Depending on who you ask marketing’s either in a state of flux like never before, with the shift to online and mobile ripping up the rule book, or it’s just the same as it was in the 50s because the basics will never change. The big question is: who’s right? Are those in the first camp reacting too quickly, or are those in the second burying their heads in the sand? The real answer, of course, lies somewhere in between.
Pick and compare any marketing books from the shelves and you’ll find a lot of similarities. It doesn’t matter if it’s the 1st or 100th edition; there may be new chapters but the theory will always stay the same. Just like any other industry, marketing has its golden rules and the books that helped form them. A great example of this is Robert Cialdini’s ‘Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion’. First printed in 1984, it has been revised three times since and continues to sell very well. Yet in that time there have been massive leaps in the field of psychology and the internet has warped the shopping experience in ways unimaginable just thirty years ago.
So what do the books that can benefit from all this new knowledge say differently? Not much. Take Cialdini’s as an example; it consists of six principles: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity. These have been rehashed and reanalysed over the years but they’re all still prevalent and stand the test of time. Compare that to the adverts from the same period and the same does not apply; they seem dated, simplistic and even deceptive at times. But if marketing principles don’t change then why do these adverts seem so flawed? The answer lies in tactics and their applications. This is where marketing really has changed dramatically and will continue to do so. Analytics deliver unbelievable detail across a multitude of channels so, over time, the messages and procedures have been refined.
The marketing landscape has never seemed so complex, the multitude of channels to reach consumers can be overwhelming and the tactics to employ strategies are constantly adapting and evolving. But boil these down and you’ll spot the elements of consistency that bind all these developments together. Put simply: marketing never changes, the people do.
That’s why we always stay on the pulse for new and exciting techniques and tactics, but never forget the core principles that provide the foundations to solid strategy.