Well, I almost missed a day of blogging. It sure has been a crazy day, but I have had a bunch of my friends stop by at the blog to say "Hi". In particular I'd like to THANK, my good friend, Flavia Flores (with whom I went to business school) who made my day with her very nice comments on the blog. It's friends like Flavia who make blogging worth your while.
Back to Marketing 101: As many of you already know, The Center on Global Brand Leadership of Columbia Business School is currently organizing the 2006 Innovative Marketing Conference in New York City. John Hagel (marketing consultant, speaker and writer) spoke on how companies' marketing teams need to do more with less or how to capture the attention of a prospective customer in a micro-second!? (via Fast Company)
What it means to you as a Marketer? (3-point take):
(i) How can you attract the attention of your prospective customers into converting them into business buyers. John talks about how Marketing has changed from the 3 I's to the 3 A's:
I's = Intercept, Isolate and Inhibit
A's = Attract, Assist, and Affiliate
John highlights this as an inexorable shift from
"product and vendor centric promises (buy from me because I have great products or because I am a great vendor) to a customer-centric promise (buy from me because I know you as an individual customer better than any one else and you can trust me)"
This he believes would truly lead to a creation of a company brand and I believe this is essential for service marketers.
(ii) The above concepts outlined by John, dovetail with my emphasis on marketing evangelism. You can read more about it here, in a recent post of mine. To re-capitulate: customer evangelism is the art
"of proclaiming of the goodness of your product/service to your prospect/customer or by extension any other form of preaching or proselytizing with the customer's good at heart."
Let me emphasize, it's not about "making the sale", it's about "making a connection" with the prospective customer. And, in order for you to make the connection, you've got to revert to what John calls the marketing shift towards a "customer-centric promise". This in essence is going to be the future of trustworthy marketing. I think keywords here are promise and trust, rather than $ and $.
(ii) What this statement also does, is throw some light on the changing face of sales. How many of us have had a terrible experience with salesmen, trying to peddle everything from cars to enterprise software. This used to be the case in the past, especially when marketing was about the 3 I's – Intercept a vulnerable prospect, Isolate them, and then Inhibit their buying behavior. In the current day and age, marketers and salesmen of truly great brands will rather choose the route of the 3 A's. Prospects are always looking for information and assistance with regards to different products and services. The Sales team of the future, would rather attract by assisting the prospect with suitable information and thereby with their permission, affiliate with them. A far superior mode of evangelizing your service/product rather than selling to them.
If you're interested in similar topics on marketing, feel free to check out John Hagel's blog here.