Marketing in the 2010s

A new decade dawns and the airwaves are filled with retrospectives on the last ten years and tentative predictions for what lies ahead. I don’t normally go in for this sort of crystal ball gazing, but I’m here going to give you my view on what I think is a tectonic change taking place right now in the world of marketing.

A lot of people are on top of this change, but even more haven’t even realised it’s happening. They’re carrying on as if it was still 2007, and as 2010 rolls into 2011 I think they’re in serious danger of missing one of the most important changes to the marketing industry that will take place in our professional lifetimes.

Quite simply, it’s the shift from push to pull marketing.

With every month that passes I’m seeing more and more marketers downscaling their investment in traditional broadcast marketing techniques in favour of pull techniques. They’re cutting their spending on ads, on direct marketing, even e-mail marketing, and instead they’re directing their resources to developing online and offline content, experiences and offers that potential customers value. They’re making increasing use of online social media to spread the word, but primarily they’re relying on the power of online search to pull prospects in.

So far this principle has been adopted most vigorously by smaller B2B companies, but I believe that over the next year or two larger consumer brands are going to be looking at it more and more closely. To a large extent this shift has been driven by the drop in budgets precipitated by the recession, but I believe it will outlast the recession.

It is indeed a tectonic shift in how marketers act, and it requires those who work in marketing to look closely at what they offer and ensure it is still relevant. What is particularly notable about this change is just how rapidly it’s taking place. It is proving a stern test of how closely we watch our marketplace and how rapidly we are able to react and adapt.

What do you think?
Am I right – is this change happening and is it as momentous as I think?
Are many marketers missing it or are most coping with it fairly comfortably?
How are you changing what you do to adapt – what do you expect to change over the next year or two?

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