Defining Purpose: Marketing, Selling and Brand Building in Shifting Times

Shift #1. Demand is evolving: Prolonged weak economic conditions, generational changes and other factors are causing consumers to rethink what goods and services they want and need. This is causing companies to refocus their thinking as to how to best create value, including shifting more power to procurement departments, which puts downward pressure on service providers pricing and makes it harder to build lasting and loyal relationships with and within organizations.

Shift #2. Marketing is being redefined: Data and analytics is at the heart of marketing today. This development, coupled with the absence of fully formed, properly staffed marketing functions (and generational shifts) are driving the need for new service models. 

Shift #3. Data needs Context:  Having access to a data and having the ability to segment is not not enough to create brands, communications and experiences that have utility and resonate with those you are trying to connect. Designs that connect and create emotional experiences matter more today than ever before.

Shift #4. Consumer-Networks matter as much as the consumer: Focus must remain on the individual, and must include the ecosystem of information, entertainment and connections they choose to leverage and be a part of of their lives. Marketers have to listen more,  talk less and react faster to thrive in this environment. 

Shift #5. Consumers reward originality: In a world where channel proliferation and multi-screen strategies are the norm, originally is rewarded and parity is punished. 

Shift #6. Content is currency: A simple, coherent and adaptable story and narrative that captures the core purpose of an enterprise, product or service is central to building a sustainable brand and the execution of successful marketing/selling strategies and campaigns. People remember stories, not specifications and other details.

Shift #7. All companies are media companies: The digital domain is providing more ways to distribute content, and is forcing marketers to fundamentally rethink the marketing and selling functions, looking at new models and the attendant needs for redefining roles, responsibilities and accountabilities.

Ron Cappello is the founder and CEO of Infinia Group, a brand strategy and design firm based in New York City. He can be contacted at 212-463-5101 and rcappello@infiniagroup.com.