Marketing 4.0: Engagement for affinity with the brand

With profound changes taking place in consumers and consumption, the great challenge facing brands today is how to involve the audience they reach via the plethora of stimuli-generating tools at their disposal. For this reason, staying up-to-date on marketing trends is essential for professionals looking to generate high market impact and differentiate their products and services.

In their recently published book Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital, Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya and Iwan Setiawan present a new marketing approach that proposes broadening the focus of human-centered marketing to include every aspect of the “customer journey.”

By way of review, Marketing 1.0 is product-centric; Marketing 2.0 is focused on information technology; Marketing 3.0 is value-oriented.

As we saw in DG “Marketing 3.0: The Age of Collaboration-based Marketing,” it was consultants from MarkPlus, a marketing services company in Southeast Asia, who in 2005 conceived of Marketing 3.0.

The philosophy is one of winning over consumers by appealing to both their needs and desires — heart, mind and spirit. It begins with the premise of relationships between many consumers and many providers; in other words, it presupposes the existence of collaborative action, based on the values ​​of respect and humanity.

Marketing 3.0 is based on three pillars: collaboration, culture and spirituality. It is based on a brand’s identity, integrity and image vectors.

Marketing 4.0 is a further unpacking of Marketing 3.0 and presents changes to the consumer approach. In the words of Kotler, Kartajaya and Setiawan, “Marketing must adapt to the changing nature of consumer paths in the digital economy.” The role of marketers in this new era is, then, to guide customers to assimilating a brand deeply, to the point where they become advocates for the brand.

The development of Marketing 4.0 is based on a set of three fundamental assumptions, which we can observe in Figure 1.

From vertical to horizontal

With globalization, companies’ competitiveness is less and less determined by their size or country of origin. The competitive advantages earned and enjoyed in the past become ephemeral. The innovation that in the past emanated from the big companies to the wider market vertically, now does so horizontally. The ability to innovate and the generation of ideas depend more and more on sources outside of the company, on partnerships, and, above all, on collaboration.

From exclusive to inclusive

The new global trend is inclusion. We have moved from a bipolar world (US and USSR) through a unipolar world (USA) to a multipolar world (US, Russia, China and the EU), with hegemony exerted by several nations simultaneously. People want to be part of something. Social inclusion is gaining momentum throughout the world. Nowadays, one speaks of “inclusive cities” that welcome very diverse inhabitants.

From individual to social

When it comes to purchasing products and services, consumers are increasingly motivated by individual preference and a desire for widespread “social compliance”: Before making decisions, they take family, friends, fans, and followers into account.

This brings us to horizontal, inclusive and social.

The market becomes more inclusive, social networks allow people to connect and integrate, and consumers adopt a more horizontal orientation. They are suspicious of advertising and prefer to trust in their family, friends, fans and — it’s true — followers.

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