The future of marketing is . . . value
Do you know where the future of marketing is headed?
Two words. Value creation.
People no longer want to watch commercials or read ads. The fact that the usage of ad blocking software grew by 41 percent in the past year alone is sobering proof of this sentiment.
Nor do consumers want to hear you or your company preach to them. Social and digital media have forever changed the consumer mindset. No longer do they expect to have to listen to how great your new product is, for example, or about how helpful your expanded service is, when they’re in purchasing mode. In fact, with so many windows, tabs and screens available, even when you think consumers are listening, they are often choosing not to.
So what do they, or will they, expect instead? First, they want to experience your brand directly. Personally. And then they expect to be catered to. No matter what they do . . . from choosing a new bank to finding a doctor to planning a trip.
And that’s where value creation comes in.
What is value creation?
Value creation means showing true appreciation for someone’s time by providing them with something in return for getting exposed to your brand.
It’s no longer about figuring out how to best communicate about your brand. But, rather, it’s more about how your brand can best provide for its consumers.
Here are just a couple of examples of value creation:
Digital Apps/Technology. Nike’s greatest marketing initiative was really its greatest tech initiative. Nike+ is an open source app that provides value to any runners who want to track their runs. While the product is branded for Nike, the app is a 100 percent consumer-focused initiative. You don’t have to buy Nike shoes to use it. You don’t have to watch commercials to use it. You simply get the same value that you’d expect from a tech start-up, but from a brand. The payoff? Nike+ is estimated to have more than 25 million users . . . and Nike cemented itself as the number one running shoe in the process.
Native/Branded Content. Everyone wants to create “branded content”. Yet, in the end, they really end up creating longer form commercials. Great branded content is entirely consumer focused. Yet it also aligns with the key principles of a brand. In the future, for example, brands won’t be buying advertising slots on Modern Family, they’ll be creating and producing their own Modern Family because that’s what their audience wants.
Red Bull, the popular energy-drink company, is one example of a brand that seems to have succeeded in this area. It creates content their audiences seek out — whether that is an extreme sport, event, TV show or magazine — but without watering down the content with brand messaging. Sure they subtly feature their logo, but the content itself is just as (if not more) engaging and dynamic as anything a filmmaker might create. They truly put the audience first.
Of course, many brands create value for their customers with their products. But few are finding similar ways to do so with their marketing. The point is if you don’t provide true value to your consumers, with so many options to grab their attention, they have no reason to pay attention to you. Give your targets something they need or want, and you’ll build the equity you desire to be successful at that critical moment of purchase.