Why does someone decide to study an MBA, a master’s degree or a postgraduate course?
“To complement their university studies”
“To have more specific knowledge in a particular area”
“To advance in their professional career”
Any of these answers are valid and would be the first ones that come to your mind, but beyond the obvious, could you specify more?
“To have the necessary knowledge to launch a professional project”
“To seek a change in personal and/or professional life and make the most of the time with high-value training”
“To live a new experience in a different city or in another country”
If I ask you again if you know why someone studies an MBA, a Master’s or a postgraduate course, I’m sure you will answer, “yes, of course!”.
But, what do you think if I told you that some students do it for reasons as significant as:
“I need quality training that is officially accredited in my country”
“I want to develop my project and I need professional contacts/partners to carry it out”
“I want to live in a city or country whose job or business opportunities are attractive, real and in line with my training”
Those are some examples of how many factors are involved in any decision-making process: from the most rational to the most personal or emotional. You only need to look at the main verbs in each sentence to realise this: complement, have, advance, seek, live, need, want or desire.
Know customers in order to understand their decisions
Knowing the customer, listening, dialogue and search for concrete solutions to individual desires or problems are the key in the process of a person’s purchasing decision.
Meet those people who are in the decision process in contact with others who have gone down the same path before, getting to know their stories, their goals and successes, what they have learned or their current situation, are fundamental for that person to believe in you, your brand or your service.
Follow-up while the product or service is being consumed, feedback, are necessary to know if you are doing well, if your product or service is good and satisfies the consumer.
The historical evolution of marketing
When I studied Marketing during my degree, at the end of the 90s, everything revolved around Marketing MIX and the 4 P’s: Product, Place, Price and Promotion.
At that time as a university student, when “mobile phones” had not entered my life, I went to the library to look for information to prepare academic projects, distances were long and the concepts of time and immediacy had a different meaning. In terms of Marketing, I was living in the era of Marketing 1.0 and Marketing 2.0.
Marketing 1.0 was a stage that focused attention on the physical characteristics of a product or a non-tangible service, alluding to its attributes such as composition or price. It basically focused on satisfying the basic needs of the consumer without focused whether it really met their expectations. Communication was unidirectional and dissemination was done through traditional channels such as media, radio or television.
The next stage of marketing was known as 2.0, in which consumers already had a clear vision of how to satisfy their needs with a product or service. At this time, brands needed to stand out themselves from each other and this is when the concept of “value proposition” appeared. A good value proposition encourages consumers to compare and choose a product or service over the rest of the market.
In this moment consumers make smarter purchases, they inform themselves beforehand and communication is essential for this. Traditional channels continue to be used at the same time as the first social networks begin to flourish, in which brands begin to relate to their customers, bonds forged with them and developed strategies based on feelings and emotions.
The ‘Marketing 3.0’ revolution
It is clear that social networks marked a before and after in the field of Marketing. But in my opinion, Marketing 3.0 began when brands not only seek to satisfy the needs of consumers, but also to present sustainable products that provide value to society and at the same time allow them to create a better world.
It is at this stage that new concepts such as “green marketing” appear when products or services are trying to have a positive impact on society and the environment.
As can be seen, the evolution of Marketing has meant moving from the assumption that the product and the sale were the most important thing to the belief that the customer is at the centre of everything and that any strategy that a brand develops will revolve around the person.
This is how we arrive at Marketing 4.0, based on the digital economy. The new era of hyperconnectivity has arrived, in which constant interaction with brands means that strategies are developed day by day, minute by minute. The aim is to generate trust and loyalty on the part of consumers and thus create an emotional impact.
But is the evolution of marketing going to stay here? The answer is no, because almost without realising it, we have arrived to the new digital era, in which Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), predictive algorithms, Robotics, Blockchain, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, among other technologies, are already part of our lives.
Today we can say that many brands, using technology correctly, can anticipate our decision making. We could say that they have almost installed a chip in our brain and are able to predict what our next step is going to be.
Almost 30 years ago, when I was at university, all this would have been science fiction, but today it is a reality and companies and consumers must take positive advantage of all this evolution.
Transforming without forgetting the human value
Companies need to adopt a transformative and agile data-driven mindset that can predict campaign results and develop marketing strategies, increase productivity and leverage hyper-connectivity for faster and more efficient delivery.
Consumers can have more disruptive experiences, in line with what they are looking for or need at any given moment.
And as I asked at the beginning of this article, why does someone decide to study an MBA, a master’s degree or a postgraduate course? I would say that with the way the world and technology are evolving today, we cannot only think about specific training, because if we want to be up to date and competitive, we need to be studying all our lives.
What I do recommend is that whatever you will do, do it according to your own values. There are many offers on the market, but beyond the price or the subject matter, we have to see who is behind them, what values they have and what values are similar to ours. Technological applications imitate humans to create, communicate, deliver and improve value throughout the experience.
Experiences in the Metaverse are already a reality and soon we will be immersed in a parallel reality in many aspects of our lives (and education will be one of them). But we must not forget that, behind any machine, there will always be people.