AI Powered Everything: The Second Marketing Revolution  

20 December 2018:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, from ads for Burger King to a collection of essays by the late Stephen Hawking, where he warned of superhumans, “…a race of self-designing beings who are improving themselves at an ever-increasing rate….[and that] once such superhumans appear, there are going to be significant political problems with the unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete.”

Bob Dylan’s 1965 anthem of change comes to mind. “The times they are a-changin”—and this time, it’s marketers who should listen closely.

History repeats itself

When Robert Keith published his seminal article, The Marketing Revolution, in 1960, he described the significant changes that were underway at his employer, Pillsbury. The company had been evolving its marketing approach over the years, and Keith noted that: “our attention has shifted from problems of production to problems of marketing, from the product we can make to the product the consumer wants us to make, and from the company itself to the marketplace.” Keith went on to outline the “Four Eras” of marketing at Pillsbury:

  • The “Production Oriented” era, when products were launched or pushed on to the market, based on what the manufacturing process produced
  • The “Sales Oriented” era, when the company focused on the value of its consumers and its ability to reach them through market research, advertising, sales reps, and wholesalers
  • The “Marketing Oriented” era, when the consumer became the central focus of the company; notably, the brand manager role was created at Pillsbury at this time
  • The “Marketing Control” era, when marketing becomes “the basic motivating force for the entire corporation…[so] that every activity of the corporation…is aimed at satisfying the needs and desires of the consumer.”

Leading companies are now, as Keith predicted, unquestionably customer-centric in everything they do. It’s difficult to imagine any C-level executive stating otherwise, or that they do not strive to be “customer-obsessed.” Given this universal recognition of the preeminent importance of the customer, Keith’s vision of the “Marketing Revolution,” at least in spirit, has been achieved.

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Source: Chief Marketer

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