Future Marketing Thoughts From Forrester’s Consumer Form

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A couple weeks ago I spoke on a Word of Mouth panel at Forrester’s annual Consumer Forum in Chicago. Attendees were senior marketers, online/ecommerce executives, and CMOs.

The theme was "Humanizing the Digital Experience". The tracks were:

  • Experience-based Differentiation
  • Devices Everwhere
  • Next Generation Branding
  • Social Computing

I don’t really like "Social Computing"…but you can pretty much pick the term you like:

  • Long Tail
  • Folksonomy
  • Word of Mouth
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Prosumerism
  • P2P Marketing
  • C2C Marketing
  • Listenomics
  • Social Media
  • Social Computing
  • Social Networking
  • Citizen Marketing
  • Open Source Marketing
  • User Generated Content
  • Customer Created Content
  • Consumer Generated Media

To me all these underscore the same theme: Consumers are in more control than ever (their voices are amplified) and they are taking a bigger role in creating the consumer experience and content.

As part of  Forrester’s follow up they posted all of the presentations here, host a blog here (here’s the summary of my panel), and are hosting an open Wiki here.

Here are some of the themes from the conference, a la their wiki:

  • YouTube things are going to happen.
  • How do you set standards that define your brand as you want?
  • The product must speak for itself.
  • Listen to what’s out there and understanding the negative and positive. Research cost benefits, insight methods.
  • Blogs as a tool for brand analysis. Chance to engage pissed off customers.
  • Chevy Tahoe Apprentice—create your own ad. Environmentalists were creating bad ones. The world didn’t end.It blew over.
  • Most of the discussion about the brand is actually positive or neutral.
  • Perception among CEOs is that blogs are about ranting and complaining.
  • Even negative comments are refuted by customers.
  • “Illusion that you have control”—we never had control!
  • Just do it—dive in, don’t ask for permission
  • Loss of control will get even worse—marketers need to be prepared for it.
  • Closed groups will be popular.Harder to reach these people.

To me, all this means if you have a great company, great products, great service…this is a great time to be in business!

One Response

  1. Marla says:

    “if you have a great company, great products, great service…this is a great time to be in business!”
    I would think this is true, but it still feels like the companies with the most marketing dollars have the advantage.
    My husband has spent the past year trying to create the ultimate “user generated content” product information site with the hope that WOM would generate a good amount of traffic. It made sense to create a website for doing neutral cross product comparisons since it appeared that everyone uses the internet as a tool for product research. Consumers should be in control and you say that they are “in control more than ever.” We have created a website (www.product4me.com) with that philosophy in mind but without more marketing dollars I am afraid we will not survive and the companies that are trying to manipulate users into purchasing products that may not necessarily be the best choice for them will still win because they have the largest marketing budget.
    This leaves me wondering “will consumers ever really be in control!?”

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