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Think of skepticism as a healthy mis-trust, based on a previous bad experience, lack of awareness, or problem that doesn’t seem to have a solution. Then you can see it’s a first step to empowerment and engaging customers.
There’s no better example of that than the continuing global economic crisis.
In his article for EMail Insider, Morgan Stewart, reflects on this consumer attitude that’s front-and-center in the midst of the crisis.
2009 marked a critical year where mass awareness and adoption of social media collided with a global financial crisis. The result? Consumers became more skeptical, conscientious, and empowered— all at the same time.
—Morgan Stewart, Embracing Consumer Skepticism & Empowerment (MediaPost’s Email Insider, 12.09.09)
In this crowdsourced age with so many brands and media platforms crashing and burning, consumers are “empowered” to make direct choices and take greater control of their branded relationships. This includes
- becoming evangelists, whether or not the brand embraces the movement.
- taking their customer care concerns directly to a social network, simply to get noticed.
Think of Lego, for example, that saw users create their own Facebook groups long before the company got on board and created their own fan pages. Find out more in Groundswell the book or blog.
Is skeptic consumer empowerment a new problem calling for new solutions as John Yeck is quoted in The Joy of Copywriting. Or is it a repurposing of relationship building in the Web 2.0 world.
Please add your thoughts:
- As a consumer, has there been a time when your own skepticism about a product, price or media channel led you to make better-informed decisions.
- Or has a lack of skepticism led to disappointment?
- As a marketer, have you embraced the skeptic, cautious consumer in ways that yield short- and long-term results?