Consumer Control

Thanks to technology, consumers are now much more in control, over how they interact with brands, meaning brands and agencies are having to adapt to the end of push marketing and the new dominance of pull marketing.

Social media has enabled consumers to take control over the adverts they are exposed to, and the network of brands they want to engage with. Advertisers need to adapt in order to appeal to the “internet” generation. The message isn’t new, but the medium is. For the internet generation radio, television and newspapers are considered to be old and dying formats whilst Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the way forward.

Advertising and marketing is about building connections with people, encouraging them to discover more. It is no longer okay to create an advert and simply wait for people to demand the brand. A successful adverting and marketing strategy need to utilise targeted social media to connect with different consumer group on different levels. Marketers need to focus their message were it will be heard and were it wants to be heard. This can only be achieved by listening to consumers and providing them with something of value they will be happy to take time out of their day to engage with.

In these times of austerity, economic uncertainty, speeding freezes and budget cuts there remains a gulf between the public and many brands who, despite the current climate,  are encouraging consumers to spend their wages on supposed ‘must have’ products. UK consumers no longer believe owning branded products reflects status, only 20% of UK consumers agree owning the latest brand products or ’nice things’ tells the world they have made it, while in BRIC counties like Brazil, Russia and China the figure is a much higher 50%.   

A larger proportion of consumers feel dissatisfied with how they are represented in the media and marketing. 16-30 year olds feel disenfranchised, believing those in authority do not understand them or can relate to their needs or wants. Yet with today’s new rules of marketing it is this generation group that is the most media and brand savvy and are far more intelligent to marketing then previous generations.

The advertising and marketing industry is viewed with suspicion, it’s the year 2012 and people have a more cynical view of what advertising is there to achieve. We understand advertising influences consumers to purchase things we would otherwise not need and its ways and means to go about it. An inquiry called for by the Prime Minister recently condemned advertising for a lack of social responsibility and placed the blame for the 2012 riots partly at the feet of advertisers for encouraging excessive consumerism, leading young people to believe they must have the latest products. With more than two-thirds of people believing materialism among young people is a problem within their local area.

Brands need to treat customers as unique rather than taking a blanket communication approach. Marketing strategy need to be developed in a connected environment with elements of peer-to-peer sharing. Brands must prove their worth within a culture of sharing and focus on earned media rather than paid.Image

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