Consumers Power Transformational Marketing: Engaging Customers in Personalized Dialogue Replaces Pushing Messages through Mass Media

Article excerpt

BETTER ACCESS to data is empowering consumers, who share that information over social media, often using mobile devices, as they influence behavior before, during, and after a sale. Indeed, consumers are challenging how marketers promote products and services and how they work with consumers. Companies that embrace change and seek opportunities to grow brand trust and loyalty are at the forefront of a marketing revolution.

In the past, consumers had learned about products and services when marketers and advertisers created messages pushed through traditional mass-media channels. Marketers controlled the messaging, and consumers' ability to look at competitive products was limited to local markets or conversations with friends.

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Today, though, consumers have instant access, mostly from sources outside a company's sphere of control. Without hesitation, consumers make purchasing decisions based on consumer feedback posted with online merchants, shopping aggregators, and within social media.

Social media has enabled consumers to get feedback and recommendations from a diverse group of people within and outside their own personal networks. Like many other digital channels, companies have little influence on decision making. And that is disconcerting to marketers.

In addition, mobile devices have created a multiplier effect across digital channels. Consumers can get feedback and price comparisons at the point of purchase, in real time, through apps, sites, or postings in social networks.

In the new world of the empowered consumer, marketers have to evolve from traditional to transformational. This means they need to move beyond mass media to personalized one-on-one conversations and customer collaboration. Transformational marketing also requires shifting from being primarily intuition-driven to a data-driven, predictive, agile approach. The push model is passe; now it's about strategic, consistent, personalized placement of brand information that consumers can tap on their terms in their media. …