Marketing is all about value. By that, I don't mean marketing is about making something worth the cost; I mean understanding all aspects of what 'value' means.
That means understanding what people value in life and finding solutions that are aligned with those values. Marketing, at its heart, is focused on understanding people's needs and wants, developing solutions to those needs and wants, and making sure those solutions are VALUED more than your competitors' solutions.
Step 1 – Understand people’s wants and needs
My job, as a consumer behaviourist, focuses on the first step: understanding people's needs and wants. What is it that drives them? What is it that they want out of life? What are the problems they face? Essentially, what do they value?
From here we can develop reasonable and effective solutions that will (if we've done our job well) be valued by our customers. Marketing isn't just about advertising or trying to sell you a product you don't need – instead, we try to find the most valuable solution to your problem. If we do that we can be sure you'll be back again in the future.
Step 2 – Be adaptable
As people's tastes and values change, as marketers we need to adapt with them. We need to be aware of all the latest trends and changes in society.
This includes the role that technology plays in our changing world. If anyone is prepared for the automation revolution it should be marketers because good marketers are not just looking to understand trends, but also find ways that we can use these trends to add value to our clients and customers.
As a result, marketing, when done correctly, is hugely valuable.
There are elements of a traditional marketer's job that are at threat of automation, for sure – for example, the way market research has been done in the last 20 years has changed dramatically. Software now helps us collect and analyse big data from multiple sources in an instant (rather than me standing in a shopping mall stopping people to ask questions, like I started out doing all those years ago!).
Does that mean marketers are out of a job? Absolutely not! Just google "big data research/analyst" and you'll see the digital revolution has meant market researchers are more valuable than ever, we just need to stay with the changes.
Step 3 – Never stop learning
So, how do you ensure you're always employed? Make sure you're always valuable.
Constantly look to society and see what is happening. What's changing? What's making waves? And understand WHY this is the case.
When changes happen, respond to them in a manner that keeps you valuable. Be a life-long learner – one who is curious about the world and the way it works.
From here, always ensure you're prepared to seek out new opportunities where you can add value for your customers and clients.
Once you've learnt all this, you've learnt about half of what marketing is about.
After that we can talk about being truly innovative and disruptive so you no longer rely on responding to changes in the market, but you BECOME the change that's needed in the market.
Disruptive marketers don't just follow the revolution, they become the revolution. Pick a major brand out there – analyse everything they do and you'll find they rarely rely on following societal change. They make the changes that society values enough to follow.