The short of it
For years the marketing world and manufactures have teamed up to keep a frenzied pace of new products coming at us. The motivation for this is simple and straight forward; planned obsolescence. That is, make sure the next best thing is always in reach to keep consumers always “on” with regard to their buying behaviour. The downside to this is an avalanche of over stimulation as every new product tries to compete for its 15 minutes of fame resulting in burn out or habituation by consumers. Businesses and marketers started to recognise this some time back and as a reaction brand management was born. Brand management divided the personality of the company, the brand, from the products, thereby giving businesses a new way of “connecting” with their customers to build longer term connections or relationships. By connecting the personality of the brand with customers a relationship and loyalty could be formed thereby creating brand equity. The value of loyalty expressed as brand equity. If you question this, think of Nokia. They contribute little to the design, manufacture and support of their phones, but through management of their brand maintain a dominant segment in the mobile phone market.
In a world of overwhelming amounts of choice, people are increasingly becoming more discriminating in what they attend to and developing tunnel vision. Like riding a Harley down the freeway; if you are going for a slow drive in the country you have the luxury of turning your head and admiring all the wonders that pass by. But as you turn up the speed!!! The head goes down, the eyes narrow and your stare is straight ahead on the centre line of the road – everything in your periphery disappears. Technology has enabled this behaviour. It has both provided the feeling of being strapped to a Harley doing 150 mph with the world rushing by and also through RSS, pipes and social sites allowed us to create our own “tunnel vision” by selectively filtering out most of what is unnecessary (e.g. RSS, gadgets and pipes). Marketers take note.
The long of it
Marketing needs to embrace much of the brand management philosophy. It is no longer viable to assume that a campaign with duration of 30 days or less will have an impact on consumers that are looking for stability and consistency in their choices. 64% of all persons on the internet have a “home site” that they visit daily. Marketing strategies, like brand strategies need to invest for the long term to build an audience based on consistency, affirming customer values and being engaging through dialog. I am introducing the term Marketing Equity in this blog entry. Outside of the academic world there is little discussion on this topic and “OMG!” no entry in Wikipedia; which proves my point. The value of a customer’s time and attention is at an all time premium. Their selectivity and ability to control the content they receive is becoming more precise. If you are lucky enough to get some attention, only a fool would waste the opportunity by letting their gaze drift away. Marketers need to develop comprehensive campaigns that engage customers for the longer term with interactive, informative and engaging campaigns that, like their brand counterparts, tap into the values of the customer to build lasting loyalty as expressed through marketing equity.