Connected Consumers – An alarming Enemy or Friend?

By – Dr. K. Balanagarajan, Assistant Professor, School of Management, Presidency University


Matching a buyer with a seller is an important task in marketing a product. Consumers search, select, and purchase the products or services that fit their needs. The social media platforms have emerged as one of the driving forces of sharing consumer’s online experiences today. Online conversations about a products or services take place in different forms in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube and so on. Social media and user-generated contents do have a strong influence on brands.

Due to the rise of internet connectivity and use of smart phones, we are all becoming connected. The ways in which people consume information and make decisions are changing. People spend more time online for getting information about the products and services. They lean on user generated experiences for making purchase decisions. The content generated online provides a greater knowledge about products and services to consumers. The consumer generated media has a significant impact on advertising consumer’s trust on word-of-mouth in the decision making process. A survey of more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries by Nielsen’s latest Global Trust Advertising report found that 92 percent of consumers around the world trust recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. 70% of the global consumers surveyed indicate that they trust online consumer reviews, which is the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging. Nearly 58% of the global online consumers trust messages found on company websites, and 50% of them trust email messages that they signed up to receive. On the Web, 40% of respondents rely on ads served at the side of search engine results and 36% trust online video advertisements. Sponsored ads on social networks are credible among 36% of global respondents. The survey results reveal that the consumers look for experiences. For the connected consumers experience is everything. They don’t just surf sites to buy products. They don’t randomly engage in social media sites or every day apps. They actually look for experiences. User generated experience is what they buy, embrace and share. For example: A tweet of a happy consumer expressing the merits of a product or a tweet of an unhappy consumer expressing his dissatisfaction may reach millions of people. Hence, the connected consumers are like double-edged sword. The connected consumer can become an alarming enemy or friend for any organization.

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