The future of marketing – doing some good could do you very good

The economy is doing remarkably well – given the facts that gas is heading towards $4 per gallon and that interest rates are going up. All the economy: Not quite: The marketing world is a bit in turmoil. Getting under people’s skin should be our job. But the results don’t show that we are doing a very good job.
We all know the top reasons why:

  • TV ads don’t really work any longer due to the audience tuning out.
  • People are getting bombarded with over 3,000 marketing messages a day – not easy to stick out of the crowd.
  • The audience is more segmented than ever before due to the many different channels they are digesting media.

As guerilla and cross media marketer I could obviously walk over to the shelf and pull some prefabricated answers to the problem, like:

  • We need cross media interaction in ever media campaign so we can reach each customer via their preferred channels.
  • We need to be flexible, creative and always ahead of the competition. Marketing has to be funny, shocking, innovative, chaotic, sensational etc…

Doesn’t that all sound a bit old already?

It is the mantra everybody in my world is praying right now. So if everybody is funny, innovative, chaotic and sensational how do you stick out then? Imagine 100 class act stand-up comedians standing next to each other. The senses of the audience get numb pretty quickly.

So here is my take how advertising can still be effective in the future:

I think (not just hope) we are reaching a point of increased awareness in our society for environmental and social issues.

  • Many large companies are already engaging in all sorts of environmental programs. Don’t expect too much from the blue chip companies but it is a big start.
  • People are hurting at the pump and are starting to put the pieces together.
  • Even our Mr. President knows by now that the climate is out of control (wait and see what this year’s hurricane season will have in stock for us). Bush won’t admit to anything publicly but he sure knows that something is cooking.

All this leads me to believe that a modern day marketing campaign needs to have a strong social or environmental component in it. If you are trying to make a difference and people get the message then half of your work is done at this point. This certainly doesn’t apply to every product or service in the Universe and I can’t say that this will be a part of every future project I am doing. But I will always consider switching on the turbo and add a social component to it.

Why should we all sit here and wait for the next Katrina disaster to hit instead of becoming a bit more proactive? We, the marketers are supposed to be the creative department. So we should be able to a couple of loose ends together.

Our own summer project supports a school in India. It was remarkably easy to find very good people and a very good cause that deserves support and where an impact can be seen quickly – even without having millions at hand. On top of that we are having a blast with it as well.

A think a good campaign of the future should create awareness, raise funds or activate others to become involved in some sort of social work.
This will work better then any product placement or all the other subtle or not so subtle attempts to get into people’s heads.

I am slammed right now and feel bad for not being able and do some research before posting this and list my 5 or 10 top social marketing projects.

But I am sure you get the point and maybe can share some of your favorite stories?

  • Sarah Boni

    Nice to be offered so many choices in this (mobile) world — how about calling for a good cause? A new Belgian mobile operator was established with the sole aim of giving away 100% of its profits. With every call I make I contribute directly to providing mobile schools to street children in South America. So much for creating awareness, they got my attention! Dear Mr/Mrs Company: cut the crap and start being truly creative — give us consumers more of this and we will love buying your products and services!

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