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December 16, 2021

Embracing the Customer Era

Customer Age

Customer Age

What do we understand by “Customer Age”? This term describes the latest in a series of changes that shape the business environment. The Production Era (1900 to 1960) supported companies such as Boeing and Ford, the Information Age (1990 to 2010) favored organizations that controlled the flow of information, such as Google.

Around 2010, we entered the Customer Era. The widespread use of mobile devices, all connected to each other via the internet and social media, gives today's audience unprecedented power. Most of us research a product and compare it with various alternatives before we buy it, we have access to articles that explain how it's produced, we read reviews and reviews from other consumers, we look for the best option that combines quality, service and price.

Prior to this explosion of connectivity, the brand controlled most of the information about the offering, whether it was a product or a service. If we wanted to know the opinion of previous buyers we would have to seek them out and question them directly. An impossible task given such a waste of time and associated costs.

The widespread use of the Internet means that we all have more or less equal access to consumers. Large corporations used to pay millions to produce advertising campaigns and buy airtime to market their products or services. Now a small craft brewery can compete with a Heineken.

The interaction in the social networks it also allows quality to reach the top of the media agenda. If the product and service are good, chances are that the public will recognize it and talk about it, resulting in excellent marketing mouth-to-mouth and a recommendation effect. It is no longer necessary to have a large marketing budget to promote a brand.

The computing power that allows today's audiences to control the market can also help brands reach new heights of customer service and responsiveness. Consumers are increasingly willing to share their data if it means better service. With the right tools, a marketing or sales team can have a complete, omni-channel customer database that supports a multitude of devices and channels.

O omnichannel became a priority. Customers today come into contact with a brand through a variety of channels – smartphone, social media, chat, email – and will feel frustrated and annoyed if they have to repeat themselves frequently or wait too long for an answer.

In a way, business has always been about building a relationship, and the Customer Era hasn't changed that. Most customers assume that it is absolutely critical to have a sales representative who acts as a trusted advisor. It is not about making a quick sale, but acting in order to promote customer loyalty, anticipating their needs and responding appropriately to them.

The emergence of analysis of big data makes it easy to assemble this answer for customers. Instead of pitching the same strategy to everyone and “hoping for the best”, brands can create marketing campaigns for each customer segment, or even for individual customers. It becomes possible to create personalized offers and study buying trends to determine what, where, when, why e and customers will make a decision.

The Customer Era presents itself as a major market disruptor, but the most agile brands capable of adapting to changes may come to occupy a more advantageous position. With a vision for the future that makes use of technology-driven innovation to deliver personalized answers, despite the uncertainty, success appears to be closer.

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