The question of how marketing is changing, if at all, will likely rage for years as the “youngsters” see a new world order and the “seniors” curmudgeonly state “been there done that with the .com bust.” As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The tenets of good marketing will always apply, but there are some fundamental changes that cannot be ignored. A discussion we had at Callahan Creek reinforced this for me.
A couple times a week, someone schedules some webinar or presentation about something they think we need to learn as a company. Anyone can schedule one, as long as its relevant and is trying to teach something new. Yesterday, we were learning about one of our client’s technology and service changes. Toward the end, and I can’t remember how we segued onto this topic, but we started talking about Sporting KC and Live Strong park. In particular, our discussion was about how they have created such a vibrant, engaged community. Our creative director, Tug McTighe likes soccer a little [/huge understatement/] and was telling us about everything that happens at the park, especially on how they were engaging fans. Examples: Using QR codes on each seat to enable interaction and seat-level service (sounds like they learned some lessons); an interactive app during the game that awards points and offers prizes for participation; using the scoreboard to lead chants during key parts of the game that were developed by “The Cauldren”; encouraging seat sections to develop their own online groups; elevating a fan who showed up as “Darth Sporting” by making him a part of the game and also encouraging public appearances.
The key, Tug explained, is that Sporting KC was watching and listening to find ways to participate, not following the typical company’s efforts to manufacture and push something, hoping it will go viral. This is an extremely important way that marketing is changing, and must, in my humble opinion. Successful companies in the future will become anthropological in their marketing - “living” amongst their customers and finding ways to fulfill their needs based on what THEY are saying and doing. It will require astute listening and observing skills, and the ability to think inductively about what to do. No consumeer is going to tell you how to market to them. They’ll expect you to figure that out.
Pretty huge epiphany for me yesterday, Can’t ask for a better day than that!