The world of marketing is in constant flux. It feels like there are new challenges and decisions for marketers and business leaders to face everyday.
- Should you create a Facebook page for your business? Does it matter if your competitors already has one?
- Should you hire a full-time social media guru to write blogs, grow your Twitter following, and interact with your Facebook fans?
- Should you encourage your sales reps to create their own YouTube accounts so they can share how-to videos and testimonials with prospective customers?
- Should you be investigating Pinterest as a medium to promote your business?
One day Facebook is the “hot” media. But the next day, forget Facebook, now it’s LinkedIn.
Marketing consultants are prognosticating the end of traditional media, encouraging marketers to “stop wasting your money.” Cold calling has ended. Now it’s all about marketing automation.
Then there’s the rise of iPhone “apps”. Everyone’s talking about them. Maybe you need one too?
Choosing the right marketing mix today is like going to the fashion show. Marketers are focused on what’s hot; what’s not; and what’s next.
Just like every other industry, the field of marketing is subject to the value of fashion.
The Value of Fashion
As a differentiating value, Fashion means latest and most admired style; popular trends.
Note the difference between a fad and a trend.
A fad is a particular fashion taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time. This is sometimes referred to as a craze. Examples in marketing to consider include MySpace and Friendster, and of course thousands of blogs that are now gone.
A trend, on the other hand, is fashion with staying power. It generally lasts for years, or longer. So far, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube have proven to be a fashion trend, not a fad. And Pinterest also appears to have passed the trend test. But time will tell.
In the field of marketing, the value of fashion applies to more than a specific media. It can be a media subset, such as an app or game within Facebook. Or it can be an iPhone app.
Fashion can also be driven by content. Some focus on informational blogs. Others promote the sharing of personal stories. And almost all content is trying to encourage engagement with and between their target audiences (your comments are always welcome here…).
However, for many marketers and business leaders, the fashion of marketing can be overwhelming. There are too many variables. There’s either too much data or not enough data.
How can anyone stay ahead of the fashion in the marketing industry?
Know the Basics
The fundamentals of business haven’t changed. Sellers sell stuff. Customers buy stuff. And the medium for the exchange change constantly.
In its simplest form, marketing is the use of limited resources to satisfy the needs and wants of customers in a way that provides a reasonable financial return to the company. Some might include an added factor of contributing to society in a net-positive way (e.g. Triple Bottom Line).
Note what hasn’t changed for marketers:
- They have limited resources.
- The goal is to find ways to satisfy the needs and wants of customers.
- They need to generate a reasonable financial return.
Over the past 10, 20, or even 30+ years, effective marketers have always been prudent with their limited resources. Reallocating entire marketing budgets from last year’s fashion to this year’s fashion has never been wise.
Instead, smart marketers do a lot of testing. And they do this within an environment they can manage.
For example, let’s assume a marketer decides to allocate 15% of their marketing budget for “new” fashion ideas. Maybe 1/3 of this is allocated to social media. Rapid learning occurs when the marketer tries a promotional idea through a selected medium (such as Facebook or Pinterest), ideally testing 2-3 concepts or offers at the same time. Then, based on the results, they try another 2-3 new concepts that hone in on what works the best in that medium.
Set parameters. Test. Measure. Evaluate. Repeat.
This is the approach that successful marketers use to capitalize on any new fashion. This also enables marketers to adapt more readily to continually changing environments.
It’s amazing what proven principles can do to help marketers navigate the flaky world of fashion trends.
What marketers do you know that have learned to successfully capitalize on fashion trends in the field of marketing?
How can the value of fashion make a difference in your marketing?
Today’s value was selected from the “Beauty-Style” category, based on the e-book Developing Your Differentiating Values.