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Men build too many walls and not enough bridgesIsaac Newton

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The future of marketing

The future of marketing

The Internet has dramatically changed the way consumers make buying decisions. In the age of the web consumer, what are the new influence drivers marketing can use?


The environment in which consumers make buying decisions has been completely transformed by the Internet and mobile applications, which provide easy access to price comparison sites, user product rankings, expert recommendations, opinions of contacts on social networks, etc. Today, consumers have almost unlimited access to information about the products offered to them. They can thus easily anticipate the actual quality of the product or the experience they can expect and are no longer dependent solely on the information provided by the manufacturer or supplier. Sites such as TripAdvisor and Expedia, for example, have a greater influence nowadays than the brand on the choice of a hotel.

Easier access to information greatly affects how consumers make their buying decisions. They used to rely heavily on their past experiences, brand reputation or information emphasized by the company in its ads, packaging or sales outlets. Today, buyers now make decisions based mainly on information not provided by the seller. A 2011 Google study of 5,000 buyers of twelve product types, from groceries to cars to insurance, observes that consumers consult no less than ten sources of information on average before completing a purchase! When questioned about the factors that most influence their decision, they put “online search,” “speak with family/friends” and “compare with other products” at the top of the list. “See an ad on TV or in the paper” and “look at packaging on a store shelf” continue to have an influence, albeit much smaller.

This phenomenon is rising as consumers, not content merely to use readily available information, have begun to rank and comment actively on their own purchases. How can companies promote their products and services in this new world? Much like a kick shot in a game of billiards, the most effective strategy may not necessarily be to reach out to consumers directly, but to work to understand them better and speak to them through the “third party venues” that they frequent—particularly online.

In this synopsis:
- Capitalize on what people say about your brand on the Internet
- Five new influence drivers of marketing
- How Internet-dependent are your consumers?

Synopsis n.236b