The maturation of marketing.

Seth Godin, in This is Marketing, highlights the primary purpose of marketing is to create change; meaningful, positive change.

Throughout history, people and institutions have created change—both positively and negatively. As the world matures, so too does our approach in successfully creating positive change.

Marketing strategies—the enabling forces, key concepts, propositions, interactions—before scientific management were different than marketing amidst endless automation.

I am big fan of Phillip Kotler’s Marketing 3.0 and 4.0 concepts. In summary, Kotler teaches marketing has matured from Marketing 1.0 (product-centric) to Marketing 2.0 (consumer-oriented) to Marketing 3.0 (values-driven). Marketing 4.0 is an extension of the latter, highlighting the increasing ease and numbers of connected communities. It’s helpful to walk through each and think about your own marketing as you follow along.

1.0, Product-centric

  • A result of the Industrial Revolution, the 20th century’s marketing objective was to sell things. Companies would look to the masses as their market. Those who could find better ways, to make better things, more affordable, and profit, were the ones who excelled.

2.0, Consumer-oriented

  • In the latter part of the 20th century, marketing shifted. The Information Age forced marketers to look at segments, not mass markets. The objective now was to satisfy and retain smarter customers. Brands who could differentiate themselves from the competition excelled.

3.0, Values-driven

  • 21st century marketing wants to make the world a better place. Instead of mass markets, or even segments, audiences are now humans with values. Brands are more than their products and services. They have a mission, vision, and—human-centric—values.

4.0, Connected-communities

  • Marketing is now increasingly more connected. The extension of human-centric and values-driven marketing is finding a way to connect companies with communities. Brands must seamlessly combine online (digital) and offline (traditional) experiences.

In taking the above concepts and combining them with my own experiences, here is how I view the maturation of marketing.

  1. Marketing for the masses can be and has been done. The vast majority of marketing—however—is not for the masses.
  2. When you’re not marketing for the masses, you’re marketing to a segment. Immature marketing segments customers by geography, age, race, sex, income—objective factual data.
  3. Mature marketing segments customers by values, beliefs, aspirations, interests, desires, attitudes—subjective psychological criteria.
  4. Successful marketing builds advocacy, influences and inspires advocates to advocate, and segments customers by advocates’ demo-and-psychographics.

Brands must connect with their community, enabling the community to contribute to the brand. Marketing is about knowing and caring—deeply—for that community of like-minded people; people who love your brand because your brand is like them!

However more mature marketing becomes, the heart of marketing remains the same. Humans, psychology and sociology, a genuine interest in the wants, needs, and desires of people and communities—this is the heart of marketing.

Are you marketing for everybody­—for the masses—or, are you marketing for your customer?