Examine the way/s in which ‘digitalisation’ has enabled full interactivity between the producer and consumer; and as consequence side-stepped advertising and changed the entire framework and rules of the marketing (Logan, 2010).
Before the digital era, advertising agencies worked with the traditional media channels to try and capture their audience at different points in their journey from discovering a product, to buying it. This process was known at a ‘purchase funnel’ and different media was generally used at different intervals of the process. Often consumers viewed messages they were not in the right mood to receive and the available media would also meant that even if targeting a relatively small market, the message would be placed where there was far broader coverage. This can prove costly and is why most brands were unable to keep the messages present on a constant basis. This meant that the ideal placements for the media funnel to succeed were unachievable. The digital age changed this though. Its capabilities allow an increasingly constant contact with the consumer throughout their journey with the company, from prospect to loyal customer. [Spending Advertising Money in the Digital Age, Hamish Pringle & Jim Marshall, 2012] The integration of digital communication streams is in many ways similar to the disruption that TV brought to the market. Businesses had to look at entirely new ways of communication with their audiences and a far for creative and emotional form of advertising was born. Unlike the introduction of TV advertising though, the Internet, social media, and the rise of mobile devices changed not only the style and voice, but also the communication’s structure of hierarchy, the selling process and the markets being targeted. Jim Farley, the CMO of Ford, summed up the sentiment when he said: “We want to take that stupid little box we were forced into as advertisers, blow it up, and change the way we interact with the customer, and we want it to be around the experience." This is particularly interesting given the early beginnings of the Ford brand, which contrasts so greatly with this new sentiment. Henry Ford’s original vision saw the introduction of mass production and mass consumerism. Schudson (1984) was also interested in the wider social and economic impact of advertising in terms of sustaining consumer capitalism. Production lines meant that cars could be created more cost effectively, at greater speed and in higher quantities than ever before. Standardised parts meant that any worn out or broken components could be replaced, so that theoretically, buyers of the cars would never need to purchase another vehicle again. Henry Ford presented this standardised product to the world and invited them to buy it. In the digital age however, this process has been flipped on its head. No longer is it expected that businesses can create products and invite them to buy the same thing. Generation Y is a term that has emerged with digitalisation. This tech savvy generation expects good quality information fast and is used to having the control in a consumer/ producer relationship. Globalisation through digital channels has meant that they have a far greater choice than ever before and that in fact they do not have to choose from a range of completed products that businesses believe they will want, but are able to create and customise their own personal designs for products. This moves far from the ideas of fordism. No longer will one size fit all. “Any colour as long as it’s black” no longer meets the consumer’s expectations. Robertson (1992) suspected that this change came as Japanese manufacturers moving into the US market pioneered post-fordist strategy, where global production networks were managed through flexible local production, distribution and marketing. This reflects the changing consumer expectations that were emerging at the time. (Lash and Urry 1993) Web 2.0 given new life into the internet,...
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