Thursday, August 28, 2008

Customers - a definition of a developing breed

Throughout this blog I refer to 'customers' as the main people that companies should:
  • engage with
  • worry about
  • communicate with
  • listen to, etc.
Yes, I could have used others, such as:
  • Readers
    (if you have a subscription model that actually works or another model that makes money)
  • Staff
    (if your target audience in internal
  • Shareholders
  • Leads / Prospects
    (if your target is aquisitional)
  • and a bunch of others....

But I've use this term mainly because its simple, is the one I use most commonly and also the one you're most likely to try to engage and influence. Also according to last week's IMRG statistics, online sales are still showing double-digit growth, so its probably no a bad thing to give them a high business priority right now.

However, the internet has done more than simply change the way users experience and swap information, its created a new type of customer. To quote Alex Jefferies of Aberdeen Group in his recent report on Customer 2.0:

These customers expect to interact with peers and businesses when they want, how
they want, and in the channel of their choosing.

There's no longer the chance to turn a blind eye to this developing type of consumer. They have: an opinion, a voice and increasingly have the power to wield it. The company that doesn't facilitate and listen to all these touchpoints may find the conversation going on without them.

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