Consumer Empowerment: How to Use It to Your Advantage

Recently, I attended the annual MobCon event in Minneapolis put on by MentorMate, a Taylor Corporation company. MobCon is one of the top mobile technology events in the nation. In so many ways it brought home what I’ve been seeing over the past few years—consumer empowerment at unprecedented levels. And it’s here to stay because you can’t put the genie back into the bottle. So what is the nature of the empowerment, and how can we in the critical communication world deal with it, and even possibly benefit from it?

What has given the consumer this empowerment? Three things:

  1. Internet and Search Engines – Information that used to be proprietary to business is now readily available to the public at no cost. Well known examples are airline fares, bank and mortgage offerings and real estate listings. In the past, businesses were able to use proprietary information to control and sway their customer and prospects. Now, that’s difficult, if not impossible to do.
  2. Social Media – The concept of ‘word of mouth’ is taken to new heights in social media. It’s a double edge sword for business—good news is readily distributed at no cost, but so is the bad news. Either way, consumers now have power of the news distribution rather than businesses.
  3. Mobile Devices – It’s not only that mobile devices are indeed mobile –allowing consumers to always have them in their possession—but they are easy-to-use. Consumers can make snap judgments and quickly leave one business for a competitor. As quickly as a consumer can make a decision, just as quickly, they can implement the change.

Consumers have gained so much power in the past decade they have richly rewarded the companies who’ve brought it to them. Two of them, Apple and Google, now have the highest brand values in the world. (Apple at $274 billion, Google $174 billion, per Millward Brown’s 2015 Annual Review of Brand Value.)

With the new consumer empowerment now firmly entrenched, what are some of the ways to deal with it and maybe even use it to our advantage?

There are three ways to try to leverage the new consumer empowerment. They include:

  1. Preference Centers –managing the customer’s preference how, when and in what manner they want to be communicated with
  2. Data-Driven Communication – using operational, behavioral and data to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time
  3. Mobile Integration – integrating legacy print and mail communication and email, with mobile capability

These three basic steps are a good start to meet consumer empowerment head on and tap into the power for your business’ advantage. Visit venturesolutions.com or contact us at info@venturesolutions.com to learn about how you can implement a strategy to harness the new consumer empowerment for your business.

About the author

Solutions Architect

Mark has 25 years of experience in the areas of business development, data solutions, database development, document composition and programming. Mark joined Venture Solutions in 2005 as business development director. In his current role as solution architect, Mark works closely with Venture’s relationship managers during the early stages of the sales process. His role is to listen to, learn about and define the needs and requirements of the clients within the larger context of their business planning and goals. He then develops a proposal that aligns those needs and requirements with Venture’s standard services. In addition to Mark’s experience, he is also involved with Xplor International, a non-profit association promoting the use and advancement of data-driven document composition, programming and deployment for critical customer communications.