Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: Marketing Society - Bridge the Consumer Gulf

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: Marketing Society - Bridge the Consumer Gulf

Article excerpt

Amid the sophistication of modern marketing techniques, it may seem surprising that the prognosis for the industry is one of great challenge and upheaval. Beneath this upheaval lies the same issue that has always been at the heart of marketing: how to build deep and long-lasting consumer relationships.

There is so much available to help achieve this that a marketer from the past would be bewildered by our seeming inability to get as close to our customers as they managed decades ago. Tracking studies, customer relationship management programmes, carelines, instant online research, integrated communication plans and ethnographic studies are all fabulous tools, yet anecdotal and empirical evidence suggests that consumer trust, loyalty and retention are in steady decline.

The more sophisticated and detailed our tools become, the further away from customers we seem to be moving. With a few exceptions, notably Tesco, it seems that marketing departments are simply overwhelmed and unable to cope with the volume of data with which they are confronted.

However, it is not the tools or the data that are at fault; frequently it is our basic assumptions about consumers, which in turn drive how we use the tools. Consumers have changed in fundamental ways that challenge the basic premises behind marketing theory.

Marketing is about matching what you produce to what the customer needs, but many consumers no longer know what they need, as they already have everything. …

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