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Why the traditional B2C model is dead

Lifecycle Marketing

Digital marketing is changing the marketing game rapidly and all marketers need to catch up.  If you have not immersed yourself in the waters of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) yet, it is time to dive straight into the deep end. Not only has the 4IR changed the way businesses relate to customers, it has changed the way businesses relate to themselves.

Business with personality

To be relevant to people, and to remain relevant, businesses need to have a personality. They can no longer afford to just have a brand; they need to be a brand and subsequently business management becomes brand management.

Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.“ (Williams, 2020)

The New Marketing Mix

Since the 4IR has digitised the way we do business (rapidly and so intensely), it is more important than ever to shift the focus from a product orientation to a consumer one. It is also important for brands to be able to adapt to changes in the market. These changes need to stem from within the business and starts with the marketing mix. The marketing mix (known by many as the 4Ps) has therefore been tweaked to be more appropriate to the shift in business towards prioritising the consumer.

New Marketing Mix web

How the 4Cs differ from the 4Ps

The first C represents the Consumers wants and needs which should now become the focus of product development or, put differently, provide a solution rather than an object. A great example of a company failing to do this is Nokia who produced many products but failed to address what consumers actually wanted and as a result lost market share to the likes of Samsung and Apple.

The second C replaces the traditional Price ‘P’ with Cost to satisfy the need and places emphasis on the value the consumer attributes to not just the product but to other factors such as status, brand loyalty, obstacles to change etc. This explains why consumers are prepared to pay more for products they perceive to have a higher value, for example the loyal iPhone community.

The Promotion ‘P’ is replaced by Communication. Instead of a one-way message designed to manipulate a consumer into buying, social media and website chat applications now allow businesses to have live conversations with their customers and customers in turn can now communicate with the business and directly with each other, which provides the all-important social proof that brands need to be successful today.

Finally we replace the Place ‘P’ with Convenience to buy which highlights the importance of not just having the product readily available when and where the consumer wants it but also making it available online, thereby completely eliminating the need for the customer to go out and make a purchase. It also speaks to the importance of a smooth, easy to navigate purchase process with less complications. The convenience of being able to tap-and-go is a good example of this, or having your credit card details safely stored for repeat purchases.

Marketing is no longer just advertising

When businesses begin to prioritise the consumer and build authentic ways to relate to them a few things become clear. Before, marketing was a segment of business responsible for creating adverts. Now, marketers need to build brands with the intention of creating relationships. With brand building comes brand strategy.

“Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too. “(Williams, 2020)

marketing to Brand Building web

With this new emphasis on consumer-centricity the only way forward for brands is to get close to their customers, get to know them and what they want and then strive to meet those needs, the brand must move towards interacting with customers on their level. The above proves that the traditional business-to-consumer model is dead and has been replaced with person-to-person communication.

Where do brands start to build their personalities?

Williams (2020), discusses a need for re-evaluation of the core aspects of your business, what you do and why you do it. He encourages businesses to answer the following questions as a starting point to building brand personality:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
  • How can you work to add more value and meaning to your product or services to strengthen your relationship with your customers?

Businesses need to always remember that they exist for people and because of people. Digital marketing moves rapidly and one of the only elements of a business that can withstand this ever-changing environment is their brand.


Williams, J. (2020). The Basics of Branding. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77408 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].

Andy Rice – on the courage to realise risk

Andy Rice - on the courage to realise risk

Infobesity: Mathemagician Andy Rice on the courage to realise risk

4IR presents various challenges for today’s marketers – none more so than the courage to up their appetite for risk in today’s data-driven world, notes ad legend Andy Rice. LUCINDA JORDAAN reports.

Andy Rice needs little introduction. The award-winning brand strategist’s illustrious career includes him heading up Ogilvy Johannesburg’s account planning department before founding Yellowwood Brand Architects, South Africa’s first brand strategy consultancy.

A recipient of the AdFocus lifetime achievement award, among others, Rice cemented his stature as South Africa’s foremost ad commentator as co-host of Talk Radio 702’s AdFeature with Andy Rice, and his popular Heroes and Zeros podcasts.

As keynote speaker at the recent IMM Graduate School’s Marketing the Future conference, Rice’s presentation gave a wry look at the critical need for human cognition in a tech-based world. The title of his presentation ‘Even a Ferrari has rear view mirrors’ succinctly summarised the gist of his talk: no matter how speedy or sensational your journey, you still need to keep an eye on what you’re leaving behind as you move ahead.

The role of data in marketing

“Data doesn’t always take you to your destination but it will put you on the right road,” he quips, adding later that the biggest concern in updating a talk he first gave 23 years ago at a MultiChoice conference was in appearing to dismiss the vital role data plays in marketing strategy and execution. The danger, though, lies in placing too much emphasis and reliability on that data. “Our obsession with info is overriding a more measured, sensible use of data,” he explains.

Rice draws on a wealth of experience to prove his point, citing Ogilvy UK’s Vice Chairman and founder of its behavioural psychology unit Rory Sutherland’s work on behavioural economics to illustrate that, “Logic will take you to a certain point, but creativity will get you beyond that point.”

Of courage and creativity in 4IR

“Behavioural economics is the bridge between science and behaviour. But where does complementary stuff happen? Between the future and past,” notes Rice, adding that today’s marketers are scared of taking risks, “yet responsible risk-taking should be their very lifeblood” and possibly one of the biggest challenges facing marketers is the need to develop an appetite for taking risks rather than an over-reliance on data.

“They’re cousins, data and creativity – but the unifying family thing would be courage,” explains Rice. “You need data, as it will help you get much closer to the end point. But creativity and thinking will lead you to the truly differentiate disruptive.”

The disruptive impact of 4IR on society has profound implications for the future of work, given how unsettling and disruptive change is on the psyche – which is why Rice places such emphasis on the human element, and the need to balance creativity with intelligence.

“If we had more courage, we would know what to do with data better; we would look beyond it being a channel and how it can enhance the creative process, and not dilute it,” he opines.

Combining a variety of creative case studies with his own industry experience and insights gained from years of consulting, Rice entertainingly laid bare the dangers of relying too heavily on data and forgetting the basic instincts that drive successful campaigns.

A notable example of a campaign that highlights the importance of being courageous enough to take a risk, best illustrated in the case of REI Co-op, an outdoor outlet in the US that, five years ago, decided to go against the status quo, by shutting shop on Black Friday and launching an #OptOutside campaign. The effect could not have been predicted: the campaign, boosted the brand beyond any sales figures, with social media impressions skyrocketing by 7000%, and 2.7 billion media impressions in 24 hours.

The campaign organically grew into a content hub for the brand – and won the Cannes Lions Titanium Grand Prix, one of the ad industry’s highest annual honours.

Any talk on the “future of advertising” tends to be a rehash of what we’ve seen and heard before, contends Rice: “If it’s a trend, it’s already blindingly obvious – and if it’s a fad, it’ll soon fade.” Nevertheless, he explored two ‘trending’ phrases picked up at Cannes to highlight the need for context in a data-driven world. 

Infobesity and mathemagician

The first, ‘infobesity’, refers to the glut of data available. This minefield of information needs to be sifted through to find the golden nuggets of insight that really matter to consumers and the way we run our business.

The second phrase, ‘mathemagician’, refers to the solution to infobesity and represents, says Rice, “the perfect meeting of discipline and skills.” These are the strategists who can acquire information linearly and manipulate it laterally; most of us can either do one or the other.

“Too many marketers use research like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, illumination,” Rice says, quoting industry great David Ogilvy referencing market research in the 1960s and 1970s. He adds, “…the only real risk is to take no risk at all”.

Rice’s advice to marketers? “Keep track of trends and technological changes affecting the way consumers relate and react to brands – but don’t rely only on research. Get out there, meet people, and learn to look at challenges from the outside in; see customers in their entire world, in all aspects of their lives, and work that back into the category you’re dealing in, then into the brand space.”

They’re cousins, data and creativity – but the unifying family thing “would be courage,” explains Rice.

Risk and courage are the crucial human elements in the fourth industrial revolution. The real risks for marketers are:

  • Proof over instinct
  • Channel over insight
  • Numbers over hunches and what you feel is right: “There’s no relation between the power of a big idea, and the cost of a big idea.”
  • Caution over risk
  • How over why

Data over interpretation

How 4IR will change the way we work

How 4IR will change the way we work

Technology, the big disruptor, is itself constantly disrupting, and the challenges this brings demand a shift in our attitudes and perceptions, too. LUCINDA JORDAAN talks to Shavani Naidoo and Deborah Schepers.

Whether you’re a farmer or urbanite, student or CEO, there’s no escaping the disruption of 4IR on all aspects of life – and none more so than the world of work.

According to a McKinsey Global Institute foresights report on the future of work, up to 375 million workers may need to change their occupational category by 2030, and digital work could contribute $2.7 trillion to global GDP by 2025.

We’re living through shifts in all industries – media particularly – and have already seen the creation of job titles that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Technology, the big disruptor, is itself constantly disrupting, and the challenges this brings demand a shift in our attitudes and perceptions, too.

Primedia Group’s data science expert Shavani Naidoo and Deborah Schepers, Group Head of Analytics and Insights, gave a combined presentation that succinctly brought home the current reality of 4IR by outlining the rate at which civilisations and societies have transformed, and how this has sped up over the past century alone.

Their presentation illustrated how the hunter-gatherer era lasted for aeons, phasing over centuries into agriculture and settlements, before the first industrial revolution took hold with the invention of the steam engine. This spurred a shift in production, “from muscle to mechanical”, as Naidoo noted, with mass production and rapid tech development leading to the second and third industrial revolutions – the latter being the digital Information Age, which began in the ‘70s and which we’ve transcended in just a few decades.

The duo pointed out that one of the first really big markers of 4IR was a “shift in the balance of power between retailers and consumers”. “We are becoming wiser,” noted Schepers, “with consumers looking to one another to understand how they interact with brands”. Amazon, she pointed out, has created the review culture that sees consumers ‘working’ before and after the shopping process by researching product recommendations and reviews.

Call out culture, too, adds to the power shift, with manufacturers and brands now called on to account for flaws and discrepancies in their products. Castle Free’s ad claims of comprising zero alcohol is a case in point, noted Schepers, explaining how a consumer tested the claim, found the product to contain 0.39% alcohol and forcing the withdrawal of the ad.

In essence, noted Schepers: “What the brand says is cool, but users’ recommendations, more so.” A growing trend, she adds, is that of “everyone’s an expert” – which, advantageously, will see a shift towards higher standards, because “personalisation puts the consumer in control”.

“Personalised ads boost engagement, and we have become active – not passive – consumers of media,” she added.

Q&A with Deborah Schepers and Shavani Naidoo

What are the most telling differences between 4IR and previous industrial revolutions?

4IR will fundamentally change the way in which we work, live and relate to each other in comparison to previous industrial revolutions. We now live in a deeply interconnected world that is evolving at an exponential pace. This revolution will transform humankind itself – we are already seeing augmentation

in our ability as our phones have become an extension of us; allowing us access to unprecedented computing power and shared knowledge within seconds at the click of a button.

Where are we seeing the biggest impact in 4IR – and what can we expect within the next 5, 10 or 20 years?

Every aspect of marketing and media is being affected by the 4IR. There’s already been a switch in power between brands and consumers due to the hyper-availability of information and the connectedness of platforms and information sources.

Where seductive ads used to be enough, marketers now need to deliver on value throughout the brand experience. Consumers know everything – and they’re willing to work before, during and after the purchase process to share this, because it makes them feel empowered. Euromonitor calls this trend ‘Everyone’s an Expert’.

The implications of this trend are that marketers need to begin building a great end-to-end experience. As Jeff Bezos says: “In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts’’.

The next big changes will be in the area of personalised, curated media streams – accessed naturally via voice as our interface with machines and the world becomes more seamless.

What are the key drivers of this revolution – and its impact?

There are many key drivers of this revolution but the most interesting ones which come to mind are the Internet of things, connectivity, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and Virtual reality.

3D printing and virtual reality are having significant impacts on healthcare. This year South Africa pioneered the first successful middle ear transplant using 3D printed middle ear bones. Further away in California, neurologists are able to see the brain of a patient in 3D using virtual reality before entering the operating room.

The hope is that this will enable hospitals to train surgeons faster and better where their skill could mean the difference between life and death. Artificial intelligence is having a significant impact in ambient computing: Apps such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri provide a glimpse into the power of artificial intelligence which is advancing at a rapid pace. Today, voice recognition and AI are progressing so quickly that talking to computers will soon become the norm. Our devices will become a natural extension of us, anticipating our needs and helping us when required.

How will this change the way consumers navigate the world – and what does it mean for marketers?

The long-term future sees the weak AI platforms of personal digital assistants become stronger and being able to edit our worlds based on our preferences, appetite for experimentation, and price elasticity. This raises interesting questions for marketers, who will need to bid for the attention of these digital assistants.

‘Putting the Me in Media’: Personalisation and data analytics go hand in hand in effecting consumer control – but what are the pros and cons of personalisation?

Personalisation has been found to lead to business growth, with research by Boston Consulting Group suggesting that brands which offer individualised products, services or experiences, are growing revenues by 6-to-10%, 2-to-3 times faster than brands that do not.

A study by Adlucent showed that audiences exposed to personalised ads are almost twice as likely to click through for an ad featuring an unknown brand if the ad was tailored to their preferences.

What is the reality and impact of a shift from an ‘attention economy’ to actual money?

Attention economics treats human attention as a scarce commodity. Put simply: Attention is a resource: a person has only so much of it. We have seen a proliferation of content and choice, especially in the video space, and the reality is that there are only so many waking hours in which to consume content.

This means that ad revenue models can’t continue to grow, and that publishers will start looking to subscription models. In this case, money becomes the scarce resource again, and content providers need to start producing content that delivers long-term value, not short-term attention.

What determines success or failure is the entertainment value of the content.

Premium content will always attract the masses. Game of Thrones is an excellent example of this: the series finale ended with a staggering 19.3 million viewers. What’s more, consumers are willing to pay for premium content. For publishers, this means that a lot more focus should be placed on delivering premium content – and for marketers, it means we need to seek out premium content to partner with, as well as find ways to deliver advertising creativity and entertainment value that competes with premium content. 

How marketers can counter this revolution: Shavani Naidoo and Deborah Schepers share top tips

  • Marketing needs to shift focus from shouting about products to building a great end-to-end experience
  • Deliver on personalisation while maintaining a mass effect
  • Make sure that your brand has a sonic identity
  • Look to integrate and associate with premium content
  • Prepare for a future in which we may need to market to new entities