Marketing seems easy today. You can enhance any photo into an advertisement with a few clicks, using a run-of-the-mill image processing program; you can use social media to spread your sales message around the world in a few seconds, with no printing or postage involved; and there’s decades’ worth of marketing research all translated into easy rules, ready for you to implement.
But here’s the bad news: while your knowledge has increased and those technologies have gotten better and better, your prospective clients have changed, too! Consumers are bombarded with shiny images and catchy slogans. They have become wary of false promises, and they’re no longer passive consumers of media – they want to participate. If you don’t engage them, they’ll simply stop listening!
Widely accessible technologies have transformed media sources into networks of exchange. People don’t sit idly by and consume their news, ideas and entertainment. Instead, they actively create them, marking our time as the age of participation.
New forms of advertising are marking the emergence of a new economy, in which an increasing number of people work in the creative sector as filmmakers, writers, website designers and so on. While these creative workers still represent a relatively small sector of society, they exert considerable influence through their lifestyles and opinions. In addition, these consumers have sophisticated desires that demand a new approach to business and marketing.
In this sense, creative people flip Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on its head.
According to Maslow, humans’ needs can be divided into levels. The most basic need is for survival, then safety, then love and belonging. Next comes boosting one’s self-esteem or ego, and last is self-actualization. A need higher up on the pyramid can only be satisfied once the one below it has been.
The thing is, the pyramid doesn’t hold up when applied to creatives. For them, making the world better while finding meaning, happiness and spirituality are stronger drives than the lust for material possessions. This is significant because the opinions of creatives guide the ideas and desires of others, especially through their use of social media.
So, as a corporation, it pays to avoid making enemies of creative people, such as by avoiding poor business practices or products that can land you in trouble.
On the other hand, it’s always beneficial to offer something that strikes a chord with the values and spiritual inclinations of creatives. If you can, you should carefully communicate it through marketing campaigns and follow through with it in your actions.
A useful way to look at our existence as humans is to view us as comprising four basic components: a physical body, a rational mind that analyzes the world, a metaphorical heart at the centre of our emotional needs and responses and, finally, the soul, our spiritual centre. Each of these fundamental elements has its own needs, and successful marketing means appealing to these needs. However, traditional marketing only actually targets two of the above components.
First, it appeals to the minds of customers with a clear brand identity. This happens when marketers find a way to insert their brand into the minds and memories of their customers. In saturated markets, achieving this requires companies to stand out, while also remaining relevant to their customers’ rational needs and desires.
Second, traditional marketing works hard to evoke emotions through the brand being marketed. To do this, marketers develop an excellent brand image. In ideal cases, this image goes straight to consumers’ emotional needs. Think of a pair of shoes made by a prestigious brand; these can satisfy a customer’s need for status or importance.
But Marketing 3.0 helps you go further by doing all of the above, while also targeting a third aspect: the soul.
By establishing brand integrity, a state you can only establish by building trust for your brand and working in accordance with the values communicated through your brand identity and image. These three aspects together make up the 3i.
A company can demonstrate its commitments by defining a mission, vision and values. Letting customers know that your company works for great things is vital, and the tool to get you there is a powerful mission that is well communicated. Here’s how to make it happen: First of all, your mission should involve presenting something that transforms your customers’ lives. To that end, it’s essential that companies work hard to produce innovative ideas that can truly make a difference.
Authentic values help you attract stellar employees who will happily deliver your values to customers. companies with strong values find it easier to attract talented and motivated employees and hold a competitive advantage when searching for talent. Furthermore, employees that work for a company they identify with are much more motivated and therefore more productive.
In fact, employees who live by the values of their companies make fantastic brand ambassadors. Whenever employees interact with customers, they build the brand’s public image. Therefore, the more they represent corporate values, the better.
It can be tempting to go for short-term profits to satisfy your shareholders, but you’re much better off resisting the urge. After all, short-sighted management is harmful.
Short-sighted management decisions damage your company’s long-term prospects, along with its stakeholders, who are the people your company affects, like its employees, neighbours and the general public.
A better strategy is to build a sustainable vision for your company and convince your shareholders that it works. In the end, a company’s value is mostly determined by its future performance and that performance is based on its corporate vision. Therefore, your vision needs to address sustainability.