In the pre-internet age: the AIDA-model
Before he internet, marketing used to be easy. It was basically a one-way communication that we could easily resume in the famous AIDA-model: Awareness – Interest – Desire – Action.
That’s how simple the marketing manager’s role was: he was the one who controlled the message. He just had to follow the four phases and the customer would buy ‘it’.
Competitive advantage? Thank you, Michael Porter
In order to be competitive, as a company you had basically two options according to Michael Porter: operational excellence (offer best price-value ratio) or customer intimacy (excel with your service and charge a premium price for that).
Today, customers are empowered
In 2014, customers are the ones who decide where, when and how they want to interact with you as a company. The brand experience is not in your hands anymore: they start discussing about you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and forums.
And – the worst nightmare – the traditional sources of competitive advantage are not sufficient anymore. You can streamline your operations to the max to offer a product with the best price-quality ratio; or you can invest in the best possible customer service in the market to justify a higher price for your product… and still remain unsuccessful. Because people don’t know it! Or don’t talk about it. (Or maybe they think Apple is better anyway…).
The new source of competitive advantage
So, a third factor has become the main source of competitive advantage: brand perception. Working on brand experience and how your brand is perceived in the market, is probably the most important business challenge in the 21st century. Which puts a new person in the driver’s seat to guarantee the future success of a company: the marketing manager.
The age of the marketing manager
We are living in the age of the customer. The marketing manager will become the main living antenna pointing towards customers. He should be obsessed with how customers perceive and experience his company. With how customers talk about his company with peers and friends.
This is why the age of the customer is also the age of the marketing manager.