The biggest challenge facing marketers today is how to learn as fast as the world is changing. Functional knowledge became a depreciating asset with a very short life span.
Many of the classic marketing principles that have been so reliable in the past have been rendered obsolete by the ever-shortening life cycle of technology and consumer trends. Among these are the key principles that dominated marketing thinking in the 1990s such as 360-degree marketing.
A simple yet once-effective principle, 360-degree marketing assumes that surrounding the consumers with a brand’s message across different touch points is the best way to convince them to buy the brand. This principle is rooted in the years of abundance that followed the collapse of most state-run economies and the fast spread of multinational corporations across the world.
People were surrounded with a big number of brands and media, and overload of information. When breaking through the advertising and media clutter was the key challenge to address, 360-degree marketing was undoubtedly the answer.
Given the speed and magnitude of change in our lifestyles since 360 degree marketing was in its heyday, we conducted a survey to understand if things have really become all that different. Our objective was to learn whether the advancements in personal technology, primarily the abundance of smartphones and tablets, have changed the way people consume media and content. We also wanted to determine whether clutter is still an issue for them.
As an observer, one might expect to see individuals overtaken by media and technology. The results of our study showed that in Saudi Arabia, owners of smartphones or tablets spend 28 hours per day watching, listening, reading, and surfing through content. Powered by technology, they started developing and creating new habits and customising experiences to suit their individual needs.
A shocking 71 per cent of them uses at least two other devices — primarily a computer and their smart phone — to consume content while simultaneously watching TV!
The numbers shock us. We go back to the old clutter notion and we worry how to grasp people’s attention. On the surface, the good old 360-degree marketing approach appears to be a solution that might still fit — and perhaps even work.
So what has changed, in the past few years? If we zoom in, we’ll find people who are more immersed than before.
Technology has brought power back to the individual, who is creating a personal space that is more focused, more intimate and with less clutter. Two-thirds of our survey’s respondents (63 per cent) believe that they are not drowned in too much information, despite the numerous TV channels that exist and the ever-increasing flow of information from the internet in general and social networks in specific.