The Future of Marketing and the Role of Market Research Within it.
The last decade has seen many major changes happen in the area of marketing. Prior to the popularization of the internet in the mid-1990’s, marketing had changed little in a hundred years – the practice predominantly being based upon mass media broadcast advertisements, with much smaller niche areas such as direct marketing, sponsorship and PR. The 1970’s and 1980’s certainly saw major evolutions in marketing take place, such as the rising focus on customer relationships and branding over the attribute-focused advertising of the previous century. But whatever the message, the format remained much the same, with customization largely being an issue of copy, imagery and media planning rather than the very question of whether the mass broadcast advertising of sales messages was in itself the best approach to take.
This has changed significantly in the last decade, and stands to continue changing at an exponentially rapid rate of the next five years. Mostly, these changes have resulted from the rise of the internet, for two main reasons.
The first main result of the internet’s popular growth has been the fact that users of the internet have been able to discover and join online communities that closely reflect their own personal values and interests, no matter how esoteric or unusual they may be. These online communities have served to enhance and support consumers’ perceptions of themselves and reassure them that if they choose not to subscribe to the ideals and expectations of mainstream marketing, they are still validated and respected by those with whom they share a far more valued and intimate relationship (even if just in the form of chatrooms).
The consequence of these thousands of online communities is that marketer’s messages have been rejected or critically questioned on an increasing basis – thus making the traditional one-to-many broadcast format appear shallow, irrelevant and...