As the first topic I wish to discuss, I would take up Marketing 3.0, the newest and most revolutionizing definition of marketing.
Obviously, a 3.0 is preceded by a 1.0 and 2.0. So let us take this up step-by-step.
Marketing 1.0, is Marketing which is product centric, talks about the features of the products being offered, and does not care much about what specifically the customer needs, the kinds of tweaks and customizations that he may want. This was mainly due to the in the significant gap between demand and supply, with demand far outweighing supply (putting suppliers into a position of strong bargain). The concept is well reflected by Henry Ford’s oft repeated statement “a customer can have a car painted any colour as long as it is black“.
Marketing 2.0, is about being customer centric, and involves understanding customer needs, and satisfying them with the product/service offering. Now, this is a result of increasing no. of suppliers for a particular offering. Hence, if more car-makers came into reckoning, the customers would try and choose which particular model satisfied their needs best. Hence, companies started focusing on creating differentiation based on the customer needs. Many different variants and extensions were launched, heralding the segmentation age, where every company stocked different variants to satisfy different needs. This may be reflected in the range of cars Maruti came up with, ranging from the simple Maruti 800 , utilitarian Van and the classy Esteem. Customer centricity can therefore be put forth as the central pivot which lead to segmentation as well as positioning, leading to the, now famous, S-T-P.
Coming to the core idea of the post, Marketing 3.0 is an evolution beyond customer needs. Marketing 3.0 is about working with the customer, pulling on the emotion/feeling chords, pulling more on the heart than the mind. It does not mean that rationality goes for a toss. It merely implies that while rational benefits are always there, the attachment is built upon emotional parameters
Taking the example again from the automobile sector, when a company like Maruti realizes that there are players like Hyundai attacking them with Santro and the Fords of the world with their Icon, it understands that now the different customer needs can be well satisfied by the competitors as well.
So, what does it come up with?
It comes out with a campaign such as the one embedded below, on the concept of ‘India comes home in a Maruti‘
Observe that now the pull is not based on how fast the car can go, or whether customer needs of comfortable transport is satisfied. It is now about the emotional connect that Maruti enjoys with the Indian people.
Hence, now the focus is Emotion-centric, or Human-centric, as Philip Kotler has coined in his latest book of Marketing 3.0 ( http://www.amazon.com/Marketing-3-0-Products-Customers-Spirit/dp/0470598824 )
Now, the marketeers of different offerings try to build an emotional connect with their customers. Some of the recent examples of this kind of connect:
1. Maggi – Campaign about Meri wali Maggi
2. Bajaj – Hamara Bajaj (both old and new versions of the commercial)
As can be seen in the above examples, the effort is build an emotional bond with the customer, because it has been observed that the emotional pulls are the strongest pulls on a consumer mindspace, helping the most in maintaining loyalty
Hence, Marketing 3.0 is here to stay, perhaps for a long time to come. We might see new and innovative ways of building the said emotion-connect. As of now, the brands which have been in existence for long (Maruti, Maggi, Bajaj, Hero Honda), with a high TOMA (Top-of-mind-awareness) are the ones who are using this concept the most. The way forward for other brands should an interesting battle of creativity on the astroturf called consumer mindspace.
Comments welcome !!