As we approach the end of the year and enter 2023, you’ll probably see articles popping up predicting trends for the coming year and beyond. If you read these you’ll start to see some patterns emerging. There’ll be a lot of repetition from last year. There’ll be a lot of crossover among industries. And, there’ll be some wild predictions that scare the life out of you.
But, there’s no need to be scared. Well, not when it comes to marketing predictions, anyway. We can’t speak for other sectors. Who knows when artificial intelligence will take over the world?
Let’s be clear here, we’re not saying things won’t change in marketing. They will!
Just take a look back over the last 5 years.
There’s been around a 40% increase in global internet users and a 70% increase in social media users. TikTok has gone from a platform with 64 million users to over 1 billion. And, there’s been a 10% increase in average time spent on social media.
The point of this blog post is not to say these trend articles are wrong. But, instead, to explain why you shouldn’t be scared of any future “marketing trends”.
For as long as people have wanted to trade with one another, marketing has been around. Technology has advanced. Trends have come and gone. And the best practice has been reinvented.
But, some of the core principles of marketing have remained the same throughout time. That’s what we’re going to focus on in this blog post. We’ll talk you through 5 core principles of marketing, using historic and contemporary examples to showcase their importance.
Core principles of marketing
Removing Friction is all about making it easier for the customer to interact with your brand and the products or services you sell. This could be by removing steps in the customer journey, making it easier to access content or making the process quicker.
Now referred to as the “Jeff Bezos” of his time, he used the introduction of the Penny Post and the installation of post boxes to distribute price lists to potential customers. Essentially creating the first mail-order business!
Thanks to his ingenuity, he was able to reach well beyond his Welsh town and offer Next Day Delivery to most of the UK.
This change was so successful that his business grew to a point that meant the London & North Western Railway line set aside three wagons for his parcels and his warehouse ended up having its own Post Office.
Pryce-Jones went from having a small, local drapery business to servicing over 200,00 customers across the world.
Having paid a reported $14bn for their Super Bowl ad slot in 2022, Coinbase came up with a simple, yet effective, trick.
Instead of some convoluted ad with a complex narrative and lots of promotion, they decided to recreate the old DVD screensaver which featured a bouncing DVD logo.
Replacing the logo with a QR code, the intrigue resulted in 20 million hits to their website which ended up briefly crashing.
Word of mouth
Within the context of this blog, we’re using the term word of mouth to cover traditional conversations and digital forms. Essentially any way people communicate with one another to make a recommendation. If you can become part of the conversation, whether online or offline, you could see fantastic results.
In 1978 – 1983, a man called John Neville ran the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Canada.
Because of his working-class routes, Neville instated free performances for taxi drivers and their families at the theatre.
This turned out to be a shrewd business move because the cabbies would talk about shows that they liked to passengers.
The result was that the theatre doubled its visitors and saw Neville’s tenure being regarded as a “golden age” for Neptune Theatres.
In 2010, Instant Pot was created, selling 500 units.
In 2012, they distributed 200 units to chefs and bloggers, trying to tap into the world of food and cooking influencers.
In 2015, a Facebook “Instant Pot Community” group was created as a place for their growing community of “potheads” to share top tips, recipes and their general love for Instant Pot.
Having tapped into word of mouth, the brand really took off. With brand advocates sharing their love for the product online, even more milestones have been hit.
As part of the Amazon Prime Day event in 2018, they sold 300,00 units in just one day. And today, the Facebook group has over 3.1 million members.
This is one of our favourite top tips here at Different Resonance. Too often, brands focus on the final stage of the customer journey instead of focusing on bringing value to their audience.
World famous now, the Michelin Guide was originally created by the Michelin Tyre company. But it didn’t start out as a restaurant guide.
Back in 1900, there were less than 3,000 cars on the roads of France. The Michelin brothers (Michelin Tyres) created the Michelin Guide to provide information to motorists such as recommendations for mechanics and tyre replacement services
However, it didn’t really work.
André, one of the brothers, saw the guide being used as a prop for a workbench. So, they went away and tweaked the guide, adding in different sections. One of those sections was restaurant reviews which proved popular with motorists.
Having spotted this, the company then hired a team of inspectors to help fill the guide with restaurant content. And with it, the birth of the Michelin Start system was born.
For years, the restaurant guide and tyre services completed each other with foodies travelling the country to check out new eateries. Nowadays, the Michelin Guide is its own organisation.
Within “Sell less” we include anything that prompts action which drives revenue for the brand, or which should eventually provide revenue. Digital news outlets generate revenue by driving people to their websites and showing them ads.
Both the Kyiv Post and the Kyiv Independent report news from Ukraine. At the start of the war, the Post had 10x more Twitter followers than the Independent.
But now, the Post has 384,400 followers compared to the Independent’s 2.19 million. The key difference is how they were sharing the latest news during the start of the war.
The Kyiv Independent chose to share story summaries directly on Twitter. Whereas the Post was sharing a headline on Twitter, accompanied by a link to their website to see the rest of the story.
The act of providing upfront value to the audience resulted in the Independent’s rapid growth. Today, the Post even uses the Independent’s tactics from time to time.
“Authenticity” is one of these concepts that is banded around a lot in marketing and has probably lost its impact due to being overused. In this section, we’re simply referring to being true to yourself and not trying to be something you’re not.
In 2006, TOMS gave away its first pair of shoes through its One For One campaign.
The brand was created to help develop communities around the world, so this was an authentic approach to marketing their product.
Despite the market being flooded by Espadrilles, TOMs had given away 1 million pairs of shoes by 2010, 50 million by 2015 and 100 million by 2020.
It has also become a Certified B Corporation, showing its commitment to social causes.
The Pool Guy
In May 2020, Miles Laflin posted a video of him cleaning a pool to a personal TikTok account. The video proved popular and so he created the @TheP00lGuy.
His presentation is laid back, with the phrase “Holla ya boy for the pool work” quickly becoming a tagline.
Miles now has 13.7m followers on TikTok and has been booked to clean pools for the likes of Tinnie Tempah, Joey Essex and Derek Chisora.
Another firm favourite of ours, personal branding has become somewhat of a hot topic in recent years. But, it’s been a key part of successful brands for many years. Its focus is to build the reputation of an individual, rather than an organisation.
Harry Selfridge opened Selfridges on Oxford Street in 1909.
He would proudly boast that it was “the third biggest tourist attraction in town after Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London”.
A master of publicity, Mr Selfridge loved being a showman and was a key driver behind the store’s growth.
He operated in a time when there were very few celebrities in the public eye. So, the fact people would wait to meet him when he arrived at the store in the morning, shows how well he’d grown his personal brand.
Now retired, Ben created a YouTube channel back in 2020 whilst playing for Watford FC.
On his channel, he shared insights into his life as a footballer and, now, what he gets up to in his life after football.
Since its inception, a couple of years ago, Ben’s channel has amassed 2.5 times as many views as Watford’s club channel has since 2012.
With over 2.3 million subscribers across his main channel and podcast channel, it highlights the power of personal brands when compared to Watford’s 182,000 subscribers.
And that’s it! 5 examples of core marketing principles that have endured the test time.
They’ve not become any less important as a result of new trends or emerging technology. They’re still as important today as they were way back when.
And, the fact of the matter is that they will remain important long into the future too.
So, whether it’s artificial intelligence, the metaverse or something we’ve not even thought of yet, marketing is still marketing.
Remember, if you’re freaked out by 2023 trends, keep it simple. Remove friction, utilise word of mouth, sell less, be authentic and leverage personal brands.