What on earth is a prosumer? It sounds like it might refer to someone following the latest Neanderthal diet or positive psychology programme, but it may well describe you. The term was coined by Alvin Toffer in his 1980 book The Third Wave to describe someone who is both a 'consumer' and a 'professional' or 'producer': essentially, 'consumers unusually interested in [certain] products'. Essentially, people who are evangelical about, and valuable to, their chosen brands.
It's not hard to see why the term is gaining new resonance. It has cropped up in blogs from the likes of Sparked, it is the subject of a recent American Behavioural Scientist paper, 'The Coming of Age of the Prosumer', and it has been fuelled by recent studies suggesting that social media fans not only talk more about brands, but buy more from them too. Consider Forrester's findings that Facebook fans are 79% more likely to purchase and 36% more likely to recommend brands than non-fans.
Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them... like the spurious authority of numbers.
The other day we did something we hadn't done for a very long time. A young client, new to quantitative testing, asked us to go through his pre-testing questionnaire for a proposed new ad. Did it cover the issues he was interested in he wondered?
It was an illuminating and faintly horrifying exercise. Like most people in this business, we spend a lot of time in advertising research debrief meetings. Slick PowerPoint charts flash up, the numbers looking scientific, authoritative and objective. But peer behind the curtain, and things look much less impressive.
For a start, if this was real science, researchers would be trying hard to replicate real viewing conditions. But our questionnaire research scenario bore no resemblance to real life watching. The ad was an animatic not a real ad, which respondents were to watch on their computer, alone and paying close attention to. Some would be invited to film themselves on their webcams – the mechanics of this making the situation even more odd, with respondents instructed as to how to sit, arrange their hair and acceptable lighting conditions. Real people, meanwhile, watch ads in distracted, 'lean back' mode, wearing onesies, relaxing with their families.
Ever tried haggling in a high street shop? If you’re British, the chances are you’d see it as being a bit beneath you – embarrassing, even. Some might have a go on holiday, in Morocco or Egypt, and enjoy the excitement of feeling they got their money’s worth by the grit of their innate bargaining powers, but it’s a novelty experience most would leave at the airport.
Not any more. RAPP, the customer experience agency, today presented the latest findings from its on-going Opportunities in Austerity research. The results show that British citizens are embracing the idea of becoming bargain hungry, discerning shoppers, and some brands are flourishing by helping them along.
Big Data Week - billed as a global platform of interconnected community events - is taking place in London this week. The event's goal is to explore the challenges and opportunities of managing and utilising Big Data. I attended a presentation in London yesterday morning, hosted by FreshNetworks, a social business consultancy, which posed the question: "Will customers kill off Big Data?"
Of course, Big Data is a much-used term with a variety of definitions. But according to Paul Oram, Chief Technical Officer at Fresh Networks, it's all about the 4 Vs: Volume, Velocity, Variety and Veracity.
I have just finished Week 4 of the Ariely/ Duke University online course on Behavioural Economics (http://bit.ly/134WRDq) The last 6 days have been all about "Labour & Motivation" - particularly relevant for those of us in gainful employment.
was extremly interesting, if pretty hard work - maybe I'm just feeling
the pain a little after four weeks of evening and weekend study; or
perhaps the topic was chosen deliberately to test our desire and will
Yes, we know that there are differences between a dedicated e-reader and a tablet. And if absolutely forced, consumers will acknowledge the differences too. But ultimately that's not really what consumers focus upon. In the hearts and minds of consumers it works out to a kind of 'meet-my-expectations-stupid' paradigm, and articulated or not, shrinking sizes and prices of 'full-featured tablets,' are managing to better meet customer expectations and are, thus, raising questions as to the viability of devices upon which one can only read a book.
Have you been watching the brilliant BBC Horizon programmes in the last few months? Two episodes in particular, 'The Creative Brain: How Insight Works' and 'The Age of Big Data' were fascinating, and surely compulsory viewing for any Marketer – check out BBC iPlayer or YouTube.
These episodes got me thinking about the absolute necessity to create the quality thinking time that many marketers that we work with complain about not having. There seems to be so much process, individual form filling and 'just doing' going on that there's less and less time to actually use your brain and think. Templates designed to capture great thinking and provide clarity of direction are getting delegated due to a lack of time or relevance and can turn into a shallow box filling exercise (or copying and pasting from last time) just to get the job off the 'To Do' list.
Customer service has been one of the earliest and most tangible areas in which businesses have achieved social media success. This is partly because the contract between brand and customer is so clear: 'we are using this channel to answer your questions and fix your problems, not to make you love us by sharing photos of our office pets.' Best Buy, KLM, Eurail and T-Mobile USA are some pack leaders, and for a glimpse at how much effort is ploughed into this field, look at the Social Bakers' Socially Devoted website, which ranks industry leaders on their social care.
But social care takes a lot of resources, training, listening, flexibility, inter-organisational communication and employee autonomy to reap results. Many companies may actually be damaging their reputations by failing to deliver on their dedicated social presences. So has social CS become a must for any future-proof business? Or is it a marketing hybrid too far?
I've recently completed the 2nd Week of my online course on Behavioural Economics given by the renowned Dan Ariely. Week two was all about "The Psychology of Money". (You can read about the first week of the course here.)
What did I learn? Here's a short summary, aided by a few refresher views of the relevant Lecture sessions.
Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like ignoring the 'still' majority.
We attended a conference by Thinkbox (the UK body responsible for TV advertising) the other week. There were a number of great speakers and an interesting session at the end giving useful facts on the current state of the UK TV market.
One headline struck us as particularly fascinating: 90% of all TV programmes are still watched live. When you consider how much TV technology has changed, this is quite remarkable. Despite on-demand viewing, digital recording and the ever-growing range of devices that TV' can now be viewed on, people still mostly choose to watch TV in the good old- fashioned way.