How to succeed in marketing in an era of change

Salman AminBy Balthazar W. Heldring (GSB ’14)

Any student pondering the industry that will provide a steady, fulfilling career need look no further. According to Salman Amin, COO of S.C. Johnson, there is no better time to begin a career in marketing, especially for our generation of millennials.

On Friday, February 21, Fordham students listened to an established leader in the world of marketing as Mr. Amin shared his thoughts on where the industry is headed. “There is one certainty that young marketers will face and that is change,” Mr. Amin said. This change is indeed inevitable. Mr. Amin added that there are three major trends that will affect future marketers: an aging consumer base, the shift in the way brands are communicated to consumers, and the changing retailer landscape.

For the next 16 years, roughly 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day. Millennials, representing 15 percent of consumers, will account for one third of total economic spending by the end of this decade. This extraordinary population shift has altered the way marketers interact with consumers. Gone are the days where the majority of advertisements appeared in newspapers and on television. Social media — Facebook, Twitter and Youtube — has allowed marketers to tap into new channels of marketing that are much different than 15 years ago.

“Consumers’ media consumption habits have become heavily fragmented, resulting in a shift from T.V.-centric to always on mobile and digital devices,” Mr. Amin said. “Tablets and smartphones have fundamentally changed the way in which we communicate with consumers.” This mass consumption of media has even shifted the way consumers shop for goods. User-friendly smartphones and tablets enable consumers to shop online from the comfort of their couch or while waiting in line for their Starbucks coffee.

During the past holiday season, nearly one-third of all sales came from mobile devices, up 40 percent from the previous year. More than half of Amazon’s customers purchase items through a smartphone or tablet device. This massive increase in mobile shopping has resulted in an increase of retailers’ focus on store brands and value creation for customers to create separation from competition. “We are in an era of unprecedented change that creates a sense of excitement and freshness throughout the industry,” Mr. Amin added.

On the other hand, this change has proven to create its own obstacles for marketers. With new forms of technology and ways to communicate to the massive consumer population, creating brand awareness has never been easier. However, creating customer loyalty remains one of the toughest challenges for marketers. Customer loyalty is what drives consumers to continue to purchase goods from their favorite retailers, which ultimately drives the success of brands.

The challenges and opportunities that have arisen from the transformative era are what create the foundation for great leaders. “This is an era in which success will be defined by one’s ability to lead with purpose and commit to change, not avoid it.”

For all students looking to make a name for themselves in the world of marketing, confronting change and navigating the obstacles that come with it might just be the keys to not only becoming an established marketer, but a great leader as well.

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email