Daniel Morel is a very senior colleague of mine. As Chairman and CEO of Wunderman, he leads the world’s first direct marketing agency. Still the brand leader, 50 years on.
Recently, he told me that on a recent trip to China he was talking to a senior representative from the Ministry of Communication.
Dinner conversation quickly moved from business to history…and the history of revolutions. Daniel asked him what he thought of the French Revolution.
After a moment’s thought, the Chinese quoted former Prime Minister Chou an Lai who said: “French Revolution…1789…probably too early to tell.”
The reason for the story is that Daniel thinks there are some unique parallels to what’s going on in the world of marketing today. But this time, it’s not too early to tell. We’re in the middle of a Marketing Revolution. Marketing 3.0
At lightning speed, the old world of mass media-led marketing is morphing into highly segmented and interactive media and content combinations. Consumers in Africa, just like everywhere else in the world, are becoming much more marketing-literate.
And community-based, experienced-based communication links them at anytime to like-minded people anywhere on Earth.
Data intelligence (collecting useable information about consumers, and … using it) is fueling richer relationships between brands and customers.
While this revolution is in its infancy, Daniel doubts we will have to wait two hundred years or more to see its full impact. And that impact will continue to evolve for many years to come.
Revolutions by definition change a system to its very core, and alter cultures. And there’s always a healthy debate as to whether it is good or bad for the economy – depending on what side you are on.
The Arab Revolution, which started in Tunisia and Egypt and is spreading; and is largely enabled by the social media.
The mobilisation process -- via social media -- was so fast with the Internet that the government often had no clue about where the next rally could be.
For the first time since the Internet burst onto the marketing scene, the virtual world is inseparable from the real world.
“Social media today is the steam engine-equivalent of revolutions from centuries ago,” Daniel says
Today digital technologies—available to us all, connecting and empowering us with content relative to each of us personally are fueling a fundamental transformation at unprecedented speed.
Just look at the speed at which brands change, people can have an impact, and businesses are born and fail.
Going forward, each year will represent a seismic shift in the possibilities for consumers and businesses. Each decade will make the one before it totally unrecognisable.
Devices, services and apps are emerging at unprecedented speeds, and they are changing businesses in the process. The beauty of all this for marketers is that with every device, every service and every app comes real-time customer information.
Here in Africa, even pioneer marketers tend to handle only what is called legacy data. Data, that has been difficult to capture and harder to refresh. And what have we done with it? Stored it. ‘Oh yes,’ we say, when pressed. “We have a list. It is part of our aim to deliver global standard customer service.”
Noble thought, empty words?
Today, the average marketer has potential access to more customer data in one day than his predecessors had in a decade.
A mind-boggling statistic on global data;
This year, the world’s digital universe will reach 1.2 zettabytes or 1.2 quadrillion megabytes. If you take every word ever written in every language, it’s about 20,000 times that, according to Bloomberg.
So how should all this data impact marketers? And what is “Marketing 3.0?” Marketing 3.0 is the phrase Daniel has coined to describe the revolution. It is built on four consumer questions: -
Geography: Where am I at the moment?
Context: What am I doing right now?
Community: With whom am I talking?
Commerce: How much is it and how am I going to pay for it?
Over the coming weeks, let’s explore these four questions and internalise them. This is one revolution in which Africa must participate fully on equal terms with the rest of the world.
The author is Chairman, Young & Rubicam Brands Africa