1to1 Media - the publishing arm of Peppers & Rogers Group - has taken a look ahead at what marketing will be like 12 years from now, having fielded research among 150 marketing executives for their insights into the future. The conclusion, of course, is that the process of marketing will be 'radically different' from today.
The research broadly determined that in all four components of the 1-to-1 Marketing Framework (Identify, Differentiate, Interact, and Customise - as developed by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D.), the degree of 'radical change' will be high, with this degree of change being cited by more than half of the survey's respondents.
Most respondents (at least 80%) agreed that there will be moderate to high levels of positive change occurring within the capabilities that enable 1-to-1 marketing.
This may well be true, the study concluded, despite the increasing appearance of "marketing fog" on the horizon (such as government-backed privacy regulations, a deluge of messaging from multiple channels, and the increasingly scarce resource of consumer attention).
What's in the marketer's future?
The research also highlighted several noteworthy perceptions about 1-to-1 marketing in the year 2020:
- Challenges remain and opportunities still abound
Relevant customer dialogue is expected to be the area with the lowest level of positive change, but it will at least be driven by moderate to high levels of change in understanding, in terms of both customer value and customer needs. Capturing and sharing customer information will see high levels of positive change, and using and coordinating these insights will improve the overall customer experience.
- Marketers out of control while customers take control
82% of respondents agreed that control will shift from marketers to customers and, as a result, customer collaboration will take on much greater importance by 2020.
- Relationships beat products
78% agreed that the future of marketing will be based on building authentic relationships more than the development of new and exciting products. As one respondent said: "A product can be duplicated, but a relationship can't."
- Trust is still paramount
84% agreed that "building customer trust will become marketing's primary objective". Historically, the main objective of marketing has been promoting sales, and this shift in attitude suggests that marketers are more fully recognising that a message can't influence customer behaviour if the messenger isn't trusted. Consequently, marketers will play a greater role in creating and nurturing customer trust.
According to Jack Sundstrom, director of research for Carlson Marketing, the 1-to-1 concept will become more significant in the years to come: "Organisations that plan on the groundwork of 1-to-1 will have the 'early mover advantage', possibly building a sustainable competitive advantage."
Based on this research and other market trends, Sundstrom predicted that 1-to-1 capabilities will change greatly in the coming years, and that those companies that are behind now will fall even further behind if they don't take corrective action soon: "Keeping up will require constant diligence and attention to new developments within each individual organisation".
The full report has been made available for free download from 1to1 Media's web site - click here (198Kb PDF document, no registration needed).