The Marketing Power Shift – From Sellers To Buyers
The power to deliver your marketing message is no longer in your hands. The buyer is now much more powerful than the seller. Does this signify the end of traditional marketing? Possibly… but, at the very least it definitely changes how the game is played.
Let me give you an example. Most people have used a shopping site to purchase a product. On Amazon, you can see the reviews of other customers, both good and bad, related to that product. For most of us, those reviews will guide our purchasing decision. This – find what I want, validate the purchase and buy it – methodology has been going for years.
Back in the day – my buddy loved his groovy Panasonic 8 track, so I got the same one.
Today – that translates to sifting through the latest reviews of sellers and products on Amazon.
We have always valued the opinions of others when we buy.
The big change is that now we have the ability to converse with hundreds of people regarding our next purchase. We can research every aspect of the seller, view the office/store and warehouse through Google Earth and Street Level View. This has created a more intimate buying environment, all thanks to emerging technology on the web.
Everyone can do research about your company and the individuals involved. The buyer now has the power to define YOUR marketing message in THEIR terms. Like the Amazon reviews, consumers will be able to see the good and bad about your company – the honesty, issues and the human element. You better give them something to find.
This is all happening VERY quickly
The tools that enable this shift are gaining acceptance and this medium is developing at a rapid rate. This is bad news for traditional marketers. By the time they realize that this technology is empowering buyers, the momentum associated with development and acceptance of these tools will be in full swing. The train is leaving the station now and it will not be slowing down.
To fully understand why this can take off so quickly, don’t think of emerging technology in the web in traditional marketing terms. This is not like the emergence of other traditional marketing technologies: TV Advertising, Radio Advertising, Direct Mail, Variable Date Printing, etc. These advances emerged through a limited number of stakeholders and from a limited number of perspectives as technology was developed by corporations and inventors.
In 2008, US internet use as a percentage of population was 72.5% up from 44.1% in 2001. Over 220 million Americans are using the Internet on a regular basis. There were only 108 Million Homes using TV in the US, in 2008.
On the web, life is very different. The web is a giant development team that you are likely a part of. Every single keystroke and mouse click that every internet user enters anywhere on the web at anytime is contributing to how the web, as a whole, develops. There are billions of these keystrokes and mouse clicks happening every single day and everyday this billion person development team works around the clock to change things. You answered an email today and changed the web, you search for something in Google and changed it again – although ever so slightly, you and billions of other like you are changing the landscape by your actions.
Thanks to all these developers working everyday, new tools and opportunities appear, become refined and gain acceptance very quickly. As we all change the web, we also change how we use it and influence what is available online. As we use things more, we define the direction of those resources and each click defines the path that these resources will take. How we use the web, shapes the future.
This is where momentum takes over – as tools become accepted and used, they morph based on how they are used and grow based on the number of people using them and their billions of keystrokes. Things can take off faster and grow more quickly than in any other medium.
Ready to get on board the bullet train or are you still clinging to that old buggy whip called traditional marketing? If you’re unsure of the direction things are headed, just go take a look at the recycle bin at your office, if it is like mine, it is full of direct mail you’ve never looked at.
Next week I’m writing a post on the shift towards businesses taking a more active role in their own marketing and relying less on agencies and vendors.
Want to know more now?