It’s the end of business as we know it. Whether we like it or not, the marketplace we have become accustomed to, has changed forever and is not going to go back to how it was before. We now live in an entirely new tech savvy world, where the traditional forms of marketing and advertising will not work like they used to. I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom on you here, but how we as consumers shop and spend their lives is radically different than it was just a few years ago. If we as marketers and business owners don’t acknowledge and react to these changes, we will face major problems. We must change they way we think about marketing in order to succeed.
You see, it used to be that the businesses held the power. They controlled the messages to consumers, and in turn, the consumers followed them. You could simply put an ad for your product or service on TV or in the newspaper, and fairly easily reach a large amount of your target audience with a few ads.
Then a major shift in power changed the fundamentals of how we shop forever. Technological advancements shifted that power from the businesses in favor of the consumer. This shift in power spawned a new world where only the strong survive, thrive and prosper. So what changed? How was the marketplace reborn? In my research, I have found that there have been 3 major cataclysmic shifts that lead to this new marketplace.
Cataclysmic shift #1: Choice
Today, there are more choices for consumers than ever. Consumers and buyers have a choice in:
Products and Services
Over 26,000 products and brands are introduced every single year. Competition for the same eyeballs is at an all time high. Locally, we have become drastically over-stored. We have the same type of product and services offered within a few miles of each other. They also have little or no differentiation from one another. The Internet creates even more choices for consumers and even allows your customers to purchase your products and services anywhere worldwide.
We also have a choice of what media we consume. It used to be that there were only a few TV stations. Now, cable companies offer 1,000s. We used to have only a few local radio stations. Today, we have the Internet and satellite radio which has opened up the air to just about anyone who wants to be heard. Not too long ago, there were only a few newspapers in print. Now everything has moved online, and consumers can access news via blogs, social networking sites, online newspapers and magazines. We have millions of places for consumers to get news. The problem is that consumers are spread out and scattered among hundreds of media channels. Therefore, reaching a target audience has become much more difficult.
Cataclysmic Shift #2: Buyer Aversion To Advertising
As companies compete for buyer attention, consumers are pushing back and attempting to avoid them.
Buyers are pummeled with marketing messages every single day from magazines, radio, TV, newspaper ads, billboards and signs. Advertising is everywhere you turn and has become overwhelming. Research shows that in the 1970s, people were exposed to less than 500 advertisements per day. Today, it’s over 5,000. Because of this bombardment, consumers are now actively avoiding them and as a result, they are becoming less effective. Consumers are paying less attention to traditional ads and have even become good at mentally zapping them out.
Not only are consumers purposely avoiding marketing messages, they also placing restrictions on advertisers like “the do not call or fax list.” There is even a growing trend for the “do not mail list.” We have seen increases in spam complaints and the installment of pop up blockers. Tivo and DVR enable us to skip ads altogether. In fact, 82% of consumers fast-forward ads on TV. Satellite radio allows customers to skip radio ads completely.
“The 30-second TV spot and many other traditional advertising mediums has outlived it’s usefulness. We should pat it on the back, and say thanks for 50 years of great service. Here’s your gold rolex.” -Joseph Jaffe
Cataclysmic Shift #3: Tech Advancements
Technology has also created a new consumer. This change is the most important and damaging of all.
The Internet has empowered today’s buyer with endless choices, reviews, and product details. They are armed with new weapons that threaten the very fabric of most businesses. Here’s why:
Price and Service Shopping
Today, a simple 3-second Internet search will result in a list of hundreds of product options and prices. Today’s consumers can walk into a local store, test the product, in person, and then use their mobile device to check and see if the same product can be purchased at a lower price from another venue.
Not only can today’s consumers “price shop” you, but they can also see reviews from other people like them, who have purchased the same product. In just a few seconds, consumers can access reviews of a product, a business in general, customer service and even your competition.
Consider this: If you are searching for a product and you come across a bad review about the seller, how does that affect your decision to buy from them?
This is the market you are up against. These Cataclysmic shifts have changed everything forever.
– Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.