The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has published a new discussion paper which calls on marketers to examine where digital marketing may be heading in the next few years and asks leading practitioners how they think companies can thrive in the digital marketplace while making sure they get the right levels of ROI from their activities.
'Shape the Agenda' advances the digital discussion by suggesting that the key to future success lies in appreciating the fact that people self-select their own digital 'villages' in which to live.
"It's a myth that people explore the world the internet has to offer — the reality is that most people stick to eight or nine websites that they regularly visit," says Mark Stuart, head of research at the Chartered Institute of Marketing. "This means that businesses need to inhabit the spaces their customers inhabit in order to build the brand, create awareness and generate a relationship with the customer. There are some good examples in the paper including Waitrose successfully doing this, but American Apparel getting it wrong on Second Life."
"The need to create a dialogue with customers is easy to say in theory; how do you do it in practice?," he continues. "Practising marketers need to live online the way their customers do; that's the best way to create offerings that customers will like and respond to, versus being intrusive of personal spaces and becoming an unwanted third party. It means you find insights that lead to products and services. It also means you spot problems on the horizon and have the time to deal with them."
The paper also argues that a distinction can be drawn between collecting data and invading privacy. Data can be used to target customers with offers they want; yet marketers have a challenge on their hands to show that this data is anonymous.
Readers can obtain a free copy of the Shape the Agenda paper by sending an email to [email protected].