Panasonic's Marketing Focuses on a New Customer Cohort
Panasonic, the iconic 100-year-old electronics manufacturer, recently underwent a huge transformation from a consumer products company to a B2B solutions-based organization. It now markets large-scale video and audio systems, robotics, and enterprise process automation systems.
One person leading that transformation is Brian Rowley, vice president of marketing for Panasonic System Solutions Company of North America. Key to Rowley’s marketing strategy has been appealing to a new generation of consumers known today as BETAs.
Unlike other cohorts, which are largely defined by their age and place in time, BETAs are more of a psychographic with the following characteristics:
- B = Blurred Lines between life and work;
- E = Evolution, with an innate ability to adapt and innovate quickly;
- T = Technology
- A = Activism.
BETAs are digitally native consumers who are just now starting to take leadership roles in businesses. They are constantly connected and starved for time.
Appealing to these people requires companies to "take a human approach to marketing," Rowley said during an online chat recently.
"It's all about being human," he said. "Understanding your audience is critical now."
These new customers, Rowley said, require companies to rethink how they listen and respond to customers. Companies today, he said, need to be agile.
That means that companies need to embrace customer feedback and to do something with it, according to Rowley.
And marketing needs to be "purpose-driven," he added.
"At Panasonic, we've spent a tremendous amount of time to understand what our customers want to talk to us about. We've spent a lot of time listening to identify the specific pain points that our customers are looking to address."
This new customer cohort is also looking for a different type of interaction, according to Rowley. Customers are willing to self-serve, but when they do contact the company, "everyone wants you to solve their problems for them," he said.
Marketing to them must also be omnichannel, he adds. Marketing has to happen "wherever and whenever they want to consume it.
"You have to know your market well enough to show up where and when the customer wants you to be," Rowley said.
The new marketing to BETAs also requires companies to analyze and adapt campaigns in real time. "You can't wait for a campaign to run and then analyze it afterward. By then, it's too late," Rowley said.
"The goal of modern marketing is to create conversations," and to do that, companies need to draw from market insight, influencers, behavioral data, and analytics, he explained.
Rowley and Panasonic have also relied heavily on a podcast series known as The Big REthink. Since its first podcast in 2019, the company has produced dozens of them on topics ranging from technology to the changing work environment, from 5G to deep sea exploration. As a result, conversations with customers have shifted and grown, according to Rowley.
And now Panasonic is launching a number of visual solutions and services to help companies create more immersive experiences as people start returning to live events.
As the official technology partner of Illuminarium Experiences, a fully immersive 360-degree entertainment center in Atlanta, Panasonic's visual technology transports guests to Africa through WILD: a virtual safari that recreates life-like encounters with animals.
The experience involved outfitting the entire show with highly specialized cameras, lenses, laser projectors, and professional displays that will be commercially available later this year.
The approach is simple, according to Rowley. "It's about balancing immersive and face-to-face experiences."