How do we teach next-gen marketers when we can’t define next-gen marketing?

Fundamentals of pricing, distribution, development and advertising will never become obsolete, writes Rob Morrison.

First, a little apology. The catalyst for this story may seem a little self-indulgent but stick with me, there’s a strong industry insight underpinning it; I promise.

First, the story. I have a daughter who’s just completed her HSC. As you can imagine, I’m immensely proud.

Particularly because in the last month she’s been offered three of her top four choices across two states. But, and here’s the kicker, all four of those choices are marketing related.

I know, apples and trees, right?

In multiple conversations with her, it struck me that, by the time her three-year degree is done, chances are the marketing landscape will look completely different from the way it does now. Digital disruption. Data driven. Intrapreneurs. Artificial intelligence. But the inescapable fact is, the next round of marketing and advertising talent need to be educated now.

Like, right now. Today.

So the big question is, ‘how to you educate for the future when you have no idea what the future holds?’

To me, the answer is a simple, single word. One we should all use more often.

Fundamentals.

Fundamentals in pricing

My university lecturer once proudly decreed “a product is worth what someone’s prepared to pay for it.”

Not what it cost you to make. Not what it costs to deliver. Those are irrelevant. And that’s still true. Regardless of whether it’s a piece of downloadable software, a 3D printed widget or a beam-me-up-Scotty teleporting ticket. What’s it worth to your audience?

Fundamentals in distribution

Getting your product to your buyers in a way which suits them, not you. That might be via virtual reality goggles which deliver a new type of holiday, a whirring droid that delivers your pizza or, heaven forbid, an old-fashioned face-to- face meeting where you speak to an expert.

Where are your audience when their cash is burning a hole in their pocket?

Fundamentals in product development

‘Solving a customer’s problems with our products and services’ is still the corner-stone of what we all do.

Where are your customers hurting? What do they need solved? What do we make that helps? It could be a driverless car, a can of self-carbonating soft drink, a multi-million dollar business technology solution or a holographic paperclip.

Adapting our products to suit them will still sell.

And yes, fundamentals in advertising

One of the joys of fragmented media landscape is we can find media which only appeals to those with the need and/or ability to buy what we sell. Our wastage goes down. And yes, it’s getting more fragmented. Just in social media we’ve gone from MySpace and 4-square to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

Who knows what the next socially-connected-3D-VR-smell’o’vision platform will look like?


Related: Bill Binch has spotted a mismatch between the new technologies marketers are excited about, and the ones which will actually help them engage with consumers »


 

What we do know, is that its popularity will be driven by how it connects people with what interests them. As advertisers, we need to our brands to be on the list of what interests, entertains or engages (or all three).

Fundamentally, we will always know this. People haven’t really changed. In thousands of years of evolution we are still fundamentally motivated by self-interest.

We used to call it ‘what’s in it for me?’

Stick to that and the next generation cannot go too far wrong. Fundamentally speaking.

 

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Image copyright: hxdbzxy / 123RF Stock Photo

Rob Morrison
BY Rob Morrison ON 2 February 2017
Rob Morrison is acting ECD at Ogilvy Brisbane.