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In today's marketplace, customers have more power than ever before. Marketing must change how it works if it is to better meet customer demands. Two things that the market has forced marketing to change are focus and control.

As you'll read in the following responses from our readers, traditional marketing methods are beginning to be replaced by new marketing approaches—changing from being company-focused to being more consumer-focused. And the message is no longer controlled by sales, marketing, or even the CEO; it's now controlled by customers.

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Out with the old and in with the new

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "traditional marketing" versus the "new marketing." What is considered traditional marketing and how does new marketing differ from the old way of doing things? And which is better?

—Kathleen, business owner

It's about the focus

Ayman, director of marketing with Arab Jordanian Insurance Group, explains that the old marketing concept focuses on selling what is being produced, while new marketing concentrates on producing what can be sold or consumed. "The best concept is not always the new—it is situational—new inventions, for example," says Ayman.

Dana Cooper, president of Contact Consultants, elaborates on the idea that focus is the main difference between the two:

Traditional marketing has a very outward orientation, while new marketing is much more inwardly focused. I refer to new marketing as turning traditional marketing "on its ear." This is a natural evolution, based on where the source of greatest returns exists, and results from the information age. Cutting through the enormous and growing amount of communication clutter has become more difficult and expensive.

Developing a "message" that will be heard and decoded correctly, and finding an effective delivery vehicle, is more complex. As a result, we look closer to the proverbial "tree" for untapped prospect segments and existing segments that can be more easily reached and are already educated about the organization.

A reader says the "new" is really about meeting customer expectations in new ways:

Being new only means that you need to meet (and exceed if possible) the needs and expectations of your customers in new ways. You can find many examples of how technology and changes in demographics impact the way you communicate with your customers. Is this new marketing or is it just a new delivery method? I believe that it is more a delivery issue.

Whether new marketing is about changing the focus to be on the customers or better meeting their expectations, new marketing is also about who controls the message to the consumer.

It's about control

If you market your products or services online, a static Web page (old marketing) no longer does the trick. Surfers want interaction with Web sites (new marketing). For example, an online map rarely just shows you where things are. Maps have been enhanced to help you do more than find a location: find houses for sale, share your current location, and track your packages.

Alison Fraser, president of The Better Idea, Inc., sees a change in how the market controls the message:

Traditional Marketing: I take this term to mean marketing when companies could control the market and the message. For example, consumers could only buy what was close by and would only see messages that were in their market. Companies could happily live by things like the five Ps, and they could control product distribution, price and consumer opinions much more than today. I see "old school" thinkers trying to do this every day—most car companies used to live here, many packaged good companies still live here. Some advertising dinosaurs live next door.

New Marketing: Recognizes that information cannot be as easily controlled. Rather than trying to control consumers, you have to satisfy them. Advertising is only a small part of the equation—in that people expect more and you need to deliver more. Consumers are more in control than they were, and savvy companies need to pitch their Marketing 101 texts and expand their thinking to exceed customer expectations. Companies today stand for something more than just products. New marketing is the evolution of marketing, and it's the only way to think today.

You could say this column is part of the new marketing. The focus is on you, and you control what we cover. Had enough of semantics? Hey, you're in the driver's seat. Just send us your challenge, and we'll do what we can to please you.

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Why can't sales and marketing get along?

I've heard many cat-dog types of stories about sales and marketing. Obviously, these two teams are important to an organization. Why can't sales and marketing see eye to eye and how does an organization deal with oftentimes opposing views?

—Denny, analyst

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hank Stroll (Hank@InternetVIZ.com) is publisher at InternetVIZ, a custom publisher of 24 B2B e-newsletters reaching 490,000 business executives.