21st Century Marketing Changes

The turn of the millennium seems like a very long time ago indeed. The latter days of 1999 saw people losing sleep over the perceived ‘millennium bug’, broadband had yet to increase internet speeds to usable levels, and people were texting and calling one another from the then-sophisticated Nokia 8210.

Touchscreen technology, Bluetooth, Smartphones, tablets and even full-colour displays were still several years away. Although it was a mere 12 years ago, technology has completely transformed the way in which we communicate with one another and access, share and disseminate information.

So what of marketing? Has the way in which marketers operate changed in that time, too? Inevitably. But it’s true what they say – the more things change, the more they stay the same…

Build brand value

It has always been the ultimate goal of marketers to increase the awareness and popularity of the brands they work with, but also to ensure that this brand value is both tangible and durable.

Of course, part of this process means utilising emerging technologies and keeping up with audience trends so as not to seem antiquated and out of touch – this is true of any successful brand. However, while the media formats may have evolved in recent years, the methods and techniques we employ remain tried and tested over time.

Marketers must continue to prioritise integrity, honesty and transparency to help emerging brands appeal to the audiences they’re striving to reach without alienating anyone; it’s a balancing act combining traditional interpersonal approaches with the most contemporary technologies, formats and media trends.

Communicate with audiences

What is marketing if not communication? It is the job of the contemporary marketer to transmit a message to the audience that communicates both the company’s brand values and also a sales message – preferably one that is subtle enough to go unnoticed, but strong enough to be effective. Modern audiences use media in a completely different way to those of even a decade or so previously.

Whereas television, cinema, radio and print media were more or less passive forms of communication, the emergence and ever-increasing popularity of social networking means that audiences are now encouraged to actively engage with brands and their marketing activities.

This development, coupled with the proliferation of smart handheld devices such as tablets and Android phones means that marketing has an immediacy and interactivity that is completely unprecedented in the industry as a whole.

While it is essential to factor this in to contemporary marketing activities, it doesn’t mean that the essential tenets of marketing have also transformed dramatically over the last decade or so. In fact, the importance of insightful, accountable commercial communication is more important now than ever before; if your brand message is in any way off kilter, then contemporary audiences will waste absolutely no time in letting you know about it.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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