Marketing in the Age of Convergence
Simply put, Marketing is gaining access to the target audience’s mind-space and influencing them positively to make a brand preference.
Adfactors led the torch into the fields of marketing when it signed a MoU with upGrad, a leading education company, to train 300 of its client-servicing employees in digital marketing & communications. As a step towards convergence, the post-graduate certification program has been designed by experts from MICA, a marketing-focused B-school, and Adfactors PR. This investment of companies to upscale their employees is a validation that the industry is undergoing a transition.
Origin – It’s always the story
From the ancient times to now, story-telling has met various dimensions as it traveled geographies and cultures, chose formats from verbal to written, from calligraphy to paintings, theater to songs and touched lives so much so that these stories exist till date and are as vivid.
In all these years marketing was smart enough to adapt to the times, the technology and human behavior to amplify great content. Leveraging right content to the right audience through the most apt tools resulted in helping consumers make a choice for the right brand.
Dark Knight Rises – Media vs Technology
With Story-telling as the super skill, the medium continues to evolve at its definitive pace in sync with the technology. From the no-frill word of mouth to ink-written letters, printing press to books, newspapers, magazines and the internet. The Internet, however, was like Iron Man’s lethal missile Jericho to the marketing world. It opened up avenues so far and mighty that ever since there is constant volatility in the communication world.
Media if we reckon has also shaped so as to meet the needs of the population. Radio, Newspaper, Television have been referred to as ‘mass media’ as per the definition given their accessibility to regions and people. As mass media, the power of comprehending and disseminating the information remained with few. As a critical contributor PR as a profession had to take the role of message crafters and information strategists.
Transformers – The Age of Extinction
In 2018 – 19 a big change has happened however and the definition of how we define mass media has come into question. I will like to define it as a powerful tool of change which is held by the masses. Where everyone with a ‘basic camera-phone’ and ‘intent’ is as powerful as any editor, journalist or an erstwhile media watchdog.
The range of media which has a hold on the consumers is Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram of course, Twitter and the latest user-generated content platforms like Whatsapp, TikTok and Youtube. For a consumer brand, the dwindling readership of the traditional media including newspapers and magazines is huge opportunity as interactive and engaging platforms have started dominating with large active userbase. Even for a B2B brand, it will be important to engage practices beyond traditional PR to successfully articulate the brand ethos.
Consumption of essential information, news and entertainment are fulfilled by the smaller yet smarter screen held in the hand, even in the remotest regions. The huge group of first-time internet users if leveraged by brands efficiently is potentially a marketer’s paradise. But! This fastest-growing consumer demographics is volatile, least attentive, hates ads and are not awed by stars and celebrities. 60% of the Gen Z wants to converse and make a purchase decision of a product recommended by their favourite influencers than a celebrity / TV model. The media consumed by them is dominated by video than text or even images.
The silence of the Lambs – Client’s POV
Now for a client, the PR efforts may not seem as effective in the review meetings. They may very well realise that ROI from social media and other influencer marketing is a more effective investment than their PR retainer fees. As a skill, it will be required not only to make textual content but design and package it as well.
As readership and viewership shift to the smaller screen, PR is urged to become more measurable, analytical and even data are driven from the traditional AdValue and Share of Voice. We can already see the younger organisations have overlapping roles and KPIs. Corporate Communications in the nouveau organisations is now a mixed Branding department with social media, branding, events, all carved into one. The PR with the influences from the industry, from the consumer behaviour and from the technology has gradually started to become an essential part of hard-core marketing. They can choose the right media as per the target audience’s interest and consumption.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
It will soon be a demand and supply requisite where along with the super core skill of story-telling other skills need to be a part of the package. Inter-department or inter-agency collaborations will become a single team working towards a single unified aim.
It will be the Marketing team’s foremost goal to build a positive influence among the stakeholders to make a brand preference – not just brand recall.