“What a long, strange trip it has been…”
For those of you that are as old as me, you’ll instantly know that quote is from the Grateful Dead’s famous song “Truckin”. When I think of that lyric – I am not thinking about my high school days. Well, maybe a little. Mostly, I’m reflecting on just how much the science, the art, the profession of marketing has changed in recent years.
Pause if you will for just a moment and think about the marketing landscape just 10 years ago. Google had only just gone public and only a small percentage of marketers knew what the acronyms ‘SEM’ and ‘SEO’ meant. The iPhone was in its infancy. Facebook had only just left the college campus and was still being thought of as a place to tell people what you were having for lunch. Now, we can’t imagine a world without them. I’ll often say that marketing has changed more in the last 5 years than the last 500…and, it’s likely to change even more in the next 5.
If you pull the lens back, it used to be that we all lived in an era of mass marketing – one where it was ‘one message for everybody’. And, it was all about how good that single message was – how clever we were as marketers. Then, the internet showed up, and we moved into an era of transactional marketing – where it was all about the ‘click’ point of interaction. But, now in this pervasive mobile, social, digital world, we’re graduating to this new era – an era where that click, that interaction, is just the beginning of a lifelong relationship and journey with a customer. Let’s call this the era of engagement marketing. A long, strange trip indeed.
This new era of engagement marketing is one that is just starting to unfold and will hinge on the ability of organizations to engage people on a personal level, continuously over time, across all channels, and across all of their experiences. This will be the new basis of competition – organizations with deeper engagement will emerge as the winners. And, all of this puts the marketing function in the driver’s seat even more as organizations increasingly turn to marketing to shepherd this customer journey. A “marketing first” world, if you will.
But let’s be honest here. I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know exactly how this is going to play out. But, I do know that this wild ride we are all about to take is one that will fundamentally change the way brands and organizations interact with customers and people.
To help provide a few guideposts, Marketo commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit to explore how marketers everywhere navigate this new era. The EIU spoke to some of the brightest minds in marketing around the globe, surveying marketers at companies of all sizes and shapes.
Together with the Economist, we have synthesized this data into a series of insights about how to chart a course through this new era of engagement marketing. Starting next week, I will kick off a 26-week long series sharing these insights. I look forward to sharing this long, strange trip together.