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In an era of mobile web, tablets, social networks and connected devices (some call this the Internet of things), the consumer is spoiled for choice with ways to interact with brands. Where, when and how? He sets the rules.
The time of the unidirectional broadcast message the consumer had to believe in is simply gone. Today the consumer chooses online a brand, a product and the retailer. Alternatively he does "showrooming" by visiting a "brick" store and being pitched by a vendor. And without leaving the store, he checks another retailer website on his smartphone and compares the price.
Today in the US, Best Buy main competitor is….Amazon!
And of course, during the purchase process, he will have used his Facebook network by asking friends their opinion … All these new behaviours deeply disrupt traditional marketing techniques. They force brands and advertisers to transparency, to a form of humility that sometimes, they are not accustomed to. Some, advised by their agency, react by hiring a community manager, develop some Facebook pages, and launch Twitter accounts, etc…But most of the time it's a reaction not a strategy.
And that's wrong because this hyper-technological world, also means fantastic opportunities for advertisers. Tumblr, Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook ... all these services represent valuable ways to engage on a long term duration with the market. Valuable touchpoints to collect data and extend your knowledge about your consumers.
This myriad of mobile applications, social networks, mobile sites we're living in, is each brand new marketing paradigm. Marketers and advertisers have to learn how to deal with it. And beware…it's constantly changing!
This is what we call an ecosystem of touchpoints
This moving ecosystem, if properly managed, can be incredibly useful for the brands.
In terms of reputation first: today brands must constantly monitor their image and even more their perception in the market. And then they can on a daily basis gather plenty of qualified and quantified inputs to better understand consumer needs, and expectations.
If many marketers, helped by their agencies, are trying to set up their own ecosystem by combining mobile, social tools, web and data collection networks. Few succeed.
I chose to present 4 recent examples with distinct social, interactive and mobile components.
These four examples have several things in common. They all blend creativity, risk, a strong implication of the end users and a lot of technology.
So what can we learn?