Prof. Manit Mishra
Specialization- Marketing, Strategy & General Management
Designation- Associate Professor
The fast-paced evolution in Marketing discipline has left everyone wondering where are we heading towards? It is indeed a thought-provoking thread. Let me take the risk of answering that query. Since the very beginning, marketing has evolved continuously while retaining its basic tenets. Marketing would always be about “meeting needs profitably” and marketers would always be required to “sense-and-respond” to consumers’ need and greed. However, there would definitely be a paradigm shift in terms of the way we execute marketing. That has always been the case in Marketing. The classic rivalry between Ford and General Motors in the early 1920s is a case in point. Ford was the market leader in automobile industry with Model T being the largest selling brand. However, Model T was available only in black color. When customers requested for Model T in other colors, Henry Ford is said to have responded, “You can have a car of any color you want, as long as the color is black.” To a similar query Alfred P Sloan, the then CEO of General Motors is believed to have said, “We have a car for every purse, purpose, and personality.” This was an evolution from mass marketing to segmented marketing. While the fundamental tenet of marketing in terms of customer centricity was still relevant, its execution had evolved. Based on more recent happenings around us, let us try to gaze into the crystal ball and make an educated guess regarding factors that are likely to drive marketing in future - artificial intelligence; big data; and clutter. Collectively these can be referred to by the acronym – ABC.
1. Artificial intelligence (AI): The AI would influence multiple processes within the area of marketing. Let me focus on one particular aspect of it called as market intelligence. It is very important for an organization to have a robust market intelligence process so as to maintain sustainable market orientation contributing towards customer centricity. The AI applications can be broadly segregated into task automation and context understanding. The task automation is increasingly being used for applications such as price optimization. It is the context understanding that is still being mastered. The Siris, Alexas, and Cortanas are just a glimpse of what would it be like in the future. Not to mention Sophia, a talented robot who speaks, jokes, sings, and, hold your breath, she paints as well.
2. Big data: Gartner would have us believe that data of multiple variety is streaming in at great velocity and in large volume. Even as you are reading this, each second 40,000 searches have taken place on Google; 2 professionals joined LinkedIn; and as many as five lakh tweets were sent out. This data would increasingly get channelized and leveraged for better marketing decisions.
3. Clutter: There is going to be ever increasing clutter that marketers would need to deal with. Just to bring things into perspective, there are 892 news channels that are bombarded at Indian consumers 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. However, it is not about the medium, it is about the consumer’s mind. This clutter leaves no empty space in consumers’ psyche. Marketers would increasingly have to devise differentiated approaches to register their presence in consumers’ psyche. The tell-tale signs are already there if you have observed. Brand Amul talks about increasing immunity to a COVID sensitive market and Apple, of all the brands, communicates “lots to love, less to spend.” The future is only going to get more competitive in days to come.