We live and work in a world of unprecedented social and technological upheaval, which has introduced new levels of competition for all kinds of organisations. Business is becoming global, customers are more demanding, many mature markets offer little room for growth, brand valuation is recognised on financial balance sheets and environmental pressures are growing. Compounding every other difficulty, the pace of change is quickening all the time
– speed of market introduction and acceptance are important factors.
The economic context is changing, so marketing is changing too. New social trends and corporate structures have opened up fresh avenues of opportunity for marketers to become even more central to business success. Only recently, technologies including database marketing, direct-to-plate printing and video-conferencing, the Internet and intranets were buzzwords for marketers. Since then, viral campaigns and social media have become everyday terms. Technology today offers exciting opportunities that would have been out of reach a generation ago. What will tomorrow look like?
As organisations introduce streamlined management hierarchies and flexible working practices, the marketing approach is proving a valuable interdisciplinary asset to companies that want to break down internal boundaries to focus exclusively on what the company is good at.
Distinct trends for the future of marketing have emerged in recent years, and continue to develop. First, renewed emphasis is being placed on the collection, analysis and use of more (and better) marketing information.
The explosion of data available to companies thanks to the internet has complicated the issue, but also offers incredible opportunities to reach consumers in a targeted way.
Second, more importance is being attached to measuring and monitoring performance, and more sophisticated tools are being developed to do the job as part of the general drive to be more accountable. ‘Big data’, analytics and measurement are playing ever greater roles in marketing strategy.
Thirdly, there is growing investment in staff training and development, with particular emphasis on continuing professional development so that companies can more effectively defend the competitive advantage that successful marketing gives them.
One of the strengths of marketing is the way it constantly adapts and responds to changing conditions. Though our changing world creates unexpected challenges, the modern marketer will continue to overcome them with new tools and techniques, helping companies to defend their competitive advantage.