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Christopher describes the new consumer as existential and less responsive. Burnett and Hutton state that consumers strive for self-actualisation as they seek to close the gap between their real and ideal selves.

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These modern consumers are involved, independent, better informed and more critical Capon and Hulbert ; Lewis and Bridger Additionally, this consumer is time-starved Lewis and Bridger, ; Kumar, ; Poiesz and van Raaij, and low on attention and trust Lewis and Bridger, Problem definition A stimulus from the internal or external environment causes a need to develop in the consumer. Information is collected in order to satisfy 2. Information search the need. Process of problem-solving — criteria for 3.

Evaluation of alternatives comparing products is established. Purchase A product or service is selected. Consumption of product followed by 5. Post-purchase evaluation evaluation to check if need has been met. Poiesz and van Raaij, argue that a downward communications spiral exists Figure 3. Customers therefore experience information overload which forces them to be very selective, reducing the level of attention they can give to each message. Due to the overload, consumers cannot make rational choices.

Many consumers feel these messages are invasive and actively ignore them Petrecca, and Story, , cited in Keller, ; Thomas, But this merely increases the spiral effect.

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The ensuing scenario is thus: The market is like an enormous commercial gathering in a large reception hall which suffers from rich acoustics. In order to be heard and understood, everyone is starting to shout louder and louder. Conversation is reduced to an enormous sound wave of indiscriminate noise that appears to fill the entire space. The end result is that no one can understand anyone any more. Poiesz and van Raaij, , pp. Practitioner perspective: The Author prefers the marketing funnel metaphor of Li and Bernoff Figure 3.

But as big a distraction are the conversations occurring between consumers via social media within the funnel Li and Bernoff, Source: Li and Bernoff, , p. Impact of the Internet on Consumer Behaviour: The problems identified within the marketing funnel earlier are not eased by the internet. Poiesz and van Raaij state that it presents no solution to the problem of the communications spiral and cite the low click ratios for online banner ads as proof.

Given that the internet has increased competition, Porter, , this is hardly surprising. There are wide views on the definition of relationship marketing Harwood et al. Even the bathroom has no refuge — consider the Wizmark, an interactive urinal communicator www.

But there have been high failure rates of CRM systems Foss et al. For instance, in spite of CRM Brennan et al. Also, Kumar and Reinartz suggest that the relationship between loyalty and profit is much weaker than is realised and challenge existing claims about loyalty, one being that it costs less to serve a loyal customer. However, the above does not mean that brands do not want relationships with their customers since the role of relationship marketing is to help build a competitive advantage Harker and Egan, The challenge is therefore how can organisations reconnect with their customers in a way that benefits both parties?

Practitioner perspective: Newell not only questions the return that companies get for investing in CRM but also whether it actually works. For him, it should not be CRM but CMR, the customer management of relationships, whereby the customer dictates the nature of the relationship. The mix was originally developed as a concept for the era of mass marketing when brands did not have to accommodate the needs of the customer. Secondly, Constantinides reveals that the mix lacks the ability for personalisation. Customers now demand a personalised product or service in the form of mass customisation or even mass individualisation see Appendix B for this paradigm.

Thirdly, the mix lacks a strategic content, rendering it deficient as a framework for marketing planning in an environment where strategic opportunities and threats are defined by uncontrollable and external factors. These factors include globalisation, enhanced competition, more demanding and less loyal customers, and technology Wilson and Gilligan, as well as increasing commoditisation, rapid innovation cycles, and media fragmentation Roberts and Alpert, ; Kumar, The latter see the 4Ps each operating as four, downward spirals creating a marketing spiral Figure 3. Therefore many marketers have switched their attention to the brand because it is capable of creating and maintaining a differential advantage Wilson and Gilligan, Building a strong brand also enables enhanced marketing communications effectiveness Keller, As such, branding is now a major priority for most companies Aaker and Joachimsthaler ; Kapferer, However, at the same time, forces are working against the brand.

This paradox presents a major challenge for marketers. Christodoulides and de Chernatony argue that brand equity, if measured, is a better way of providing an understanding of short and long- term performance than traditional financial methods. They add that consumer- based brand equity CBBE , as opposed to firm-based brand equity FBBE which concerns financial metrics, is an intangible asset that can offer a sustainable advantage.

This is supported by Falkenberg who states that brand equity is a key marketing asset and growing it is a key objective. However, McGovern et al. It enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing, strengthens brand loyalty, and enables higher margins via premium pricing. It also provides a platform for brand extensions, offers leverage in the distribution channel and creates a barrier to stop customers switching.

Competition is weakening brands Thomas and Kohl, ; Piercy, ; Sinha, A gap has arisen between brand value and customer value, and the latter is increasingly created by processes outside the auspices of brand managers Maklan and Knox, Internal forces: Thomas and Kohl state that incorrect managerial strategic and tactical actions are responsible for brand decline, for instance raising prices with no increase in benefits. Webster et al.

Distrust and disloyalty arise when favourite brands are shown to be charging premiums for undifferentiated products Sinha, Loss of control: Finally, marketers are ceding much control of brands to consumers Sawhney et al. Brand communities and social networks now lay claim to ownership of brands and influence the brand choices of consumers as well as company decisions Christodoulides, This is a key aspect of the research problem.

Varadarajan and Jayachandran add that the concept is unclear as to how the organisation should compete, who the customer is and what his needs are, and how the company should align its capabilities to these needs. In its defence, Hooley and Saunders have suggested that the problem in the past has lain with marketing managers who have not understood marketing as a concept.

According to Doyle they can only find customers by slashing prices.

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Corporate marketing can help build capabilities to assist an increase in customer focus Kumar, but the Author argues that with the disappearance of this function, large organisations are less able to do this. Doyle classifies organisations into left-handed and right-handed types. The left-handed ones are financially-driven and look to grow profits by cutting areas such as costs, or trimming the marketing mix, whilst the right-handed ones are market-driven whose main focus is satisfying the customer.

He points out that the latter are the top performing companies Brown, A , cited in Piercy, , p.

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Poiesz and van Raaij suggest that marketing is becoming less successful at its purpose — to synchronise supply and demand. Consumers buy products they do not need, or cannot use because they do not understand them, or do not buy products that should satisfy them. Marketing is suffocating under its own weight p. According to Brady and Davis : Brand marketing is in crisis.

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One brand icon after another has been shaken, if not permanently damaged. Senior management openly questions the value of their traditional marketing activities and marketing departments cited in Maklan and Knox, , p. He cites Holbrook and Hulbert who say marketing should be given "the dignified burial it deserves" Egan, , p.

They quote Rajiv Grover speaking at a symposium: …marketers are being marginalized, in the sense that many strategically important aspects of marketing e. At the same event, they quote Glen Urban remarking: Marketing effectiveness is down. Marketing is intrusive. Productivity is down. People resent marketing. Marketing has no seat at the table at the board level and top management. And we have an ethical and moral crisis. Other than that, I think we are in good shape p. But she also warns against those who believe that social media offers a panacea for marketing, by suggesting it is a cause of some of its problems: Customer relationship marketing models involving such constructs of passion, commitment, intimacy, and trust have been bypassed to latch on to the latest cool media technology trends, leaving some consumers feeling abandoned, deceived, or tricked by the brand….

The cyber culprits of technology, social media and interactivity have spawned disconnections for brand marketers and creative executives p. The techniques worked for decades, but while hitting a target audience across ever more channels created a crescendo of voices, its side effects were the creation of an astute form of media literacy, and the potential for marketing scepticism among consumers p.

Practitioner perspective: Practitioners are equally critical of the state of marketing. Weber quotes A. Haven et al. The Author has taken the analysis from this and chapter 2 and created a series of challenges that he believes marketing and the organisation faces in the current climate: Challenge 1: There is no agreement on the current marketing paradigm. Until this is agreed, the Author suggests that marketing thinking will remain diverged, pulling thinkers and practitioners alike in different directions. Challenge 2: There has been a loss of ascendancy of marketing in organisations and marketing as a corporate function has all but disappeared.

Challenge 4: Innovation is key to creating and adding value but there is an innovation spiral, and if organisations are not geared to innovate, how can organisations create value, differentiate and compete? Challenge 5: Traditional marketing techniques do not work well on the new consumer, compounded by conditions of the marketing funnel due to fragmented media, intense competition, and consumers having conversations with each other. Firms must regain the ability to influence the consumer. Challenge 6: Questions exist about relationship marketing and its ability to deliver its promise. With consumers increasingly in charge of the relationship, how can firms re-connect with their customers?

Challenge 7: The marketing mix is captive to a marketing spiral which produces a commoditised offering, thereby frustrating the brand from creating value and differentiating.

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A new paradigm needs to be developed which enables the creation of competitive advantage. Challenge 8: Branding, whilst experiencing some difficulties, offers marketers a way of creating a differentiated product and thus gain a competitive advantage. How can brand equity be built in this new era of marketing? Challenge 9: Marketing is in a mid-life crisis.

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