Sunday, January 29, 2017

Marketing as a service

I´ve never liked the concept of “content marketing”. Shouldn’t all marketing have some “content” that is relevant for the target group. The definitions I`ve seen have sounded like what integrated marketing has been about for decades. We need to find relevant message for our customers in a channel where they get most value of it.

In a meeting at Finnish Advertisers Association, we had a much more exciting discussion over “Marketing as a Service”. Since people spend increasingly time in various social media channels, it has become a hub for performing various tasks or activities. Finding information, making comparisons, finding inspiration, looking for services, performing transactions, or simply being entertained. This is where customer service, sales, marketing and communications get mixed. Someone may look for advertising for the sake of entertainment. Someone might be looking for online technical support to use a product, and ends up buying more.

Marketing, with the purpose of generating demand, can actually be used as – or generate - a service. Online channels provide great opportunity for various kinds of interactions – when wished by customers. Thus the customer journey logic works well. How can we serve the customer within their purchase process through various actions that help them make a decision – and be happy about it. Thus, the “Maalilinja” service by Tikkurila, who provides inspiration for interior design over selling paint, and “Traveller” service by Marriott, may be bigger reason to buy than a single offer. In fact, a short movie by Marriott, ended up with 80.000 bookings, with service being destination information.

We marketeers may spend our times on customer magazines and newsletters, which as such may be relevant and informative. The challenge for the future will be where and when to publish content to our target audiences. Someone suggested there should be a story bank. When there is a trigger, such as political or economic event, or cultural phenomena, we are ready to publish instantly. In addition to the annual or quarterly plans, we need to be prepared for instant feed. How does this change our planning or resourcing practices? Do online service personnel equal marketing as a service?