Let’s go back to the pre-Visa era. There were no borders between countries, people could come and go anywhere. Someone would get noticed only when something unexpected happened. So, that time was almost 100% the “Kings & Queens” era.
Then, how was marketing happening, can you guess? Do you think there existed anything so-called “Marketing”?
We will discuss the marketing thing later. Let’s see how people were buying goods and, commerce was thriving.
Certainly, the market was controlled by emperors and their authorities, which was extremely local. Above that, people had very little things to buy, so everything was happening just like this – “give money (whatever) and take the commodities”. Market competition…? Just on a personal level or maybe just in corners.
Let’s skip to the beginning of Imperialism. The market was captured by companies with the help of power and domination, but it was more like imposing and monopoly. Market competition….? If you see the pattern, it was ignited here.
At the same time, the industrial revolution got ignited afterward. And, it was an aggressive version of the previous imposition. And, then, the competition was growing but, mostly, it was controlled by powerful authorities.
Now, when gradually, the industrial revolution was on the edge of saturation, two big fights happened. WWI and WWII, we all know that. Right before or later, the concept of nationalism and the nation’s identity came over the surface.
The whole world, especially Europe, turned into a construction site. Slowly, there was a very high demand in the market, at the same time, there was a lot of supply as well.
Market competition…? Sooner or later, it was above the surface. The term marketing was a discovery of people in this era. Before that, this term wasn’t young enough to get a F***K. (Yes, advertising & branding was there for centuries!)
If we see the unpolitical version of world wars, this was the time a big revolution happened to the business and commerce. All of a sudden, the market was gaining more and more suppliers, so the commuters had at least two or more options.
The advertisement was on the boom, the newspaper, then the radio and later on television. But, the marketing was just getting its fundamental bricks in place to substitute the advertisements.
Welcome Online Marketing, But…
After a few decades, when all advertisements were the same, no one was able to build a unicorn and long-term impression in the market. The magic of marketing started. A lot of marketing concepts were developed and used and finally sharing the bed with Advertisement. It gave way to the overall rise of complete marketing & advertisement formula to grow a company from scratch to become a unicorn.
After that, at the beginning of the internet era. Again, here also advertisement was dominating online marketing because of faster and quick outcomes. If you see the timeline of the internet, thousands of companies like Adsense and BuySaleAds were rising. Then social media came, in the beginning, it was also purely Ads platform, gradually marketing and insight were introduced and now we see the current version of FaceBook and Instagram, etc in 2019.
At the same time, Digital marketing was on the boom. It was again a mix of marketing (organic) and paid ads (CPC, SEM). There was, in fact, even today a lot of chaos here.
One thing I missed is – The transition between classic marketing to online marketing was the telephonic & outbound call era. Do you like to get an outbound call?
Then again to support digital marketing was everything almost the same as the first-generation mixture of marketing & advertisement. And here the outbound call was replaced by outbound email and message.
Then when online marketing was on its peak, some smart people understood that it is not going to solve all the problems. They tweaked the same idea and coined the term Inbound marketing.
It was a better version because the quality of leads and prospects was suddenly highly better than the former. Now I think, inbound marketing was also not the right solution, although it is still nice at some point.
Now, in the last few years after Inbound marketing, companies are finding another sexy marketing method – Account-Based Marketing (ABM). I see it as a respectful version of outbound marketing. Smart idea, but uncertain yet.
So, if you see from classic to ABM, there is a pattern, regardless of the medium whether newspaper, radio, TV, Computer or smart device in your hand.
Reading the Patterns?
That pattern is like this – a Consumer is a fat man in underwear, sweat on the face to all over the stomach and telling to companies, “I don’t like this idea. Show me something else. By the way, fill this glass with beer, I will enjoy for now, but go for something I will appreciate.”
If you notice, selling that last glass of beer, for now, is what our marketing strategies are able to do. People are buying because they need that. But, unicorn never sells “need”, it sells “dream”.
So, there is something that is still in the deep ocean of knowledge and human intelligence. Because so far, all the marketing strategies have done a lot for us, it has built thousands of unicorns like Google, Amazon, Apple, MI, Uber, etc. But, it is tired now. Literally, it is not working as it should be.
If you want to build a unicorn, the old grandma marketing isn’t young enough to sell dreams. Therefore, we have to think something ahead of that. This post is all about what is that.
The whole idea of this blog post came into my mind after watching The Great Hack – a Documentary on the Facebook data breach.
That was the first known version of profiling and targeting on that scale so far. However, the same thing was happening to sell consumer products and services. That was the first time a fabricated dream was sold using data, that turned into scam, just because it fell on political shits. Otherwise, this was the next unicorn builder. But, the BIG but is –
The next version of marketing will certainly come right from data and profiling. But, we need to still figure out what’s the NEXT ethical and digestible way out.
A Pinch of Being A Unicorn
Before we will figure out what’s next, let’s see who are the market leaders in online marketing. It is hard to call them as leaders in marketing service, but, software-wise.
HubSpot – Leading inbound marketing software. I think, now it’s a little confused after a decline in lengthy attract > convert > close > delight process. It tried to catch traction with the Flywheel model. But, it did have enough fuel to support the passion of HubSpot.
Moving towards wholesome customer interaction from start to end. Less clear than the previous version. But, they see the future with personalization and skipping lengthy nurture process. That may be the reason they are focusing on chatbot and sales software more.
Marketo – Very successful marketing automation software and early adopter of trigger-action based email. Right before they got acquired by Adobe, the company had started thinking about a new respectful corporate selling technique – Account-based marketing.
What’s Next With Marketo –
Now they like to be called as ABM software. I think they are happy or they don’t have any option. Or maybe, there is no proper direction after acquisition due to a change in leadership. (One founder has already started a new company – Engagio)
Oracle Marketing Cloud – First-generation marketing software with something we call advance segmentation, automation, and targeting (I am talking about the marketing part of the cloud). Mostly targeted to get corporate clients, and corporate clients have been still using it and they will use until the death of either of them, I hope so. (Because they are established and they will not be able to migrate easily until you provide migration with your own software)
What’s Next With Oracle Marketing Cloud –
Profitable, arrogant towards new technology adoption and will be replaced by new tech someday. Just like the taxi industry by Uber and Lyft.
I had some hope with HubSpot, but not very sure because they are focusing more on selling their software and now they are sounding like HubSpot is for everyone who needs marketing and sales. I don’t know how they got this idea, maybe they are right.
In my opinion, great marketing software is not Gmail and Facebook, anybody can use it as a public toilet.
One more important thing is marketing software in one of the due unicorn that was left behind. Certainly, a fictional angel will emerge as a unicorn. Although it seems to be ridiculous, as the combined market size is hardly 100 billion dollars. But, who knew the friend request is the next unicorn. At least things are pretty clear here.
So, what’s the next marketing hack?! Still a question…
I think we all know the answer from even before the invention of the need for marketing and advertisement. If you will do reverse engineering, you would see there is only one thing common in all, even in the market controlled by emperors.
That is “Getting Personal”…..
When I say getting personal, there is no place of fictional character a.k.a ideal customer profile or persona. There is no place of assumption. Everything here is only one thing – Talk to the f**king real person.
In simple words, customers would say – Shut up! talk to me because I want to buy it from you. What do you have to offer tonight?!
Let’s understand this again – Sometimes when our mom used to send us to buy milk from a nearby shop, she gave us little extra bucks to buy chocolate. We went and buy a chocolate fist and then milk. Remind that once more, what was the driving force throughout the process? Those extra bucks, right?
The same thing is applicable here, throughout the innovation of marketing theory and technology, companies become busy in getting funds, revenue, profit and little bit results (Milk) for clients, they forget to innovate further. And finally, the marketing industry couldn’t have a unicorn yet and we don’t have a solid ground of marketing technology.
But, I believe there is still a probability and chance of a unicorn in marketing leadership (software/technology). So, what is that…
Be a Human, personally…
While I am writing this post, I don’t know why I am still thinking that there must be a transformation of personalized communication. And a simple example is the transformation of chat into personalized communication. It is one of the true future of marketing. A good example is Drift – Still needs a lot to improve.
I am not saying just personalized communication is the next big marketing. But, it is one step ahead than innovation done by existing players. Here, I see a better future. And that transformation will happen maybe through a combination of Artificial Intelligence, insightful data, and customer behavior.
Now, companies don’t have time to wait for finishing the boring lead nurturing workflow. Also, buyers don’t want any automated system to teach them to make buying decisions.
In other words, marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, boring nurturing sales funnel and traditional marketing automation are now woods of grave.
So, the new era of marketing starts from finding Conversion qualified leads, not even website audience/traffic. So does the KPIs are going to change a little bit?
Yes, there is and there will be the existence of search engine, SEO and referral word of mouth as it is, with some little changes due to the rise of AI and voice-based smart devices.
Are you still thinking, what’s next to replace the current online marketing? Then for you –
I have good hope for software like Drift, not exactly this, but something like this. HubSpot is also trying to hit the base through customer-centric marketing, sales and service environment, let’s see how it goes. I would suggest HubSpot drop the idea of service software, it is killing the integration opportunity that could bring yet other thousands of customers every year.
And Finally, What’s next in online marketing technology.
And also in offline marketing technology is the same personalized communication-based technology. Whoever will build something great is going to rule the kingdom as marketing tech unicorn.
A unicorn depends upon the vision of the company and its leadership. But, remember, that will not come from Google, Salesforce, Oracle or Adobe, etc, they merely can acquire some thriving opportunity. In fact, Google is not capable of acquiring another YouTube or Google Analytics to build as they did. Similarly, Adobe can’t innovate again like Photoshop, etc. Therefore, It will be brought by YOU and Only YOU out there.
Hope you like my opinion, if so, please do share and join the conversation here on Twitter.