It’s time to move with the times

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A seismic shift in consumer behaviour is seemingly being ignore by South African marketers who haven’t yet made the shift to the ‘intention economy’. This phenomenon has emerged over the past five years in most developed economies, but is only just catching on here in South Africa.

The central premise of the intention economy is that it is driven by buyers finding sellers, not sellers finding buyers.

The term was coined at Harvard Business School to describe the trend toward information and services being demand-driven, not supply-driven. No longer will consumers wait for information, news or entertained to be served up to them. They will consume it at their own time and choosing.

This has far-reaching consequences for marketing teams who are out of touch with where their buyers might be looking for them.

A simple example is pricing aggregation sites where users can search for the best price on car rental, accommodation, flights and the like. Ignoring these services that are often the first port of call for consumers shopping for services could be deadly for an out-of-touch brand.

Right now, many marketers are still clinging onto doing long, complex TV commercials because these are profitable, not because they’re necessarily effective.

This is a strategy doomed to fail in the current and future environment because technology will bring consumers much closer to the brand, at a much lower cost. On top of the cost benefit, this form of engagement can be personalised and extremely focussed marketing.

The question is: are local agencies up to the task of delivering value of this nature to their clients.