As usual around this time of the year a lot has been said and written about what is going to change in the world of marketing in 2012. It is a long list ranging from “Digital First” to mainstream Social Media, Mass Customization, Crowd-Generated Content, “Gamification” and much more. The list goes on and on and all it means is that the world of marketing will be as diverse, challenging, exciting and ever changing as never before.
If I step back and look at the bigger picture, the most important change that stands out to me is the rapidly evolving role of the marketer. We marketers are used to change: changing consumer behavior, new marketing tactics and technologies, the exploding proliferation of media to name a few. We are trained to understand and anticipate change and adjust our strategies and tactics, and in turn shift our focus and marketing mix.
But with change also comes a massive shift of power. No longer are we in control, using an arsenal of different strategies and tactics to entice the buyer to make a purchase decision. The power has shifted to the buyer and she/he is in control of the buying process. It is a different buying process and we marketers have less and less influence on that decision. Our role is rapidly changing form driving and influencing the purchase decision to facilitating and enabling the individual journey every buyer decides to go through. We don’t market anymore, we increasingly facilitate.
If you think about it, it really boils down to the fact that “Content is King.” Wow, is that really new news or has content always been king? Well yes, but here is the difference: it isn’t just our content anymore. It increasingly is other people’s content. People meaning influencers, analysts, customers, bloggers, prospects and everyone else and yes, we marketers too.
So if everyone produces content and everyone consumes content what is our role, the marketer, in the middle of all this? I think it increasingly is content curation. This essentially means to facilitate that everybody gets exactly the right content, from all the different sources, at the right time, right place and in the right form. In other words content curation is helping people to find the information they are looking for. As a result marketing is changing from driving a sale to close to helping people find us and eventually buy from us.
Now, think about how different this is compared to what many marketers still do. Moving from push to pull comes to mind. A whole set of new skills and capabilities are required for us marketers to be great content curators. We must think and act in a completely different way, more like a journalist or a news broker, even as an author or writer.
This huge change in skills and focus for us marketers is what comes to my mind when I think about “What’s in for Marketing?” in 2012.