June 3, 2011

Connecting the Social Consumer

Do you know their opinion?

There is a ton of content and discussion about the social consumer. She has a tablet and a smartphone. He buys stuff online with one thumb tied behind his back. She actually knows all of her 247 Facebook friends. And if you stopped and asked him how he navigates the digital landscape, he might reply with something insightful like, “I don’t think about it”. And companies desperately want her.

He/she is not one person yet far too many companies continue to attempt the homogenized approach to outbound marketing. We need to pay closer attention to our own behaviour when designing messages that we want to use to attract customers.

They is us and We is them

Discussions began a decade ago when the advertising and marketing world began to realize that their slick messaging wasn’t passing the lips and down the throat as easily to a certain segment of the population. This is no longer a group that can be ignored.

The social consumer was often dismissed as a group of tech savvy kids. That is simply not true and it is dangerous thinking. The social consumer is my 74 year old dad and my 25 year old niece. This is a behavioral conversation. We reside on both sides of the counter. I provide you with products and services and you do the same for me. The counter may be a website, smartphone app, blog, tweet, wiki, Facebook wall entry or what some call "stuff we do in real life".

Four out of five dentists recommend

After years of conducting mind numbing focus groups, callout research and group discussions, I can safely say we lie, or perhaps better stated, we stretch the truth when asked our opinion. We mean to be truthful but often have trouble remembering what we had for lunch. So when asked how many servings of vegetables participants have in an average week, they may respond with a slightly higher number than reality while lowering the number if the inquiry is about servings of alcohol.

Eckhart Tolle says the past is our impression of what may have happened. The social consumer is too busy creating their own experience to count beers and broccoli.

Survey says

We can now capture information from stuff that is actually happening versus our collective recall as with the focus group strategy. Nothing is 100% accurate but placing your hands over your ears and eyes and hoping it will go away is unwise strategy. A decade ago you may have been able to do that, it is not a theory anymore. We are all becoming the social consumer whether you believe it or not.

There are free tools and proprietary solutions such as analytics and digital audits that can help manage the data. The ideal situation is a combination of both. Excuses like "we don't have time" or "we don't see the value" are no longer good enough.

Are you investing in your social consumer?

Kneale Mann

image credit: gartner
 
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