Has the arrival of customer-centricity replaced them? In what way has digital managed to change the sales and marketing funnel?
The 4Ps model, which includes place, promotion, price, and product, has been the primary marketing strategy for the main part of the 20th Century. This model made the most sense for the marketers that were once mainly tasked with making sure they reached targeted audiences which were free from any type of direct communication channel, nor the types which afforded feedback that was meaningful. Television, radio and print media were once the main marketing-channel groups, whereby the 20th-century consumers would find out about services, products, trends, events, and news.
The Arrival of Customer-Centricity
In the year 1990, Bob Lauterborn published an article in the Advertising Age, where he stated that the 4Ps were dead and that the modern marketers should be addressing actual issues.
He was spot on. The developed markets were at this stage becoming more and more competitive, while customers also started becoming more knowledgeable as well as annoyingly choosy, and a lot less likely to react positively to products and services that they were bombarded with.
Corporations and brands started to realise that involving consumers in a more sincere manner within their product developments and services played a critical role in developing businesses which were able to deliver viability for not only the medium but also the long terms.
Rather than the 4Ps, the 4Cs model emerged to represent marketing strategies in a far better way. The 4Cs model indicated that customers need to be at the centre of all marketing communications, and this needs to revolve around their actual needs, buying habits, the result they are looking for from the “total product offer”, and what they are prepared to pay for these services or products.
Digital is in the Process of Changing the Funnel
A marketing funnel is a description of a flow of consumers into your organisation. It is a reference to the consumers’ journey: they start off as “suspects” (they are at this stage “potential” customers who do not know about your organisation and you have no present connection with them), through to “prospects”( they are now aware of your services or products) onto “sales leads” and eventually they become “customers”.
The Modern Journey of the Customer
The degree of how the journey of the customer has altered over the past 15+ years is at this stage still not appreciated or fully understood by most of us (which includes both suppliers and customers).
Here is an example to consider, the consumer’s journeys of the yesteryear’s gambler, gamer, and holidaymaker:
The process of short-listing, then comparing, and finally buying holidays was an exercise that in previous years involved a number of visits to a travel agent in your local area.
Buying a new video game, until just recently, would involve building up a friendship with a specialist that worked in a computer game store in your area.
Gambling has also quickly progressed into a rapid competitive battle online among the betting brands that are constantly trying to entice the gamblers that are constantly hunting the Web for top-rated combinations of perks and offers.
The ones mentioned above along with 99% of all the other “customer” journeys have changed irrevocably due to the Internet.
The overall direction of this travel is very clear: consumers now have far more control over what products they are looking for. For this reason, it has become vital that brands and suppliers understand how they need to respond.
The idea of consumers managing their own research along with comparison phases when it comes to their own buying journey has become an accepted trend. Yet, when suppliers and brands ask themselves this question honestly, only very few are able to say that they have managed to fully re-engineer their “top of the funnel” marketing strategies and efforts in order to match up to this ever-evolving and new reality.
Sales Vs Marketing
In previous years, marketers have stayed away from being responsible when it comes to sales. After all, how is it possible to expect us to create brand experiences that are valuable for consumers when we have to keep worrying about ROI.
Yet in today’s world, the actual truth of the matter is that each one has a point. The creativity of humans has a value that is enduring (even then it is measured by a commercial yardstick of ROI), yet digital has managed to drive Marketing and Sales so close together, which is why for many of the industries they have now become 2 parts of 1 invisible whole (again, only 15 years ago this concept would be considered blasphemous in certain sectors of our economy).
Marketers are Now Sales Lead Generators
As digital continues to push the influence of customers further down this funnel, so has the convergence of marketing and sales continued. Video production in Surrey, London, Manchester, and everywhere else has helped connect marketing and sales in the online space.
In the e-commerce businesses along with others that continue to increase, revenue has become a direct objective. Sales conversions and lead generation presume the lead generation and brand awareness activities are all optimised, and in most cases, this activity is a lot less easy to keep track of or measure.