Information monopolies and customer empowerment in the digital economy

01.08.16 08:02 AM By S.Swaminathan

Recently, I got a news alert on a topic that I was interested. When I clicked on it, I got this message below:

Restrict

I was extremely perturbed as I was not expecting a pop-up message like this, as I really wanted to control the choice of ads from my side, to decide whether I wanted to see any ad or not. I really didn't care, I found an alternative source for the same information and got to read it.

What I having been observing is that businesses still follow 20th century marketing models which I strongly believe does not work in the new emerging digital ecosystem.  Also, marketing of yesteryears was about "pushing" messages but marketing of the future is about managing and engaging empowered customers who decide to "pull" and then engage with the message or not.

Information monopolies & interruption marketers really don't work that way. They believe now with digital, they have captive customers looking into their home screens and they can apply the same old world marketing principles. Those principles don't work any more. The TV remote/Set-top boxes changed the way customers started viewing television programs & skipping marketing messages. In the digital world, the quick switch to a new page or clicking a skip button makes marketing messages a blind spot even more. 

The Consumer Decision Journey is changing

In an interesting article, Jack Loechner, Editor of Centre of Media research, writes "Marketing has always sought those moments, or touch points, when consumers are open to influence....Marketers have learned to “push” marketing toward consumers at each stage of the funnel process to influence their behavior. But the qualitative and quantitative research in the automobile, skin care, insurance, consumer electronics, and mobile-telecom industries shows that something quite different now occurs..."  Information Monopolies  & marketers need to learn and adapt to this new paradigm.

Publishers need to look at themselves thro' a new lens

More recently, a leading Privacy advocate Alexander Hanff  led a revolt against publishers which caught the attention of European regulators. And he outlines possible ways in which publishers, of course with the support of marketers, how they need to change their approach.

Information monopolies should work closely with marketers and build a transparent dialog platform to engage with these new informed, empowered customers in the digital economy. They need to move away from "message  & influence" mindset to a "inform & dialog" mindset. It requires not a "Talk down" approach but a "Listen-up" approach.

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