Endorsements and paid reviews aren’t as powerful as what the Joneses next door feel about their outdoor patio pool, a maxim that has held true for marketers. But the top-down model where nuggets of truth related to a product can be hidden just doesn’t work anymore.
The consumer base has never been a homogenous entity that can be considered to have a singular set of traits that define its preferences and purchasing habits.
But generations do. And as technology grows and develops, and advancements are made in communication and transportation, certain habits arise with more ubiquity than others.
The words that define purchasing trends right now are accessibility, personalization, interactivity, and speed. We’re going to go out on a limb and include organic, and not just for food.
From soup to nuts and everything in between, people want transparency and they want to know how things work. And if these aren’t easily provided, then the consumers will find a way to access the information they’re looking for.
"Googling" isn’t just a fun verb or a trend. It’s the first step for a consumer – you and us included – to become more informed before making any purchasing decisions, from a house to a car to event he restaurant we’re going to spend an evening at.
However, people want more. Take, for instance, Generation Z – the 90’s generation – aren’t pack rats as much as they are curators who love to share. For Generation Z, a music album is not as worthy an investment as the hottest new single on the charts. And they love to talk about the things they love.
They share, they “like”, they retweet and they “check-in” at an almost feverish pitch. Hence the growing popularity of consumer review websites like Urbanspoon and Yelp. The good, the bad, the ugly – it’s all out there to be shared amongst peers who also double as opinion leaders in their own circles.
Certainly, marketing efforts are being shaped by the new consumers who are aware of their choices, have discerning tastes and know exactly what they want. And they’re not afraid to talk about it.