Implications of the Increasingly Online Consumer

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Online market?  (Photo credit: tim caynes)

We are faced with a new way of content or rather, information consumption with the advent of the Internet age. The average user now has 3,000 impressions daily coming from a convergence of news, personal dialogues with friends, entertainment and uses these convergence points to triangulate his position to discover truth for himself. Credibility is built over tested and proven frameworks and trusted sources of information established over time as consumers seek to construct their own networks of information.

To the marketer, every movement by consumers on the Internet is valuable. When these movements are put together, marketers are able to derive patterns of usage of interests and target campaigns specific to these individuals. Talk about near-perfect cost efficient marketing! However, what consumers really treasure and protect are anonymity and privacy, of which, marketers have to therefore tread sensitively in order to remain as trusted guardians of value and yet respect the wishes of consumers to have their information secured and safe in the hands of marketers.

What are some of the managerial and strategic implications as consumers spend even more time online?

1. Brand management takes on greater emphasis as years of reputation can be dismantled in a matter of minutes and hours under carelessness.

2. Proactivity in using privacy as a competitive advantage. Businesses that are upfront in protecting the anonymity and privacy of consumers may stand a greater advantage against others who do not. The feeling of remaining anonymous simply enhances the online shopping experience. Keeping he private private goes a long way.

3. Use pattern recognition software to make sense of data of different consumers. It is getting increasingly difficult to segment consumers as fragmentation occurs at a greater extent online. However, it is possible to chart out patterns of consumption and then segment and group consumers for greater scale and scope economies effects in marketing.

4. With comparisons being made at the click of the button, it may not be the wisest thing to play with prices. Differentiation is still the key. However, given that there is now better cost efficiency in marketing, the cost of marketing goes down significantly and resources can be channeled elsewhere. With targeted Direct Marketing and higher response rates of 20-30%, profits will technically be impacted positively.

5. Personalization effect. As consumption habits are captured online, more personalized features should be expected from campaigns. This reduces searching costs on the consumers’ part but increases the efforts from marketers. Cross-selling and cross-promotion should also be engaged.



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