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Marketers have a whole range of new tools to use to tap the opportunities emerging from the  digital age, but most appear to approach the challenge in an ad hoc manner.

It seems to me that there are 4 trends that are driving marketing behavior:

    1. The shift from offline marketing to digital. Whilst this is generally seems as a “catch all trend” it is really just a part of the marketing strategy mix that needs to be considered on its own merits. In this situation, how should I use TV Vs YouTube or facebook, what is the best mix of media to achieve a outcome?.
    2. The shift from paid to earned media. This can easily be seen as a subset of the first point, and from a marketing resource perspective it is, but from a consumer perspective, it is entirely different. The sudden availability of a digital version of word of mouth endorsement has changed the dynamics, consumers put far more faith in earned than purchased messages. It is also a bit more complex than that, as consumers no longer consume advertising, in any medium, they watch what interests them. If an ad is interesting, irrespective of the medium, it will get watched, and you have only a moment to gain the interest before you get deleted.
    3. The increasing importance of data in marketing. In the “old days” the best that you could do was measure theoretical impacts on an audience, about as inexact as throwing a stone at a bird flying past. That has changed, we can now measure with great accuracy a host of data that reveals preferences and behavior that have nothing to do with the generalities of the past.
    4. Fragmentation of just about everything, and because there is just so much data, it tends to be siloed, or ignored. Therein lies the huge marketing opportunity of the future,   those who can cut across the silos, and extract the actionable insights will own the markets. Automation is taking over (perhaps has taken over) with the integration of CRM with social media and automated marketing programming that is occurring online.

It is in the fourth trend that lies the secret sauce. Finding ways to increase the productivity of the marketing investment you make, not just in the expenditure to reach the marketplace, and achieve an outcome, but in the overhead costs of running an effective marketing function.