The world of marketing has been turned upside down. No news there.
Where once brands were defined by the image created by advertising, now it's the experience of interacting with them that forms the brand identity.
And where once intuition and creativity held sway, now big data and analytics holds out the promise of truly effective marketing.
Yet in navigating this new world, it's not just about learning new tools and techniques, important though these are. Mindsets also need to change, to avoid running aground. Here's three that come to mind:
1) Customers are not targets.
In the traditional marketing model, customers are passive, to be targeted, and persuaded to purchase. With this mindset, social media is just another channel, to broadcast the brand message, and reach customers.
Yet the digital world has given customers a voice, and connected them in conversation. Rather than targeting them, brands need to nurture active customers, who will advocate on their behalf.
And this requires a mindset of collaboration.
2) Data is not a commodity.
Touted as the new oil, big data and advanced analytics offer the promise of marketing nirvana. With this mindset, you collect everything you can to profile an individual customer, and then serve up more relevant ads and offers to entice them. Indeed, judging by the Omnicom/Publicis merger, advertising agencies see their future as data companies.
Yet customer data isn't a natural resource. It's generated by customers. And those customers are becoming increasingly equipped to manage with whom they share their data, and from whom they want to hear.
Rather than a commodity, access to customer data will become a privilege to be earned. And this requires a mindset of building trust.
3) Brands don't have to be consistent.
When brands were created by marketing, consistency was seen as a virtue. It created the strongest possible image, and enabled significant cost savings. Keep this mindset, and every last detail of the brand has to be controlled.
However, in a world where brands are defined by interactions, it's how the brand behaves that matters. And behaviors can't be controlled, or designed. Humans are not automatons after all. The culture of the organization behind the brand needs to be encouraged to live the brand, so that behaviors naturally spring from its purpose and beliefs.
Rather than consistency and control, this demands a mindset of coherence and encouragement.
However, all these mindset changes come down to one simple point. In a connected world, customers and employees turn out to be people.
Just think about what they need and what will engage them.
It's the best compass that you'll find...