Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Where tomorrow‘s customers will place their trust.

One thing is clear: mass marketing has had its day. For decades people have consumed what they learned about through the constant barrage of advertising – and what was available in the shops. Retailers stripped their shelves of everything that only sold occasionally, in order to free up valuable shelf space for the real top sellers.

That is all in the past. In the new online economy of the “long tail”, providers increasingly earn their money with niche products. Thanks to limited costs for storage and for the “showroom”, it is well worth their while to offer the unusual and the quirky as well.

Consumers like niches. They no longer want to be one of the masses; they want to own things that are rare and unusual. Small groups of aficionados grow up – “social networks”, which replace the mainstream as a peer group.

These networks take over the job of communication. Information about “cool” new offers travels round in no time. Providers who want to be noticed in increasingly fragmented markets must therefore make themselves visible in these circles.

The explosion of choice makes heavy demands on consumers. To reduce the flood of information, they go along with a calculated risk: they trust the recommendations and tips of others. They increasingly take decisions for emotional rather than objective, factual reasons.

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