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2009 marked a critical year where mass awareness and adoption of social media collided with a global financial crisis. The result? Consumers became more skeptical, conscientious, and empowered — all at the same time.
Case studies about the influence of this new breed of consumers on businesses are piling up. The Powermat, for example, had a good PR launch and received some favorable reviews in the media. Only a few years ago, this would have provided the requisite foundation for a successful launch. Today, complaints about compatibility issues and customer service problems have led to a 2-star rating on Amazon.com. So, conversations by disappointed customers, that would have died in living rooms before the advent of social media are now thwarting otherwise successful product launches.
So, in a world where consumers are increasingly skeptical, conscientious, and empowered, is the answer really to develop marketing activities that engage more consumers through more channels?
No. The answer lies in embracing these consumers and giving them outlets where they can exercise this newfound empowerment.
In his blog post titled “The platform vs. the eyeballs,” Seth Godin writes that in a world where media companies build large audiences and allow you the opportunity to engage with those audiences through advertising, “You, the marketer, don’t care about the long-term value of this audience. It’s like a rental car. You want it to be clean and shiny when you get it, you want to avoid getting in trouble when you return it, but hey, it’s a rental.”
While Facebook, Twitter, mobile, or any other emerging platforms may be part of our efforts, they are not the foundation. As we think about the current frenzy around emerging channels, we must accept that — at the core — nothing has changed. Marketers are excited about these environments because they represent new roads to massive audiences. Some of the rules may be different, but we are still riding on the coattails of others.
Originally From “Embracing Consumer Skepticism & Empowerment”| Published December 9, 2009