Where to from here for the brand and marketing world?

Back when I studied Marketing, online adverts, data, personalisation and social media weren’t what we know them as today. Adverts were on the radio, TV or in the paper. Data was what a computer ran on, personalisation was sending someone a letter from a list you had purchased, and social meant you took your customers down to the pub for a beer after work. It’s changed a lot over the years and happened so quickly, and I predict it’s only going to get faster from here. So what will the next stage look like?

Engagement is everything

We need to forget what we have learnt about Marketing and start thinking about engaging. Let’s be honest - if the customer is not engaging with your brand or product, your effort is a waste of time. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in, and be what people are interested in. I have read about companies overseas who have changed the Chief Marketing Office title to Chief Experience Officer and I welcome the change. Marketing is about the customer and the experience they have with your organisation, and these changes are a good shift in mindset for the discipline.  

Brands aren’t cool

Not all brands are created equal, but it’s safe to say that brands are about as cool as dad jokes when you’re a teenager. Culture is cool. The music we listen to, the TV shows we binge, the movies we watch, the people we aspire to be, and our wonderful friends and magic families – that’s cool. As a brand you want to be part of this world. We can only hope that we can be as cool a culture, become part of our customer's lives and be so interesting that they want to share us with their friends. 

Improve your customer's lives

It’s no longer ok to simply do a job - you’ve got to improve your customer's lives. Once you crack this nut – talk about it. Get your customers to talk about it. Ask them to share it. After all, you have just improved their life, why would they not share that experience? 

Social impact

We have been taking for so long, and now is the era of giving back. What is your organisation doing? I no longer mean just donating money to charity (although this is still a great thing to do) but alone it is no longer enough. Think about changing your stance on environmental acts, addressing social issues, giving time to causes you believe in, changing behaviours, mindsets or actions. People are more conscious about their actions and if your brand is not thinking this way, you will be left behind. Employees want to work for companies that are working towards solving issues that they can relate to, and this will only become more prominent as the future generations hit the work force. They want to work somewhere they belong and this is a good indicator of what your company stands for. It’s more important than ever before to be genuine, we can all smell a fake a mile away. 

We need to get closer to our customers 

We can no longer bark messages at our customer and expect them to listen – in fact this has the complete opposite effect, it turns them away. As consumers we have come to expect companies and brands to know about us, and we expect the right message, in the right place, when we want to see it. We need to continue to get to know our customer in a way that they will comfortably invite our organisations, brands and products into their lives. It only works if they invite you. More importantly what invites us in today will not be enough to continue the invite into the future. We need to constantly challenge what will have our customers say: welcome; welcome into my life, welcome into my family and welcome into my living room. 

Vanessa Taylor is realestate.co.nz’s Head of Marketing. Vanessa believes there is no such thing as 'because that's the way we do it'. "Let's break the process, keep it simple, automate if possible and do it all for our customers". This article first appeared in M2Woman magazine.

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