New economy: The age of the consumer

Published November 29th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

In the new economy the customer makes the rules. Not only is the customer right, he is also empowered. In the age of the Internet — producers had better listen and listen closely. Markets are no longer driven by what producers choose to make and sell; rather they are determined by what a consumer wants to purchase. The key word is no longer "branding" but "customizing". As a producer, you have to move away from the traditional system of mass production, mass marketing, mass media and even mass distribution.  

 

To build a meaningful brand, the producer has to listen with a great sense of urgency, and sincerity, to his customers — all the customers — or chance losing the enterprise. That is the case because the competition is listening and they are ready to tailor their product to match what has become in a few seconds your ex-customer and, yes, he will be theirs for the taking as long as your competitors are willing to listen and act immediately.  

 

Businesses will use the Internet to listen to their customers. They will find out customer likes and dislikes. They will ask questions and probe politely. They will ask for the customer's permission to use the information. And the customer will more than willingly supply them with the information because he knows that the producers will use the information to add value to their products. In this way the customer gets the product in the fit, shape, color, weight and size he/she desires without a moment's delay.  

 

And this is all happening because the young are now richer, and therefore can afford what they want now! They have little patience for producers not willing to supply exactly what they want, when and how they want it. And to make things worse, competition is a keystroke away — vigilant, watching, analyzing, prodding, offering and capable.  

 

But why does the competition listen so intently? And why should your organization listen even more? Because there is tons of money to be made. Not only because of the young and restless new millionaires but because of something else that is a little less obvious: customized products are not price sensitive. With customization, consumers are willing to pay more for the value added created to satisfy their wants. In addition, with the variety of options available and the wide range of selections that one is offered, one can easily lose the ability to price-compare between products. A brilliant strategy!  

 

Manufacturers, by listening to consumers through the Internet, have managed to tap into the new market and are able to create totally original concepts, such as mass customized products, mass customized marketing, mass customized distribution channels and mass customized media messages.  

 

In this mesh of new approaches, the road to survival is clear: customize your products; personalize your marketing strategy and efforts; never give your customer excuses — your competitor is a click away — and be a fast mover when it comes to change. So what type of manager is needed in the new economy? In this new environment only managers with the ability to thrive in the face of uncertainty will survive. Others will perish by a click of the mouse. — ( Jordan Times )  

 

Yusuf Mansur

© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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