5. Market maturity, marketing gets sophisticated and personal – Market saturation with excess product available required manufacturers to refine manufacturing output to meet specific needs of their markets, and maintain profitability through aiming precisely priced propositions at key customer groups while leveraging additional income streams through low cost, complementary services with a perceived high value. Services equally proliferated and fragmented into myriads of niche offering catering for different market sectors and requirements. And the advent of ‘the solution’ and open-ended turnkey service ensured large scale manufacturers and service providers could maintain profitability as they offered high levels of premium priced services to service the needs of large-scale enterprises, multinational business, governments, and global capital projects.
Advances in technology enabled costs to be trimmed in the design and manufacturing processes, greater efficiencies to be achieved in logistics and operations, restructuring and relocating resources were to reshape the work environment, and it opened up new possibilities in communications. Personal contact entered the realm of mass communication, with the advent of databases and joined up computer networks which initiated the collection, storing, and trading of customer data by the 1990’s. Within the communications realm, this heralded a new measurable dimension to the mass market media that had proliferated since press, radio, television, cinema, and outdoor media had evolved during the first half of the 20th century, and had become established by the latter part of the century. Now equipped with customer data, database marketing would drive measurability of marketing investment introducing new efficiencies that would impact upon strategic decision making that would enhance market competitiveness. It was by recognising the importance of capturing and nurturing its customer base through harnessing this data resource, that Tesco successfully outmanoeuvred its competitors to become the market leading supermarket in the UK.
- Standardised product/multi-level market focused offerings with high service components,
- Selective personalised one-way communications,
- Independent supply and distribution channels.
6. The World Wide Web arrives, heralding global opportunities and personal interaction – Global connectivity, opportunities to ‘set up shop online’, facilitate transactions, track individual users tastes, behaviours, and purchasing activity introduced the concept of a low capital, (potentially) global business. This heralded new business models that redefined the whole business environment, changed the commercial landscape, and opened the floodgates for unlimited sharing of content. Successes like Amazon have changed the face of book retailing, the music high street retail sector has imploded due to digital formats being purchased online, or downloaded direct from iTunes or music share websites, and the gaming industry has reinvented itself following the launch of Betfair betting exchange in 2000 which became a £200 million turnover business in 10 years – one of the enduring success stories from the ‘Internet Boom’. Noticeably, the web served as both a communication channel and trading platform which redefined the supply and distribution chains serving retail businesses. Providers of non-physical and digital product would use the web as a delivery channel, enabling immediate fulfilment of customer purchases while negating the need for delivery costs. Coupled with the capability to carry one-to-one communication of email, instant messaging, audio, video, and voice the worldwide web has redefined the global media infrastructure and influenced the world’s population.
- Bespoke and market focused product/multi-level market focused offerings with high service components,
- Selective personalised two-way communications – messaging no longer under complete control and could be openly challenged. Web users could voice opinions, create and share content, and appraise products/services – and were visible to everyone.
- Major shift in power from producer to customer,
- Owned/partner/independent supply chains,
- Owned/partner/independent distribution channels.