Get ready for the EMAC 2012 – Going beyond Customers and Consumers

by alrou on May 18, 2012

The next European Marketing Academy simply EMAC Conference is just around the corner. This is the 41st in the series and will be held this year in Lisbon from May 22nd to 25th of 2012. The conference will be hosted by the ISCTE-IUL Business School. This year, the theme for the EMAC conference is going to be “Marketing to Citizens – Going beyond Customers and Consumers”.

The European Marketing Academy or EMAC, as it is well known, was established in 1975. The primary aim for the establishment of EMAC was to guide and serve people who were involved or interested in marketing theory and research. EMAC serves as a communication network base for disseminating information and promoting international collaboration in the field of marketing.

In these changing times, this dissemination of the information and the promotion of international collaborations is precisely the need of the hour, especially in the field of marketing. However, with the progress we should not forget that this faster pace in development and marketing technology also pose a problem to our future generations. Future generations have to deal with the consequences of our present actions. Globalization has provided a perfect fuel for this exponential rise in the development of the economies and the subsequent rise in the depletion of natural resources. Nobody is unaware of the fact that developed and developing economies have their own set of problems to deal with. While emerging markets have to deal with the exponential rise in population, the developed countries are facing the problems of rise in the aging population. Precisely, these situations are putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the natural resource reserves in both developed and developing countries and can potentially lead to the depletion of these resources in the near future.

The forefront of this technology revolution, which is responsible for this extra fast pace in the development of the economies, is the advancements in information and communication sectors. Globalization is said to be a direct result of this faster pace in technology, which essentially leads to the empowerment of consumers. While this consumer empowerment is proving to be beneficial for consumers, but this has also presented a whole range of new challenges to the marketers. In order to get success in today’s economy, the marketer needs to know all the advanced and latest techniques that a consumer uses before choosing any product. A Marketer should have an adequate knowledge of all the strategies to handle all the different types of consumers effectively. For instance, marketers should know how to handle the first time consumers, the repeat users, how to retain the existing consumers and which of strategies to use for making the consumers further loyal to a particular business and so on and so forth. Web 2.0 has played a very important role in the consumer empowerment. Today’s consumer has all the important tools at his disposal that can help him to select the best products. There is no dearth of blogs, forums or social media platforms to get the required information to use and compare the different products. This new and empowered consumer is aware of all the different options that are available and expects all businesses out there to have a social media presence. The consumer trusts the web for all his buying decisions related to brands, products or any other services.

Hence, in these times, it almost becomes mandatory for every business to look at the consumers in a new light and should understand that today’s consumer is much more educated and knowledgeable about the products, and he is also intelligent enough to make the best purchasing decision. The best thing to do here is to involve him in all the marketing processes such as recommendations and reviews because these recommendations and honest reviews can only help any business in making its products much better and more useful to the consumers, which is so essential for the betterment of any organization.

BestinPortugal now presents an exclusive interview with Paulo Rita, PhD – Professor of Marketing and Director of the PhD Program in Marketing at ISCTE-IUL Business School, and head organizer in Lisbon of this international event .

As the head organizer in Lisbon for the EMAC Conference to be held in Portugal this year, how many attendees are you expecting for the conference?
We are expecting 1000 attendees participating in this conference from more than 60 countries around the world.

How can Portugal benefit in having an International Conference of this nature held over here? Will this benefit Portuguese Marketing professionals and locally established Media Companies?
This is an European Academic conference gathering faculty from Universities worldwide. The state of the art research in marketing in 20 different areas will be addressed at this international conference.
Besides contributing to the advancement of scientific research within the realm of academia, the papers presented at the conference consider also managerial implications for businesses. Hence, Portugal also benefits from the enhanced level of international exposure given by this conference.

What are the new challenges faced today by companies who want to sell their products and services?
Companies need to know very well their target market segments and in particular the interests, opinions, preferences and behavior of their customers. Firms have to adapt their product and service offerings to the consumers wants. Consumers should be seen as citizens since social responsibility and ethics are becoming increasingly important .

What is the importance of Marketing in this 2.0/3.0 worldwide ultra-connected economy?
The consumer decision making process is changing, and web 2.0 – social networks, blogs/micro-blogs, video and photo sharing, review sites, etc. – is gaining Importance. The way organizations communicate with consumers has to be highly interactive.
Moreover, globalization is a fact that in principle allows companies to reach the world but it also brings tough international competition to the local markets.

In these cost cutting times that we are facing, what advice would you give to companies who want to have a better return with their investment in Marketing? What are the perils of blindly cutting their marketing budget to reduce their operating costs?
Cutting marketing budgets to reduce operating costs is an inward-looking approach that is not sustainable in the long run.
Marketing efficiency and effectiveness are important, but their levels should be set according to realistic benchmarks and from an analysis of opportunities and challenges.

Knowing that exports are one of the Government’s priorities for Portuguese companies, do you feel that Portuguese Marketers and Marketing companies can give their contribution to increase the level of exports?
If companies want to achieve good results in terms of sales, profits and other performance metrics, they need to focus on sound marketing strategies.
This demands a clear understanding of the international markets to consider but also the competition over there. Furthermore, the identification of the advantages of Portuguese products or services that could be seen as such from the perspective of consumers is paramount for achieving success.

To know more about the EMAC Conference, visit their site and their Facebook page.

Photo credits:  ISCTE-IUL Business School

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