There has been a growing sensation of consumers to use their shopping baskets to drive their point home, about the products or services that they are spending their money on. This increasing tide of these consumers is making companies respond by increasing have to watch every consumer’s steps. Consumer power can be defined as the collective influence consumers can have on an industry locally or internationally. The consumers can exert their power upon the industry by lobbying, letter writing, or boycotting.
Hughes, &, Allen, (173–183) argue that Companies which wish to remain in business must consider the customers as partners in business. To equally compete for the market share, they must continually adapt their policies and working methodologies as they respond to the ever-changing demands of the consumers. When consumers feel strongly about a particular issue in relation to a product or service, they may stop using the product or stop interacting with the business. They generally form consumer pressure groups such as Greenpeace, The National Consumer Council, Friends of the earth, and the Fair Trade Federation, to actively lobby businesses and governments to convince them to change their policies and procedures. Consumer power thus makes companies and businesses to react positively to social and environmental responsibilities. There is a general trend of marketers shifting their marketing management strategies to developing markets, therefore, advertisement agencies and other marketing organisations must follow suit
Crowned at Last
In the ever-changing market place, consumers have the power to choose the types of products and services they want as never before. Businesses always have the quote that the customers come first, and therefore, is the king, or is the reason why the business is in existence. The advertising industry has responded to this paradigm by producing advertisements that are very creative and entertaining. The question most market researchers or market insight analyst ask is whether this advertisement translates into improved sales (Welford, 1-7).
The new trends in consumer power have changed the shopping landscape worldwide, with the consumers having the capability of obtaining information about whatever they need, whenever they want it, and this has given buyers unprecedented power. In markets that are highly transparent in pricing, the consumers surely have been crowned. Today’s consumers are not just influenced by the advertisements they see before they buy any product or service, they want to see exactly what the product or service package covers, and to refer to what other users are commenting on their proposed purchase. Marketing, advertising, and communications firms must come up with innovative ways to promote their products and services if they hope to pass the right message home, as the consumers are becoming increasingly empowered (Tapper, 351-366).
Most companies in the United States are still mainly focused on business footprint and management structure. This needs to change and marketers should adapt appropriately. Consumer power is highly related to consumer protection laws. Marketers should deliver advertisements that that are transparent on the pricing, quality, and product information. In developing new ways of behavioural targeting, advertisements should be relevant to groups of consumers with a common interest, and as the world is becoming more and more digital, many consumers are able to access not only the sales blurb but also how other consumers are viewing the product or service. The growing consumer power is evident from the fact that customers are spending more time with a variety of media, and measuring the effectiveness of advertisement efforts easy. Marketers must catch up with the new media (Azamat, 377-386).
Warfare in the Aisles
Competition is getting stiffer among the variety of products and services available for the consumers to choose from. Competition has given rise to state on the consumer that he or she gets confused at what they want, depending on the many brands or a variety of the product or service that they might require. For example in supermarkets, the so many items on offer are so jumbled up that a customer cannot really find what he or she is looking for. Considering TVs available, there are so many High Definition TVs that the consumers get confused at the wide choices they have. With immense levels of choice and information available, shoppers cannot just ignore brands, as much as they need to make purely rational, economic decisions on the items they want to purchase. Brands offer trust, and companies should invest more in brands because consumers are shifting their interests from traditional media like TV, radio, print, and other forms of promotions (Ritzer, 193−209)
Man’s Best friend
The mobile phone has replaced the dog as the man’s best friend, and mobile telephony has become a powerful marketing medium, as more and more people getting access to them. Mobile media consumption is likely to overrule many marketing assumptions. Therefore mobile marketing advertisement must evolve with the changing mobile media consumption. Given that mobile phones are a very personal gadget, mobile platform marketers must be very respectful to mobile users and their time, demonstrating consumer power. The service providers should not let annoying advertisements reach consumers (Kotler, & Lee, 2006).
Automobile manufacturers have realized that the website has become a core part of doing business with customers, and therefore, all their advertisements provide their website addresses. Websites are more effective than TV advertisements since the internet can hold customers attention for more time than a few seconds that TV advertisements provide. Many customers are using the internet to plan their purchases, and thus marketers should adopt from using traditional media such as television, print, or outdoor advertisement. A website can be equated to a living brochure, many car dealers have resisted giving consumers the power to road test, perform vehicle comparisons, check trade-in values, and compare average selling prices. The consumers now have the power to do this online (Miller, 589–598).
The advertisement landscape has changed over the period, now it has to be a variety of different things to different people. The advertising industry has changed the rules, such as previously they used to publish the top advertisements houses, but now they include creative side variables such as expertise in various related disciplines, interactive advertising, direct marketing, and public relations. Most networked media will be applying internet-based technologies and protocols. This will improve the consumer experience with advertising. The consumer has been crowned since he or she does not want to be bombarded by numerous advertisements, and on the other hand, measuring the return on investment in advertisements is not easy.
Buying the Future
Now that the customers have the consumer power, the question remains on how they will apply the acquired power. Consumer power has been beefed up by a myriad of legislation such as the consumer protection laws. There is so much information available for the consumers, and the internet makes it easy for consumers to discover what they need, and who is offering the best deal where. This shift of power has been brought about by competition (Ajzen, 665-68).
E-commerce is growing tremendously fast globally, and spending patterns on the internet nearly resembles street hawking. Having achieved this power, the consumers will not let it go easily, this will, in turn, lead to more market fragmentation, consumer’s wants will be more diversified, consumer sophistication will continue to grow, and their empowerment will continue. Advertisers will also have to change with the changing consumer preferences, and they may need permission to let their advertisement s reach individual consumers, and offer more incentives such as attractive bargains.
Consumers will remain the King, and so consumer power will continue to evolve in mundane ways. The consumer may decide not to watch Super Bowl on TV, which offers very expensive advertisement rates for producers. As the media becomes more interactive, will give the consumers more power of choice on what they want to consume. So advertisements must adapt to be more relevant, educative, and make advertising optional. Consumer power will definitely influence the prices charged on products and services and will encourage innovation and product development.
Ajzen I. Perceived Behavioural control, self-efficacy, locus of control, and the Theory of Planned Behaviour. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol., 32: 665-68. (2002).Print
Kotler P, Lee N (2006). Corporate social responsibility: doing the most good for your company and your cause. Hoboken: John Wiley. Print
Miller G. Corporate responsibility in the UK tourism industry. Tourism Manage., 22(6): 589– 598. (2001).
Ritzer M. Rethinking globalization: Glocalization/ globalization and something/ nothing. Soc. Theor., 21(3): 193−209. (2003).
Azamat F. Exploring the social responsibility of immigrant entrepreneurs: do home country contextual factors play a role? Eur. Manage. J., 28(5): 377-386. (2010).
Tapper R. Tourism and Socio-economic Development: UK Tour-Operators’ Business Approaches in the Context of the New International Agenda. Int. J. Tourism Res., 3: 351- 366. (2001).
Hughes H, &, Allen D. Cultural tourism in Central and Eastern Europe: the views of ‘induced image formation agents’. Tourism Manag., 26: 173–183. (2005).
Welford R.Globalization, corporate social responsibility and human rights. Corp. Soc. Responsib. Environ. Manage. 9(1): 1-7. (2002).
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