2014: The Year of Transition for Marketers
Why this is the year—and era—of change in the field of marketing.
Q: And what new approach should marketers take when defining their target audiences?
Gross: I think the thing marketers need to remember is that audience [size] is just getting bigger. I mentioned the number of Internet users reaching 6 billion. The other thing [to think about] is there's a growing world middle class; it's a sort of metric built out by the World Bank. It includes anyone who makes between $10 and $100 a day. It's a different middle class than what you would think about in the United States, but it's the global middle class.
What's amazing about that stat is that the World Bank predicts that the number of people in the middle class will swell to 5 billion; so, we're going from the current 1.8 billion to 5 billion. For most [brand marketers] who sell most of their products or services [to the middle class] this means your [potential] audience size is nearly tripling in the amount of people you could possibly reach. And, again, with a vehicle like the Internet [that allows marketers to] reach [potential customers] your audience is just going to grow.
Your ability to ascertain—and win that market share over—basically comes down your ability to now reach these new audiences and communicate why they might want to buy your products and services. It's exciting. It means marketing as a discipline is growing. Marketers need to think bigger about their reach.
Q: How should a modern marketer reconsider processes—or the way they're getting to an end result?
Gross: It just goes back to this idea of how marketers traditionally worked. Marketers made their buying decisions months in advance, then built campaigns around those [times and channels].
We're moving from that model—which still works—to a much bigger opportunity. The process of marketing—sort of, what's been a small, internal marketing team, and possibly an agency of record—needs to be rethought. Those changes stem from the natural [evolution] that technology has brought. Modern marketers and the marketing department have to expand their impact through systems technology.