A social change has taken place and is being reflected in the buying behavior of customers. Today’s hot societal issues are climate change, sustainability, equality, and diversity. Companies that ignore or even resist these topics are being met...
A social change has taken place and is being reflected in the buying behavior of customers. Today’s hot societal issues are climate change, sustainability, equality, and diversity. Companies that ignore or even resist these topics are being met with opposition. A purchasing decision is often determined by
the product quality and transparency of the value chain,
the credibility, and
the environmental and social responsibility
of a company and thus its entire corporate philosophy. Against the backdrop of this transformation, the customer journey needs to be rethought.
Purpose and attitude
When it comes to customers deciding on a product, brand, or company, getting value for their money still plays a key role, but nowadays there are two other important criteria that have stolen the spotlight: purpose and attitude. Although the quality of the services and goods is important, attention is also being paid to who is offering and producing them. Buying a product is no longer just a personal choice, it is becoming a political statement.
“Setting New Priorities”
The themes of purpose, diversity, and sustainability were at the heart of DMEXCO 2021 with its “Setting New Priorities” motto. Countless speakers discussed these matters and reinforced the idea that customers are increasingly scrutinizing the corporate philosophy of companies. Businesses that align their philosophy with the new values are not only being noticed by buyers, but also being rewarded with loyalty. Every company and every sales and marketing department know how valuable strong, long-lasting customer loyalty is.
It’s for that reason that many companies are embracing the new values, taking environmental topics and equality issues seriously, and demonstrating their commitment through clear external communication of their own “new priorities”.
In the future, the challenge of implementing a successful marketing strategy will increasingly involve carving out new USPs, since it will be harder to stand out from the competition if everyone switches to this new dimension of corporate responsibility.
Companies and global players have responded to the shift in buying behavior: attitude is the new marketing strategy. Purpose-driven marketing actively addresses the needs and wishes of customers, and the content of messages is focused on greater transparency in the production chains, on employee satisfaction, and on target group diversity.
SAP ranks 16th on the list of most valuable companies and wants to propel itself to the top 10 using a customer-oriented marketing strategy. Gillette won the hearts of its customers and thus quite a few of their dollar bills with an attention-grabbing promotional video. By placing more emphasis on diversity and equality than the actual product in a commercial, the company gained a priceless boost in trust.
For the new strategy to pay off, there are strict rules to follow because the community doesn’t miss a trick. If a company preaches sustainability, it absolutely shouldn’t be using environmentally unfriendly ingredients in its upstream processes. Attitude means taking a stance – in every respect:
Authenticity and consistency
Context and relevance to current issues
But can a clearly defined corporate philosophy and purpose not only strengthen customer loyalty, but also increase sales?
The new target group analysis
Whether an externally communicated corporate philosophy is really worth anything depends on the audience. It’s no longer the brands and companies making the rules here, it’s the buyers themselves.
The biggest problem for marketing strategists is how to address the new target group. The best example is the frequently polarizing razor manufacturer Gillette. When it released its video clip featuring the transgender teenager Samson Brown and the story of his first razor, it rubbed a considerable proportion of its regular customers the wrong way while at the same time reaching a group of individuals whose interest in the company was piqued for the very first time due to the political statement being made. The original target group consisting of “cis men with a beard” shifted.
Companies must be aware of the consequences of clearly positioning themselves. For that reason, it will be extremely interesting to see how marketing agencies will advise their clients in the future. What will be more profitable, especially in the long term: a tried-and-tested conservative approach or saying yes to purpose-driven marketing even if it may lead to sales losses?
And what about the agencies themselves? Are they allowed to stay neutral in their role as consultants and strategists, or is a political positioning demanded of them as well?
Product strategy and marketing in harmony
Customers are increasingly choosing brands and products of companies based on their corporate philosophy. And how are the companies acting themselves? How important is it to them to collaborate with a marketing agency that stands for the same values?
One thing’s for sure: advertisers also need to clearly formulate their own mission statement if their orders dry up due to a lack of attitude and purpose. However, can a startup agency, for example, actually afford to have an attitude that only appeals to a select few clients? And what purpose is worthwhile and how can you stay true to it over the long term in order to maintain credibility? These are questions that we will have to intensively explore for a long time to come in an era being shaped by a clear shift in buying behavior and constant social change.
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