I’ve been thinking about an excellent cover story in BusinessWeek a few months back examining the “Vanishing Mass Market",
While the focus of the piece is the impact of new digital technology on mass media, it offers insight into the resulting transition from mass marketing to micro marketing. This transition is being hastened across a proliferation of newer, narrowcast communications from specialized cable programming to cell-phones and PDAs.
These new tools must be integrated and applied within a more conventional framework of more conventional marketing tools, print advertising, PR, direct mail, and telemarketing to newer more focused Internet-technologies, including search engine optimization, adwords, email, and web logs or “blogs”.
These new digital media suggests the BusinessWeek are blessed with several advantages. The first is that they are fine tuned to allow ever more targeted media, extending the concept of one-to-one marketing over one-to-many or one size fits all. In this new age of micro marketing, it is not size of the audience that matters but the ability to reach and respond to very specific segments of customers.
The second is the medium’s interactivity as the Internet allows marketers to ever more closely targeted information, it also allows customers to more closely demand the products fine tuned to their specific needs.
The third is the ability of new Internet-based technologies to actually measure their impact, to be able to show what a client gets for what is paid for.
The fourth is the ease in which the new technologies can be implemented and used for increasingly less money. Web logs can be set up by almost anyone for a few dollars and be up and running within hours.
However, the new Internet tools are not a replacement for conventional marketing. While technological advances will continue to enable marketers to draw an ever finer bead on customers through a variety of media and tailor content to those specific segments through a wealth of new channels of communication.
The traditional marketing techniques will not disappear, neither will the traditional media. And the fortunes of many companies will now depend on how well they adapt to the new technology and tools in the chaotic transition to micromarketing.