we all do; but what is crucial is to remember what makes us stand out from the crowd and keeping on with that in our Marketing. Yes, the Future of Marketing will probably include a lot more digital elements, but always remember that even in a digital world, People and Personality is what we are all responding to.
By Just Williams