Trends of 2012 – A Marketers Perspective

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On this snowy Thursday, I wanted to expand on Dalip’s blogs on trends from last week. As the head of marketing, I am looking at trends to better understand how I can better serve my company and the company can serve the market.  I have realized that being in marketing is similar to working Supply Chain Management (SCM) in many ways.  We are always trying to show value and get buy-in from the rest of the organization. Both marketing and SCM are trying to get the maximum amount of value out of their budgets while providing the best service possible to the organization as a whole. So I wanted to look at the trends in a different light and see how the same trends affect marketing and SCM.

The first trend that struck me is people’s focus on buying local. This is a trend that started years ago, but I think it is starting to pick up more steam. With “Buy Local” signs showing up in shop windows and the push to support small businesses, the word Mass in Mass Marketing is becoming a thing of the past. People want a more authentic feel. For marketing this means that messaging needs to have a community focus. Target markets are now hyper focused with large advertising campaigns being used to reinforce this message. For SCM, this means that buying local might become a strong consideration when making decisions.

This rolls us right into another key trend: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It seems that people are looking for a change in the way companies behave. The socially conscious companies are the ones predicted to make a splash in the next few years. CSR is very important when looking at what marketing messages to get out to the public. Of course you can’t just say that a company is socially responsible.  Actions speak louder than words, and CSR has to be shown in the way the organization behaves. Brands need to be associated with a cause. And marketers need to be careful that it does not come off as gimmicky and disingenuous. Consumers see right through what is authentic and what is fake. What does this mean for SCM? It means, once again, that there is a different lens when looking at what to buy for a company and making sure that the purchases are in line with the larger CSR goals. In addition, gathering around a cause is a great way to build a team environment and attract new hires as they consider CSR a determining factor when looking at companies to join.

Our third and last trend focuses on technology. It seems that you can’t escape the call of information and the Internet. Some are detoxing, but technology is so engrained in who we are that it is hard to leave the house without a laptop, tablet, or phone (I know my iPad and iPhone are never too far away from me at any given moment). This means that the way people are getting information is continuing to evolve. For marketers this means that your messages must be accessible to whatever device or social media platform people are using. A website can no longer be created without understanding how it will look and be navigated on multiple platforms. Keeping up with Social Media trends is a fulltime job in and of itself. For SCM this means that the way things are bought is changing. With online reviews and more interactive websites, buyers can now make more informed decisions. This can cut down on the time it takes to make a decision and negotiate prices as more information is available at any given time.

It is easy to sit back and look at these trends and plan about what actions to take. However, you can get stuck in the typical analysis / paralysis trap. The key however is to stay flexible and to stay educated. Both marketing and SCM are facing the same challenges. It is important to keep learning from each other as we navigate through this ever-changing environment.

Do you think SCM and Marketing have more similarities than differences?

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Crystal Jones is the Director of Marketing at The Mpower Group (TMG). She has over 12 years of marketing experience specializing in B2B marketing for consulting companies. Crystal is actively involved in many organizations, including the Business Marketing Association (BMA). She also has her Master's Degree in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University.

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