While it’s usually used to describe the housing market, the phrase “it’s a buyer’s market” now describes most consumer markets. Why? The amount and depth of information that is available at the consumers’ fingers of course.
I was just reading the blog by Josh Bernoff entitled Welcome to the Age of the Customer. Invest accordingly and it really had me thinking…as a researcher and a marketer, what does this shift to the “age of the consumer” mean to me? I am guessing lots. If this topic interests you, I highly recommend you (buy and) read the full report from Forrester on the topic. Click here to go to the report site.
Here’s a great chart that Forrester has put together explaining how the influence of the consumer has changed over the years. Basically it shows the balance of power shifting from the manufacturer to the consumer and the impetuous being access to information.
So at the end of the day what does the age of the consumer mean? It means that we marketers need to think engagement rather than revenue. We need to focus our resources on building the appropriate sharing and engagement tools—and this has to go beyond social media. This means we need to keep in contact with our customers and prospects. At the company I work for, we use a marketing automation system to nurture our prospects and keep our customers engaged.
Now—back to my market research side…as a market researcher, the age of the consumer has serious ramifications. These ramifications range from more and more people trying out DIY market research (probably much to their detriment), the touch points that need to be measured in our customer satisfaction and loyalty, transaction and AAU (attitudes, awareness and usage) studies are going to increase significantly. And, the way in which we complete surveys is also going to change. And, we need to be prepared for the change. It’s not just conducting studies via telephone and online, we also have to consider mobile surveys and virtual focus groups. So many choices, so little time!
While we are truly facing a brave new world, it can be lucrative for those who build their operating and marketing strategy around customer engagement first, and revenue generation second.
How are you engaging your customers and prospects in this age of the consumer?