Human behavior is calculated by one unique characteristic – desire. Now that we are able to create , there have been people that find both intrinsic and extrinsic value in the product of our thoughts and creativity. The age of the Neanderthals, deals where fairly simple, However – if you had something of value and someone desired it, they would offer something of same value that they had to offer to you, this formed a foundation of what today is referred to as the barter system – a system where the promotion and distinction of products and ideas were devoid of terms as reach, target audience, and cost per-click.
With the progression of time, propelled by advancements in industrialization, technology, and in an increasingly globalized world, we witnessed humankind inventing and conceptualizing new products and ideas to solve problems at an unprecedented rate. Everyone wanted a piece of this mad gold rush opportunity and prosperity. Like all good things this presented in front of us the next big dilemma. Richard Thaler, in his noble Prize-winning paper on behavioral economics, explained how humans might be expected to act in a perfectly rational manner, they very rarely tend to do. In a world where we have multitudes of options to choose from, why do we choose certain products over others ? the answer to this question, while vague and quantitatively unexplained, is the science of marketing.
The role of people marketing their goods in today’s economy is perhaps the defining factor relaying the success of an organization – and despite being tasked with a world distraught amid the COVID – 19 pandemic and increasing geopolitical tensions, that has remained untouched. Since kingdom come, the 4 P’s of the marketing mix – Product, Pricing, Place and Promotion have defined the value systems followed by marketing professionals across the spectrum. In today’s life it’s defined by information overload and an ever-shrinking attention economy, However, the pre-eminent position of the 4 P’s in the marketing handbook has been replaced by the 4 E’s – Engagement, Experience, Exclusivity, Emotion.
Over the next decade, experts in both cognitive consumer psychology as well as automation- based technology foresee a strategic shift in the marketing trends. As we have covered the history behind the origins of marketing trends, the following part of this article is going to focus on how to shape the future of consumer behavior.
Digital Domination – While print mediums and word of mouth was the way to promote your product in the yesteryear, most marketing strategies focus on a heavy digital experience. The widespread availability and inexpensive access that digital platforms provide have helped bridge the major communication gap between brands and consumers. As we enter the “New Normal”. Characterized by minimal human interaction and even greater emphasis on a virtual experience, business will look at sending out Artificial intelligence- based personalized customer experience on digital platforms. The use of Augmented reality and Virtual reality experiences for promotions of products and services is what we can see more of as we move forward. Ishan Jhunjhunwala, Partner at The Orange Bulletin, a Calcutta based integrated marketing agency, shared his view on what the evolving digital landscape could look like. He says “While digital transformation will be a buzzword, winners are those who manage to put a holistic strategy optimized for both consumer and brands in this new normal.
Safety – The ensuing COVID – 19 pandemic has made one thing surrounding the behavioral patterns of consumers very clear, while the products quality plays a big role in consumption decisions, the primary caution governing whether a product is safe or will be purchased – from the procurement of raw inventory to the final shipping of the product, the consumer wants to be certain that their product is completely sanitized and runs no risk of infection. Critoph Ungerer, a senior economist focusing on Macroeconomic Trade at the World Bank predicts that this trend of safety taking precedence over quality while not a long term shift, is definitely one that we can expect to last until and efficient vaccination effort has been implemented on a global scale – anywhere between the next twelve to eighteen months. Keeping in mind marketers will have to be able to brand strategies and design campaigns which are able to seek a harmonious balance between quality and safety.
Personalisation – social media platforms such as Instagram, Youtube and Tik Tok have given the common citizen a platform to express themselves however they best deem fit. The overwhelming rush of traffic on these platforms, especially in a country like India, has created the ever expanding battle for every diminishing human attention span – of social media influencers. Marketing today has evolved to shift its focus from providing consumers with a far-fetched almost formidable outlook towards a product to a far more relatable and believable narrative. Today’s consumers are no longer wowed by when they see their favorite actor or sports person advertising a car or product. They want a product that they know is used by people placed in a similar social economic spectrum not above or below just the same.
When the recent ban on Tik Tok was announced, users instantaneously shifted to Instagram reels. We anticipated several new platforms which facilitate experience such as Tik Tok and reels to be launched in the near future to accommodate the high demand. This will be the perfect opportunity for influencers as well as brands to further their reach. Of course the main focus on these platforms will be to ensure the security of sensitive users data.
While we are indeed presently facing a crisis of unquantifiable magnitude, this would not be the first time that the human race has survived and subsequently thrived in the face of adversity. The multitudes of wars, pandemics and crises that the world has faced, the world has collectively overcome in the past is a validation to the human will to evolve with changing circumstances. As marketing is essentially the art of capturing the exposition of human thought and behavior, it too will adapt to the need of the everlasting hour.
Does this not make you think of where you are and where you wish to be, Online marketing is the way of the future for your Business.