Required Reading: Marketing to Undergo Quantum Changes
MARKETING faces an existential crisis as disruption and fragmentation shatters long-held strategies and frameworks. A complete reinvention is imminent, and a transformational mind-set is critical, according to MasterCard’s chief marketing officer, Raja Rajamannar. In his new book, Quantum Marketing: Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow’s Consumers, he plots out marketing’s new Fifth Paradigm, which incorporates emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and the Internet of Things, as well as a broader command of data, finance, PR, and more.
CRM editor Leonard Klie recently spoke with Rajamannar to find out how readers can pivot, reposition, and protect their brands amid this upheaval.
CRM: What exactly is quantum marketing?
Rajamannar: Quantum marketing is a completely new framework and approach that upends established marketing frameworks, theories, and practices. With a slew of technologies coming at us rapidly, existing ways of marketing will simply not work. Quantum marketing addresses the changes that these technologies bring and leverages all of the enablers, from data to psychology to multisensory branding, to build brands, drive businesses, and establish a competitive edge.
You call this the “fifth paradigm” of marketing. What were the other four, and how is this one different?
The first two paradigms spanned from antiquity to the early days of print, radio, and TV ads up to the dawn of the internet. The first was literal, rational, and product-centric and presumed consumers simply applied logic to make purchase decisions. The second leveraged emotions. The third was ushered in by the internet and democratized data analytics. The advent of ubiquitous, connected mobile devices and the explosive growth of social media platforms led to the fourth paradigm.
With a tsunami of new and highly disruptive technologies, from artificial intelligence, 5G, wearables, IoT, augmented reality, etc., marketing will be disrupted again, big-time. This fifth paradigm will be saturated by data-collecting sensors and a plethora of new devices and technologies. Practically every aspect of the marketing ecosystem and marketing life cycle will be disrupted.
Is loyalty dead, and if so, what has replaced it and how should companies capitalize on it?
Rather than saying that loyalty is dead, I would say loyalty is hugely transformed. We are moving away from striving to win and keep customers to winning each transaction and interaction. With endless choices confronting consumers, it is no longer realistic to be bound to one choice: The average consumer is a member of 15 loyalty programs, many of which overlap or compete. The concept of customer loyalty needs to evolve.
Marketers need to evolve traditional loyalty platforms into affinity platforms and create contextual preference management platforms and programs, influencing consumers in favor of their brands when they’re about to make a choice.
How can marketers better engage customers at scale?
Given the extraordinary clutter in the traditional ad space, consumers are finding ways to avoid ads. More than 600 million people around the world use ad blockers and more than 150 million have shifted to ad-free environments like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Marketers need to reach these consumers via alternate mechanisms. One of those is experiential marketing, curating experiences that consumers love and creating a strong association with the brands behind them. That would then result in positive word of mouth at a humongous scale.
You advocate for multisensory advertising and sonic branding. What does this entail and how should companies incorporate it into their marketing stacks?
Multisensory marketing incorporates messaging to appeal to all of our senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch), many of which traditional advertising has long neglected. Sonic branding is particularly instrumental as consumers continue to migrate to smart speakers and rely on virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa to make brand suggestions and prompts to purchase, based entirely on sound.
Sonic branding is more than nice background music or a jingle; it is the creation of a comprehensive sonic brand architecture, pretty much like marketers have a visual brand architecture today. Just as companies have logos and design systems that people associate with them, marketers need to create sonic brand identities that people can instantly recognize.
What is the one message you hope readers will take away from this book?
Marketing is on the verge of major disruption, driven by an imminent technological revolution. Marketers need to get their heads around these and reimagine their entire marketing practices for tomorrow. Quantum marketing is the way to go.
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