The Fourth Industrial Revolution is an age of technology convergence where the borders between physical space, digital space and biological space are diluted. Most future outlook reports suggest the major causes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with aspects of social economy and science technology. In the social economic aspect, changes in working method and environment and the growth of the middle classes in the emerging market are seen as the causes; in the science technology aspect, mobile, internet, cloud tech, big data analysis, IoT and AI as the causes.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution has characteristics of Hyper-Connected and Hyper Intelligent based on which everything is connected and advances toward more intellectualized society. As of 2015, the number of Internet-Connected Objects in the world was estimated 182 billion and is expected to increase to 501 billion in 2020; and the market size from 5.2 trillion won in 2015 to 16.5 trillion won ($13 billion) in 2020.
Change of environment in marketing’s point of view
Hyper-Connected and Hyper-Intelligent have brought consumers closer to engaging in the process of produce and services; and companies to fast collection and analysis of data to provide customized services in real time. Hyper-Connected connects cutting edge devices such as mobile, internet and IoT to share information and it has widened opportunities for both consumers and companies to interact each other from management to development of products and services.
Consumers who are hyper-connected through communities tend to share large quantity of information as well as reviews and comments that will eventually affect the courses of new products and services of a company. To make these reviews and comments as reference, some companies take proactive measures; an invention platform company Quirky, for example, runs an online consumer platform to gather information and analyze it in real time for new products and services.
Companies with Hyper-Intelligent driven, on the other hand, use the most of AI, nano technology and robot engineering by loading intelligence in people and things in order to provide customized contents to consumers. They gather information from Internet of Things, save it in cloud, analyze with big data, bring up their findings and connect them for convenience of consumers.
Adobe Sensei, for instance, analyzes trade data of customers with AI and sends the causes to marketers when found unusual movement so that they can bring up appropriate measures in time.
Hyper-Connected and Hyper-Intelligent are turning the traditional one way communication between consumers and companies to both way, the vertical relations to horizontal, and the exclusiveness to inclusiveness. Thus the purchasing power of consumers is getting more influential while companies benefit from advanced product and services technologies.
Appealing points to consumers
The advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution forces companies to value consumer-centered products and services more than ever whether they like or not. Even behind these B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer) lies the sentiment of Me2B (Me to Business). In other words, not matter where and how the trade is made, consumers will leave when they are not satisfied.
To prevent this happening, the person in charge of marketing needs to bring up customized promotions, the person in charge of digital commerce needs to offer Omni-Channel experiences, the person in charge of selling needs to provide client by client services, and the person in charge of services needs to give real time response with solutions. It is advisable that they manage the purchasing channels of consumers with attention to detail in order to secure brand awareness.
Philip Kotler defined the purchasing channels of consumers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution with 5A: 1) Awareness 2) Appeal 3) Ask 4) Action and 5) Advocacy. He then emphasized that the person in charge of reponsible field needs to focus his whole effort in the marketing that can hold ‘more advocates’ of his brand.
Before the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or before the era of Hyper-Connected, the last element of the 5A ‘Advocacy’ was much ignored and companies focued all their fire on the repurchasing marketing; After the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or the Hyper-Connected era, ‘Advocacy’ emerged as an important factor as advocates can either back up the product and services or back down from them and walk away.
Appealing points to companies
Philip Kotler points out the importance of consumer’s purchasing experience and building and running Omni Channel. Omni Channel is a trade environment on which consumers search products and purchase online, offline and mobile. It emphasizes integral management of all the possible purchasing channels which can connect customers organically through seamless purchasing experience. In other words, Omni Channel connects all the available purchasing channels to provide customer-centered and consistent communication to increase sales and services.
The reason companies should build and run Omni Channel is because it enables them to provide customized services by gathering purchasing data of consumers in real time. For instance, Amazon released Amazon Echo loaded with Alexa, a voice recognition system, which makes consumers easier to purchase products on Amazon while the company collects and analyzes their behavioral data to provide better and better optimized purchasing experiences.
Phillip Kotler proposed the need of improved marketing strategies and tools that can satisfy new digital environment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Change of the market requires change of strategies and tools. So he redefined the channel with O2O (Online to Offline), with the communication relations as horizontal and two ways, and with consumer community validation and 4C Mix.
4C Mix is 1) Co-Creation 2) Currency 3) Communal Activation and 4) Conversation. 4C Mix helps us revise and improve things effectively, analyze consumer data in real time and proactively develop customized contents.
In preparation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, companies need an accumulative management of consumer behavioral data through integral on/offline trade channels. Therefore, companies should better embrace O2O system for better marketing in the digital environment and should better develop customized contents by making the most of their big data.
It is recommendable for companies to use big data analysts such as Adobe, SAP and Amazon Web Service for proactive development of contents not necessarily in the marketing department only but also in the related departments such as IT and manufacturing. It is also recommended that they should better run specialized teams for big data analysis, contents development, etc.