We are living in an era of dramatic change on a global level in terms of how we buy and sell. Today consumers have new online tools that helps make the selection process for products or services more efficient; we are immersed in the era of the consumer 2.0.
Businesses face the challenge of understanding new digital mediums in order to engage this consumer, and through these networks will discover different methods, potentially replacing traditional marketing operations, and even sales processes in order to adapt to this new reality.
What is the consumer 2.0 like?
This new consumer isn’t afraid of technology because they were born in generation X, Y, or later, and the internet is a part of everyday life.
In an internal investigation we did at Mente Digital between 2010 and 2011, we evaluated the forms of interaction that consumers have with the brands they follow on social networks, and we discovered three principal factors that describe this new consumer and what they are looking for from online brands.
At the beginning of the ‘90s a new consumer phenomenon emerged: they started looking for companies that didn’t treat them like the masses, and instead gave them a personalized service. A product that emerged from this thinking is Amazon that today is still one of the most effective electronic commerce service providers in the world thanks to the personalization of information.
Examples of other companies who have understood personalization are Apple, Dell, and of course Starbucks that hands you your coffee by announcing your name.
Online consumers are looking for personalization through social networks, where they initiate a conversation through Twitter or Facebook instead of making a phone call to a call center.
The new consumer constantly evaluates the levels of honesty and transparency of the companies with which they associate. Red flags fly when they detect that a brand is abusing their position or taking advantage of others. Consumers prefer a company that isn’t perfect, but is at least honest.
Authenticity, as a value consumers consider, has made Corporate Social Responsibility important, and brands that worry about their social reputation are winning the attention and confidence of their consumers.
Applied online, the consumer 2.0 values brands that give them information and generate content not only that they themselves produce internally, but also on other websites.
This point is very important for the new consumer who is looking for constant contact with the brands they consume and it means that they feel someone on the other side is listening, making social networks one of the most preferred tools to connect with an organization.
When a social media user receives valuable information from a brand they naturally begin to consider it within their range of options. However, when this same brand also pays attention and responds appropriately and quickly to the questions of the user, that generates a long and lasting connection.
Businesses who want to improve their interaction require on the one hand a constant compromise to monitor and detect what users are saying in social media in order to intervene when necessary and demonstrate that the organization is worried about what people are saying. On the other hand, it requires the right response that attends to users’ needs.
As a conclusion, it is important to consider the new consumer trusts the internet in order to get to know and investigate businesses, which should provoke these same organizations the motivation to take care of their space online. It is important to mention that although a company isn’t on social media, users talk about them anyways.
The current challenge is to put energy in interaction, authenticity and personalization in terms of your relationship with consumers.
Knowledge that isn’t shared loses its value.
Founder and director of Mente Digital, recognized as one of the best social media agencies in Latin America, he is currently the Vice President of Marketing for the Asociación Mexicana de Internet, leader of the Social Media Marketing club in Mexico, conducts the internet radio program Engage, is an international speaker, columnist for the magazine Merca 2.0, and has written hundreds of articles on marketing, social media, innovation and business. www.perezbolde.com