How To Get A Front Row Seat To The Future Of Marketing

"Warm calls" instead of cold-calling? Trust replaces privacy. Some predictions on what the future of marketing holds.

Want to get a jump on the future of marketing?

To give us a sneak peek, we turned to Don Peppers, who along with his co-author Martha Rogers, correctly predicted the future of customer-centric marketing and literally invented the term 1to1 marketing.

Sure, customer marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) are commonplace now, but in 1993 when Peppers and Rogers’ first book, The One to One Future, was published, the concept of big brands’ marketing to an individual customer was so ahead of the curve, it was revolutionary.

So it seemed only natural to ask Don Peppers what marketers of the future can expect?

Peppers didn't mince any words. “Over the next few years, expect to see the virtual eradication of the cold call."

Let’s make something clear. Peppers doesn’t mean that sales people won’t make calls. But instead of phoning cold, they will make pre-approved calls, warmly blessed with an introduction from a coworker.

This will be far easier to do because companies will facilitate introductions for their sales people. SAP currently has a product, SAP Cloud for Sales (formerly Sales OnDemand), that among other features pools executives’ contacts, including social media contacts.

Here are 2 other things to expect in your marketing future:

  1. Employees Get Social: Peppers predicts that virtually all B2B companies will find a means to share employee contacts (with an employee’s permission) to help the sales force make “warm calls” via a personal introduction. If you think about it, there is no reason anyone should have to call cold given all the networking tools within reach. And if your company can make this even easier, all the better.
  2. Data Gets Some Love: In Peppers’ new marketing world, data will finally get some respect. Despite all the hype about data, many marketers still work “seat of the pants,” without data informing business decisions.

When was the last time you tested your data? If you're like me, it's just too easy to take it for granted.

While the One to One Future was prescient about the future, Peppers acknowledges it did get one area wrong.

“We thought privacy would be much more important than it is today,” he says. We thought people would be very worried about giving personal information.

In truth, it’s the opposite. People will give up their grandma’s social security number in return for a five dollar coupon,“ says Peppers.

In the share-anything-world, trust will replace privacy. If a company is trustworthy, people don’t worry about privacy, says Peppers. As an example of a company encouraging trust, he cites Amazon’s policy of alerting you if you are about to buy a book you already have purchased. The company could make money from your mistake. Instead, it choses to protect its customers.

What do you see ahead for marketers? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Image: Flickr user S2art]

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3 Comments

  • Greg Potter

    What's is so worrying (and dispiriting) is the number of brands that still don't understand this! I often get DM that's not targeted and sometimes even doesn't use my name in the salutation. There has been some great stuff done on 1 to 1, but many companies still have a long way to go!

  • wendymarx

    Thanks for your insights, Joanne. Good point that data can certainly smooth the referral route and warm up a call.

  • Joanne Black

    Use data to find out who people are and who they know. Then pick up the phone and ask for a referral introduction. People will refer you because they like and trust you. Your calls will all be HOT!