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Transforming Marketing for the Modern Consumer

This article originally appeared on on Nov. 2, 2017.

No industry has been immune from digital disruption in recent years. Marketing is no exception: Today, digital strategies are at the heart of marketing campaigns across any industry, and there isn’t a marketer in the business who hasn’t wished that an ad of theirs would go viral.

Of course, while marketing has been quick to adapt to the brave new world that has unfolded with the rise of the internet, the industry can’t afford to rest on its laurels. Technology is continuing to evolve and—more importantly—consumers’ behaviors and desires are changing; so for branding and advertising efforts to stay on the cutting edge, then the world of marketing needs to keep finding ways to reinvent itself and offer value to audiences.

This is particularly evident in the ways that contemporary consumers interact with media. In the previous era of marketing and advertising, advertisers unleashed torrents of content upon consumers who had no option but to passively absorb them. Today, however, consumers wield significantly more agency in that relationship. Thanks to technology, they decide when, how, and even if they will interact with an ad; in fact, more than a quarter of desktop users run adblockers that allow them to filter out ad content altogether.

Although technology has made it easier for consumers to disengage with ads, it has also paved the way for a solution to that issue. According to marketing guru Rishad Tobaccowala, “While we are in an age of secular decline of advertising we are in a renaissance of marketing.” Consumers may not care to view ads, he says, but they crave experiences. Marketers can thus harness the power of the internet to “create great experiences, jaw dropping design, convenient utilities and satisfying services,” and let consumers themselves become the ads by having them go out and talk about those experiences.

Rishad also notes the power of brands in the digital age. As the process of media fragmentation continues and an increasing number of channels compete for consumers’ attention, brands will act as a force that helps them traverse the new landscape. An ad, after all, might just be more content amongst the digital noise whereas a well-defined brand can help to orient users. This intersects well with his point on experiences: If a brand can engage users with a strong experience, then it has a much higher chance of standing out in the multipolar world of modern media.

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