Companies and organisations in our era need a focused & holistic Communication mindset.
Content Marketing and Purpose Marketing are not enough to be successful in a market which demands for Social Responsibility and starting with ‘Why’. Marketing focuses on the market, but companies nowadays should look further. Companies should be relevant for society and society is more than a market.
The answer on ‘Why‘ a company produces goods and services is normally ‘because we want money in return’. But that is not a motivating answer for customers, this is not why they will love the company and its products (goods and services). It is also not an answer that makes a company relevant for society.
Now, according to marketing-guru’s Kotler & Armstrong companies should design strategies that will build profitable relationships with target consumers. They write that a company can choose between five alternative concepts, the newest being the Societal Marketing concept (see below). The other four are respectively: Production concept, Product concept, Selling concept and Marketing concept.
- Societal Marketing replaced by Business Communication
- Social Responsibility and Purpose Marketing ask for Business Communication
- Content Marketing replaced by Business Communication
- Conclusion: Marketing mindset vs. Communication mindset
Societal Marketing replaced by Business Communication
Societal marketing concept: The idea that a company’s marketing decisions should consider consumers’ wants, the company’s requirements, consumers long-run interest, and society’s long-run interests.Kotler & Armstrong (2012) Principles of Marketing. Pearson. p33-35
Well, on the long-run one of the interests of a consumer is that the product works also after he bought it, so after he had the role of a consumer. Actually, on the long-run a person has several roles varying from consumer and user, to employee, candidate, investor, decision-maker, etc.
Marketing professionals tend to focus on one group of people: the target group. This target group is mostly addressed as ‘consumers’. Communication professionals, on the other hand, tend to have a more holistic mindset.
Communication professionals do not see people primarily as consumers but also as employee, candidate, sharer of content, decision-maker, etc. Therefore Business Communication is not only about Marketing-Communication, aimed at consumers. Business Communication also entails Public Relations, Recruitment Communication, Investor Communication, etc. all aimed at different audiences.
Business Communication uses the production and curating of content in order to share information, creating common knowledge or an emotion of togetherness.
Social Responsibility and Purpose Marketing ask for Business Communication
In line with the Societal Marketing concept social responsibility and purpose marketing are gaining interest. I believe that this is only the beginning. In our era purpose should not be a ‘trick’ to reach marketing-goals or to maintain organisational continuity. Purpose should be the basis. Business should start with ‘why’.
Purpose should be the reason to exist, the company should be an instrument to realise that purpose. That will make the company relevant on the long-run, both for consumers (and people with other roles) and for society.
From a communication perspective a company should think about what message it disseminates by using resources, people and money. Does the company use this efficiently? Is there no unnecessary waste and therefore pollution and depletion of the earth? Does it make consumers, employees, investors and other people happy or even love the company and its brands?
People who are not happy with the company will share there experiences and feelings with each-other and on the long-run this could have a negative impact on the company.
This asks for a holistic communication mindset. A mindset in which people are not primarily seen as consumers. Therefore Societal Marketing can be replaced by Business Communication.
Content Marketing replaced by Business Communication
I believe that Content Marketing will be replaced by Business Communication. Business Communication in the sense of a whole company communicating with its audiences. Business Communication makes the company relevant. It is working on a positive attitude of internal and external stakeholders towards the company and its products. This positive attitude promotes sales, but also promotes attracting and keeping the right employees, investors, decision-makers etc.
Content Marketing can be described as “the creation of valuable and relevant content yourself (instead of using traditional means)“. Content Marketing is about sending content with the aim of affecting the receiver. The effect on the receiver should be a positive attitude or even an action: promoting the content, sharing information, buying a product, etc.
Business Communication goes a step further. It is not only about sending content, but it is also about receiving content. Both the sending and the receiving party can be affected by this process. Communication can ultimately lead to sharing information between people, thus creating common knowledge or even an emotion of feeling together. Communication can lead to the formation of a group: commun-ication.
Conclusion: Marketing mindset vs. Communication mindset
The marketing mindset is focused on a target-audience: mainly consumers. Consumers who exchange money for products (goods and services). Money that flows to employees, managers and investors.
The communication mindset is holistic, interested in people in several roles. Roles varying from consumer to employee, candidate, investor, producer of content, etc. In this mindset a company should not only be focused on money but also on making the company relevant. The company is relevant if people feel attracted to the company and its brands. Business Communication helps people love the company and its brands. Business Communication sees a company not only as part of the market but also as part of the whole society. The communication mindset is both focused and holistic.