If you think that the ingenious ad you’ve created recently or the newest brand promotion you conceived are the tools that will earn you an edge with your customers…think again! The old days of marketing and advertising are over (whether you want to admit it, or not). You might create as brilliant content as you wish, but if people do not pick it up and spread the word themselves, this brilliance is worth virtually nothing. Gone are the days when companies created their image and customers bought it (no pun intended) right away, as it is.
In the past few years there has been a silent revolution going on: a profound change of thinking and redistribution of power. Customers are no longer a passive target group of potential buyers, they are a growingly active community of peers, ready and willing to share their opinion and help others make a decision. The bad news is that if their opinion of your brand or company policy is negative or neutral, you will have a hard time proving yourself and winning a competitive edge. The good news is that if you know how the system works and you are ready to put the necessary passion to attract genuine interest, people will do your work for you and advocate the advantages of your brand better than any Press-release or ad can.
Bob Pearson, an inspiring professional with impressive past in Novartis and Dell, offers you his insights on the new status quo with a witty and straightforward approach to facts (plus an analysis of some less obvious processes under the surface of today’s corporate trends). He calls this new stage of commercial interactions Pre-Commerce, because the most important decision taken by customers now are taken long before the actual purchase of the product. Reaching out to people at the time of purchase is already too late. Buying a product is now the very final stage of many virtual steps before that: online research, price comparison, reading of ratings/product reviews and trying to sieve through the countless user opinions and feedback available on the Internet. The 4 Ps of marketing are now replaced by the 4 As: Awareness, Assessment, Action, Ambassadors: four newly emerged business guidance concepts, that the book dives deeply into.
In essence the point is that companies need to attract attention in the pre-commerce stage, to know how and why social media conversations affect people’s perceptions and ultimately: to affect this process positively by reaching pro-actively to the people who drive online conversations. These people are the Influencers and they are not the marketing experts or sales executives in your company. They are active young bloggers, sport fans, housewives, mothers: anyone passionate about the type of products you sell, who is outspoken about his interests and has gained an online reputation among people with similar tastes. People trust their peers, they trust someone with a human face and name who can stand behind his words better than a billboard or an advertising slogan can.
Social media has given people access to these important peer opinions and there is no turning back now. But instead of an obstacle this could be in fact a powerful advantage for you and your company if you act now. Inspired by our work partnership with WCG, Bob’s workplace, here at Perceptica, we strive for the best ways to gain insight into the everchanging Pre-commerce world.
Would you like to know more? Feel free to contact us with questions or leave your thoughts and remarks below.