The Revolution of Marketing

The Art of Marketing conference came to Vancouver, BC on June 9th bringing five of the most forefront experts in marketing to share their ideas and theory around marketing in 2011. This article is part of a series summarizing the topics discussed on the day.

Understanding the Art of Marketing

The Art of Marketing kicked off with Mitch Joel, chair of the Canadian Marketing Association, author of Six Pixels of Separation and occasional columnist at BC's very own Vancouver Sun.

Dubbed by Marketing Magazine as the "rock star of digital marketing" Joel launched the conference by presenting two themes that would be echoed by the other presenters:  the 'revolution of marketing', and the need to attain a 'digital first mentality'.  Quoting some impressive statistics, including that visitors clicking on online banner advertisements has dropped 50% since 2007, Joel explained that we must rethink marketing in the age of social media.  He described that although more traditional marketing has evolved from billboards to banner ads, and from direct marketing to eNewsletters, these tools are becoming as equally ineffective in an age where customers are seeking human interaction. 

According to the International Data Capture (IDC), 101 million smart phones were sold in the last three months of 2010, compared to just 92 million PC's.; Joel claimed that keyboards and mice will turn into the 8 track of this generation – becoming obsolete, but fondly remembered.  The internet is no longer something people access from a stationary PC, which means companies need to create good user experiences no matter what device their clients are accessing information from.

Joel went on to discuss how too many companies are afraid to ask their customers for feedback on their sites, for fear of negative reviews.  However, he explained, with 75 – 80% of shoppers reading customer reviews (according to Bazaarvoice in 2010) these companies are missing out.  In fact, products with bad reviews were proved to have the highest conversion to sales. The reason for this?  He claimed that visitors read the content and not the sentiment, meaning that what another person feels is lacking is actually the right fit for them. He provided the example of a hotel review giving two stars out of five alongside the comments 'it was a nice hotel, good location, but there was no mint on my pillow'.  Most readers would dismiss the negative comment and focus on the good.

Summarizing, Joel explained that marketing has now come full circle from the days when shop owners knew every customer and what they did and didn’t like, to the days of mass messaging and no connectivity, back to building personal relationships.  Although these relationships are through online resources; social media has created a need of human interaction between businesses and their customers. Businesses that are not prepared may find their customers going elsewhere.

Integrating the Old with the New

Although the focus of the day was the impact of social media, there was an overarching message of integration with traditional marketing.  Each speaker demonstrated how tools like Twitter and Facebook can help businesses communicate and understand their customers, but that there is still room for the flyer handed out on the street and billboard campaign. The main focus should be finding the right balance between broadcast and starting a conversation.

Other articles in the Art of Marketing series: