Marketing has gone a long way. In the old days, not very long ago, marketers had the upper hand. They would show their product on TV or magazines, and people would buy it. The only way to know about the product was through a salesperson, who will say good things about it because they get paid just for that. You buy the product and move along. Today, we don't do that.
I had an HTC smartphone that was at least 3 years old. In smartphone years, it's a dinosaur. There were two reasons I wouldn't purchase a new phone.
One, I never cared much about having the latest device. At least when it came to phones, one that would do that basic like, taking pictures, internet access, social media, texting, is all I ever needed. Of course newer phones are faster, and flashier, and whatnot. But I didn't feel like I was missing anything.
Second, every time I did research to buy a new phone, I would find compelling reasons why I should keep the one I have. I read reviews from bloggers and customers that purchased the devices. I ignored the fanboys and only paid attention to regular people using the devices. Some had negative reviews but most were overall positive. The reason the positive reviews made me keep my phone was because they mostly talked about features already present in my current phone.
Now this second reason is the most important one. This is the big change that happened in marketing. No matter what the advertisement says, I will still do my research before buying it. And I will get first accounts from real customers. The brand doesn't matter at all. I will go by the product.
It doesn't matter what Apple says in their keynote, only those who already own an Apple product will be standing in line. Everyone else and I, we will do our research first.
This changes marketing completely. The marketer is no longer in charge. That's why you read about companies trying to penalize customers who leave bad reviews on yelp. And that California is doing something about it.
There is one thing companies can do however, rather then just say that their product is great and have celebrities endorse it. It's weird, but it might be worth a shot. Wait for it, this is going to blow your socks off. The secret is building a better product.
If you look at the old battle of Pepsi and Coca-Cola, we all know they taste the same. Well maybe slightly different, but that depends on whether you get them in a can or a fountain. Sometimes in fountains, the taste vary from place to place. Maybe they syrup and water ratio is not well calibrated, who knows. I digress.
With Coke and Pepsi, the taste doesn't change, only the advertising campaign does. New bottle, new ad, new banners, but the taste is always the same. No one can say it works, I don't think anyone was every convinced to switch because of a commercial. People drink their soda religiously.
Maybe it works for consumables, but not in the technological ridden market. People don't listen to companies. They listen to other people. So companies have to rely on people to do the advertisement for them ... for free. This is a win win. The only price to pay is building a product worth talking about.
If you want to have a lasting product today, you will have to build something people find worth talking about. Something people will go out of their way to talk about. They go on amazon and leave a review. They talk to their friends about it (No referral programs do not count). They become almost religious about it. Just tell an iPhone owner that his phone sucks and see where that leads you.
Build something worth talking about and you get free meaningful marketing. That's the current state of marketing.