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New marketing strategies have unfolded since the birth of marketing as an art back in the early 1970s. With the evolution of data making marketing as science as much as an art, the emphasis shifted to the technologists and data scientists. The pandemic may have to change that trajectory. Are you ready?

Recently, I was making a presentation to a potential client and was explaining how marketing had evolved from Marketing 1.0 to 4.0. My source was the 2017 book, Marketing 4.0, by Philip Kotler, who laid out the progression as follows:

  • Marketing 1.0 – Product focused. Features and benefits.

  • Marketing 2.0 – Customer Centric marketing. Remember Peppers and Rogers and their introduction of 1:1 marketing. In the 1980s, the customer became important.

  • Marketing 3.0 – Transformed customers into human beings and brands were encouraged to transform their products, services and cultures to reflect human values. I continue to call that putting your customer at the heart of your business.

  • MARKETING 4.0 – Suggested that the digital age and all the new technologies would draw brands closer to their customers and that these same technologies were causing power shifts in the marketplace that reshaped marketing. It recognized a new breed of customer.

As I wrapped up these descriptions, I was asked what Marketing 5.0 would look like. I was not prepared to answer that, but I did, and it’s about to open a whole new marketing exploration that’s been brewing in my mind for a while. Let’s go exploring.

However you chose to describe the 4.0 new breed of customer, the COVID-19 pandemic has already changed it. The conversations brands crafted in the pre-pandemic era to connect with customers have been muted. To use an overworked, overextended term, a new reality of how to connect with your marketplace has changed everything.

The reasons for these changes lie in the fact that how we live, how we interact with others, how we work, and how we play has changed. While we attempt to experience a few glimmers of the past, they are few and far between. Five years ago, last weekend, we were tailgating in Ann Arbor. I know because Facebook reminded me. This weekend, I watched football games being played in mostly empty stadiums or stadiums filled with cardboard cutouts. Our new reality.

Consider this: Marketing 5.0 is going to require marketers to PIVOT and that will be uncomfortable. Just when we think we had everything figured out; everything changed. Usually, such changes are in small increments, spread over time. Not now. This pandemic is fueling multidimensional marketing changes almost daily.

Key takeaway: If you accept the fact that your marketplace is changing, PIVOTING means leveraging the new changes in consumer behaviors and buying patterns to improve your competitive positioning.

That sounds good, but there is more.

Marketers have focused their energies on data driven processes, with significant emphasis on segmentation and personalization. Technology has allowed marketers to slice and dice their customer bases and fine tune their messages to clusters of customers and potential buyers. That has accelerated as the marketplace became more digitally engaged and brands saw the power shift to connected customers. We have seen random conversations become more credible than targeted advertising campaigns. In pre-pandemic marketing, brand thinking moved from exclusivity to inclusiveness.

In 4.0 marketing, Kolter wrote, “At a more micro level, humans are embracing social inclusivity. Being inclusive is not about being similar; it is about living harmoniously despite differences. In the online world, social media has redefined the way people interact with one another, enabling people to build relationships without geographic and demographic barriers.”

Marketing 5.0 requires us to leverage what we have learned in Marketing 4.0 and PIVOT from segmentation and personalization to create a new marketing platform that is personal. In the Age of C-19, where distancing and masking is the new norm, marketers have to develop new ways of connecting with customers to keep their business and capture new clients and customers by getting personal.

Being personal in a C-19 digital world will not be easy. Marketers have a lot of tools in place to launch such an initiative and they have to push the technologists to develop new ones. Critical to the success of this Marketing 5.0 strategy is that the marketers have to tell the technologists what to do and not let technologists dictate what they think is right.

Marketers need to lead this move to Marketing 5.0 because it’s personal. Beyond managing the technology, marketers have to develop new messaging strategies and how to deliver them. Making your message ‘personal,’ rather than ‘personalized’ will require a completely new mindset.

Please explore and learn more about the options this new video platform offers your brand marketing to make it personal. Take a minute to view this week’s opening video. Brands need to create new easy ways to connect with their customers. Maybe video marketing is the answer your brand needs to transform its messaging.

The EndGame: New thinking. New vision. New energy. ©

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