IF consumer is god, then WHO has the Holy Grail?January 30, 2010
What do you want? This is the question marketers have been asking consumers since the commodity begun. They asked my grand dad. My dad. And now Me. And yes, they will ask my grand son too.
The fact is that the consumers themselves don’t know what S/He wants! It’s foolish to expect them to fit your strategy just because you are from the Harvard or Oxford Business School. The consumer expects you to surprise him with your offering. BUT yes he won’t tell you what he wants. For instance, let’s take one of those evenings when you visit a restaurant and grab the menu. Most of the time you see is a BLANK PAGE. You are not sure what you want. Now let’s imagine that the waiter over there observed you during your last few visits and noticed that you loved sandwich with a fruit drink and that you are also calorie conscious. Now if he suggests you a fresh vegetable salad with a sugar-free fruit drink, how do you feel?
This is what they expect you to do. They don’t care if you observe them. They don’t care if you track their behaviors without affecting their privacy. They believe they are smart, which is true. But they expect you to outsmart them! But again, I strongly believe that all great minds in advertising and marketing are working based on perceived assumptions, supported by year long research done on SAMPLES not CONSUMERS. Focus groups which tell what WE want to hear. And my favourite weapon SEC A, B, C A-, B+ etc.
Consumers are human beings! Why do we need to follow SEC categories derived from census which is 10 year old?? In this fast paced world, status of a person is changing with every great invention. With a new job, suddenly a consumer moves from SEC C to SEC B. Just by upgrading from Nokia to iPhone, a normal youth becomes a trendy, lifestyle dude! When you go to buy a pair of jeans would you tell the store assistant that you are SEC B, monthly earns around Rs. 20K, loves to stay connected with friends, a go-getter???? Or just say that I need that low waist jean. Show me new designs???
Have you ever noticed that consumers ignore product details in print ads, but they never mind doing research, product comparison, check out customer reviews online? Because traditional media tries to STEAL their time, but interactive media EARNS their time. When you talk to most marketers you can clearly understand the frustration why it is becoming harder to get the pulse of the consumer. But if you look at the brands that never advertised but created conversations and played a host for consumer’s interaction, they will see the potential of walking with the small guy – The consumer.
See you after a commercial break ;)
As Graham Brown of Mobile Youth points out, marketers need to answer the question “Am I trying to marketing TO consumers or marketing WITH them?”. “Let’s get it to our heads that youth don’t wake up thinking about our brands!” Check out for more of his insights on Youth marketing at his “10 Quotes for Youth Marketers”. The fact is: youth of the world are waiting out there to put their brand names to test.
If you observe developments in global brands, especially after last year’s recession, you could have realized that change has already started to happen. First time ever Unilever and Coke appointed Digital AOR, Pepsi has stayed away from Super bowl for its socially embedded initiative “refresh everything” and so is Coke which has decided to rely on social media for its much awaited Expedition project.
Who can forget the run away success of the Ford Fiesta movement, an idea by Scott Monty, Ford’s Social media head? Dell, which was considered as a falling brand once, now one of the preferred brands after they realized the potential of social media and had embraced social media for good and created one of my favourite initiative Digital Nomads. For your information, Dell has generated revenues of $6Million ONLY through Twitter! Though the numbers looks small compared with their huge revenues, $6Million is a HUGE amount!
I believe we are living in the awesome era, where we witnessed innovations which are potentially the triggers of change. The iPhone. Evolution of Google. Facebook. Twitter. FourSquare. Technologies like these has made possible to move closer to the consumer’s mind. First time ever in the known history of our mankind, marketers of the future can ACTUALLY give what consumer (my son??) wants.
Consumers today are connected like ever before which provides marketers with loads of insights and opportunities. For instance imagine a very simple probability offered by social media today. You update your Facebook status that you need a break and “would love to go to Hawaii to recharge yourself”. 5 of your other friends ‘likes’ it. Now a tour operator offers you and your other 5 friends an exclusive ‘Group’ package to Hawaii. How about that? According to Prinz Pinakatt, Coca-Cola Company’s interactive marketing manager for Europe, “We would like to place our activities and brands where people are, rather than dragging them to our platform” – BINGO!
Marketers today have the luxury to measure and provide what a consumer wants. And there is one company that can make it happen. Who else than Google? What do think Google dudes have been doing all these days? They made smarter moves by pairing hands with Twitter. Prepared to take on Microsoft with the futuristic Chrome OS. Created a dream run for Android through Droid, Nexus One. Introduced awesome Google Goggles and smart Favourite places. How can I miss the acquisition of Admob?
Connect the dots and you will realize the vision of the cool chaps at Googleplex, Mountain View. They track your social media conversations, your Google search history, your locations through Google maps, your usage in Android powered mobile, your collaborations in Google Wave and your every actions using Google tools like Goggles, Favourite places etc.
Then what you have is the ‘Holy Grail’ in the hands of Larry and Sergey ;)