Sunday, December 27, 2009

Human Universals vs Plurals in the 2.0 paradigm

The word xxx 2.0 ( call it Web 2.0 or any 2.0) is turning out to be truly fascinating as any form of 2.0 has given the power to the consumer.Let me quote examples from Bernie's book on Marketing 2.0:

Music 1.0: audio cassettes and tapes with content given by music power houses
Music 2.0: Music downloaded from iTunes, Napster and passed on to peers

Encyclopedia 1.0: purchased as 15 volumes of books
Encyclopedia 2.0:content generated by users and millions of pages available freely over the Internet as Wikipedia
and so does many things like software 2.0, sales 2.0 so on and so forth. What about markets,celebrities and consumers? Why not this argot of 2.0 be applied to them?

Few things that prompted me to take this topic:

1. Malcolm Gladwell's reference to Universals and Plurals in the world of mustards and Ketchups

2. Marketers shift to micro Markets over traditional Mass Markets

3. Emergence of Social Influence:"Not just friends, but friendsters, will start to matter" - Shiv Singh's reference to this term in is article titled "Trends in Social Influence Marketing"

What is wrong with the conventional marketing approach and will it sustain in the new 2.0 paradigm?

The conventional marketing is pretty much top down and approached as mass markets( markets 1.0) .This approach worked in the past as humans were/are perceived to be universals and homogeneous ( consumer 1.0)in thought process and buying behavior.Mass media is used to reach out to the customers and celebrities are used to break clutter in media and achieve AIDA (advertising model). But consumers have more choices be it the plethora of media or number of products available to address their needs and wants.This leads to possibly couple of inferences

1. With increase in disposable incomes and growing choices, consumers preferences are getting to be much more granular and niche. Ex:Consumers preferences have moved from strong coffees to cappuccino, espresso to cappuccino made from organic milk and natural sugar.Companies are moving away from demographic based targeting to more behavioral targeting. This has led to micro markets( Market 2.0). There are no more homogeneous universal products but plurals.

2.In the 1.0 paradigm, marketers interrupt the consumer than interact.The interruption was through a celebrity or a company speak to a consumer through a one-way communication channel.This has lead to discrimination of marketing messages by consumers. In an era of social graphs, consumers now tend to look up to their friends/friendsters( celebrity 2.0) in interactive channels for authentic recommendations than the celebrities used by conventional marketeres.Authenticity trumps celebrity.

3.With increased penetration of social networks,consumer clustering has moved away from demographics to behavioral( consumer 2.0). Groups formed on Facebook,Twitter and other social networks based on affinity are a good example of this fact.

While I say it is a fact, most success stories are rationalization of events/facts or as Steve Jobs calls it as connecting the dots backwards. Otherwise how can Heinz, in 2.0 paradigm, still defy the theory of plurals and continue to be a universal product.A Ketchup which is sweet,salt, sour, bitter and umami yet appeal to the mass. Guess thats what makes consumer insights a complex yet interesting area to explore.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Zero to 60: Ford's Social Media Story

Check out this SlideShare Presentation: