Revisiting the Old “New Different” for Marketers

It’s been nearly seven years since I featured excerpts from Chris Bonney‘s white paper, The View from the Front, about adapting to the recession in my post, Help For Marketers Dealing with the “New Different.”

Back then …

What’s amazing to me is how little conditions have actually changed since Chris described them in 2009:

  • “Consumers have become dangerously polarized over even the most innocuous of subjects. Political feelings have become so polarized among some people that this anxiety has spilled over into the consumer marketplace.”
  • “Trust in institutions isn’t what it used to be. Whether in religion, commerce, sports, government, science or technology, individual and institutional models of propriety and high ethical standards are, well, fewer.”
  • “There are not just new words in our vocabulary, but entire new ways of interacting with other people. [Social media] has its own patois and a different level of engagement and expectation than traditional verbal and written communications. Navigating this new way of communicating is more than just plugging your old communications techniques into ‘social media.'”
  • “We are undeniably part of a complex global economy. One of the biggest battles raging in the United States … is between the nationalists and the internationalists. The former thinks it’s as easy as throwing up a wall. The latter embrace the variety and connectedness of a wider world life.”
  • “We don’t use information like we used to … We’ve evolved from a nation that had fewer, but more reliable sources of news and information into a nation of self-selecting information consumers … News and information [also] has a much briefer half-life.

And now …

Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup CEO, reflects on the reality of today’s business environment in a more recent article, Human Age 2.0: Future Forces at Work:

“Many expected that as the recession subsided the world would return to business as usual. That hasn’t happened. The recovery is unlike any other and so is the business environment. Both are less stable and harder to predict, yielding new challenges and opportunities. Businesses will need to plan for uncertainty and be built for change. What is certain is the uncertainty that lies ahead and that we will see the effects of this acceleration of structural and cyclical forces.”

What’s a marketer to do?

How do you effectively compete in a continuing uncertain market? I agree with Chris, who advocates going back to the fundamentals in recognizing that consumers STILL:

  • “need reasons and confidence to spend.”
  • “need to know how products and services will enhance and integrate into their lives.”
  • “want something to get excited about.”

And we, as marketers, still “need to understand how to communicate with consumers in ways that are relevant and timely.”

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