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July 4, 2012

Think again: Influential consumer ahead!

Posted by Sandeep Dadlani (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:28 AM

My family, I think, is fairly typical. The wife. Two kids. Four iPads. And, zippy Internet that keeps us all happy and well. That's why, when a friend told me about this new lightning-fast Internet provider, he had my attention instantly.  So, imagine my disappointment when the service provider for the Internet connection told me, that given the terrain where my home is anchored, it wasn't feasible to draw the cable up to my doorstep. But a few days later, I found that a neighbor, two doors away, was using the very same service. A couple of calls and a second evaluation later, the verdict was still the same. No go.

Some years ago, that would have been the end of the matter - disgruntled customer, unconcerned supplier. But my story has a twist. 

I thought to tweet my frustration away. And I did. Just 140 little characters to sum up my thoughts about the Internet service provider in question. After all, I have 40 followers I believed would empathize. Only a couple of hours went by before a representative from a special group from the company called me to understand the exact nature of my request and grievance.  The company's staff, monitoring twitter for sentiments and disgruntled customers, was apparently doing a commendable job.  24 hours later, the terrain had miraculously sorted itself out, and I was a happy subscriber.

This story, and countless others, point to the emergence of a new market superpower - the influencer-consumer. Someone wielding significant influence over friends, followers and even acquaintances....shaping their opinions about brands and experiences. More engaged than a consumer, infinitely more powerful, impossible to ignore. Beyond merely influencing product choice and brand reputation, the influencer consumer can set mass action in motion. Like a Bank Transfer Day or Arab Spring. Disregarding this breed is rather foolhardy.


Just another anecdotal example that underpins the importance of gathering analytics beyond the traditional channels such as websites, mobile properties, etc. Companies that invest in learning and adapting based on customer behavior and feedback will have a competitive advantage going forward.

@ Ajay Jain - Could’nt agree more Ajay. Companies who take efforts to recognize and map the consumer genome based on needs, behaviors, interests, influence, immediate buying history,etc. are more likely to succeed in engaging the digital consumer than others who simply look at demographics, your phone number/address and make offers/decisions. Analytics and recent technological advances have a big role to play in empowering companies to do so.

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