Marketers from past eras would look on today's consumer insights with envy.
Through social media, blogs, brand communities and other online forums, twenty-first century consumers share their views, preferences, likes and dislikes with whoever cares to read or listen.
In possession of so much information, identifying what consumers want and marketing to them should be easier than ever. And yet, the more we know, the less clarity we have about contemporary customers and what they really want. And the more complex – and invaluable – effective marketing becomes.
Our international survey brings a new clarity to the debate by identifying strong consumer trends that indicate not only what customers want now, but what they are likely to want in the future:
- Breaching the boundaries of market segments: color-matching the chameleon consumer
Our survey reveals a “chameleon consumer” who defies the confines of traditional market segmentation. This consumer has conflicting preferences: shops online but demands the human touch, insists on individualized service but communicates in packs. This individual is hard to read – and even harder to please.
- Brand loyalty: a double-sided global coin
Further proof of the complexity of today’s consumer: the survey found a regional split in brand loyalty. In emerging markets, brands are increasingly likely to influence purchasing decisions. Western consumers, however, are more changeable and show lower brand loyalty, challenging businesses to find new ways to hook their customers.
- From mass broadcasts to self-selection: consumer communication gets personal
The survey shows a clear preference toward personalized communication and service. Trust has moved from traditional mass channels to closer “community” vehicles, such as social media. This move is taking the power of out of the hands of brands and traditional marketing, making bloggers society’s new spokespeople. This trend offers huge opportunities for organizations that can harness digital consumers to their advantage: a massive new marketing department, that’s not even on the payroll.
- The know-it-all, have-it-all consumer
Our survey confirms the extent to which the web has reshaped everything we do – from the way we communicate and shop to the way we pay for services and research. The majority of people now go online for at least part of their shopping journey. The web is changing the retail power relationship. Equipped with all possible product, price and stock information, consumers can simply bypass retailers that don’t compete.
- The consumer to partner metamorphosis
These new empowered customers want to have a greater say in how they experience service. They want products and services to be designed, sold, delivered, serviced and purchased in a way that suits them. They want to be active co-creators, not passive consumers.
These five trends show that customer behavior has changed beyond recognition.
This change has significant consequences for all customer-reliant organizations: to remain relevant to the new consumer, they must undergo a similar radical transformation.
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