Customer Comes First

599 words | 2 page(s)

An online article on Fortune talks about the marketing insights from six experts who gathered at Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference. The focus of the conference was on the future of marketing, especially in which technology will continue to play a major role. The experts in the conference mutually agreed that the field of marketing may be transforming but the basic principles that have guided it all along continue to remain the same. In other words, marketing is still about offering a solution to a customer’s problem through a product. Experts conceded that the growing amount of data through a variety of sources is transforming marketing practices. But while the means might have changed, the marketing goals remain the same (Nusca, 2014).

Marc Mathieu, marketing senior vice president at Unilever reminded that the field of marketing was invented for the people. Factual CEO Gil Elbaz talked about the fact that marketers now have access to massive amount of data which helps them better understand individual customers and shape marketing efforts accordingly. In order to demonstrate the progress in information technologies, Elbaz disclosed that his company tracks 75 million places in 50 countries (Nusca, 2014).

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Deanie Elsner, chief marketing officer of Kraft Foods explained how company used proprietary social analytical tool called “Looking Glass” to identify consumers’ food interests so that specifically formulated recipes could be offered to the market. Elsner added that the company also followed consumers’ interest in cultural food items during the recent FIFA World Cup and developed recipes within 24 hours as soon as an opportunity would be identified (Nusca, 2014).

Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez informed the participants that his company helped Christiana Care Health System to better understand their patients and even convinced them to move marketing dollars from traditional advertising media such as TV and radio to new age media such as internet. As a result of this changed focus, Christiana Care Health System secured access to valuable data to better understand it customers (Nusca, 2014).

Dolby Laboratories chief marketing officer Bob Borchers claimed technology is not a platform but instead its real value lies in helping develop marketing solutions to customers’ needs. Gyro CEO Christoph Becker claimed technology is helping marketers become closer to consumers. Unilever’s Mathieu cautioned that there is huge gap in marketers and consumers perceptions. For example, only eight percent of consumers think brands connect well with them where as eighty percent of marketers think brands connect well with consumers. Mathieu hopes technology will help narrow this gap (Nusca, 2014).

It is clear that the goals of marketing profession remain same though they have new tools at their disposal to better connect with consumers. This also explains why social media has been gaining importance because it helps connect brands and consumers in ways that traditional media like TV, radio, and magazines cannot. Technology is now improving companies’ ability to understand what consumers want but at the same time, companies should stay alert against information overload which may make it difficult to distinguish between good and bad data.

Consumers have more voice than ever, thus, they are not afraid to express themselves and companies that listen to them not only improve sales but also create competitive barriers for the competition through greater brand loyalty. I agree with Dolby Laboratories’ Bob Barchers that big data has been turning marketing from art to science but I also think big data has limitations when it comes to innovation. It reminds me of Steve Jobs who claimed consumers do not always know what they want, thus, big data should be approached with care especially if the marketer is focused on disruptive products.

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