Let’s face it, when everything is said and done it all boils down to people. We put labels on it like B2C, B2B, C2C, Social Media, Web 2.0, and many more. However, when you really look at it all and drill down to the core, it is all P2P – Person-to-Person.
Brands are starting to understand, Marketers are learning quickly, Researchers are catching on and the game has changed. Whether your business is selling to consumers, other businesses, cats or dogs, the bottom line is people. A great item that I saw Gary Vee touch on today was simple, obvious, but compelling – it’s people that make decisions. I told you it is nothing glamorous at first, but think about it. There is a person(s) behind every brand, business, blog and pet. If you truly start to understand and obtain people-based insights you are close to seeing how the game is changing. Consumers and business professionals alike are moving toward this new personal model. Gen X and the Boomers can remember when you used to make a “flyby” to the client, drop in and say hi and walk next door and talk to the neighbors. These same conversations and interactions are occurring now, just in a different arena.
The ones who will truly advance are the ones who can engage in these new digital realms and then transfer that connection into real life – an in-person client meeting, dinning at your restaurant or flying on your airline. That is the new direction and every day companies are beginning to get better at engaging the digital consumer. What does this mean for us as researcher?
First – We must understand the game. How does it work? Who are the players? What are the rules? How do I win? In other words, you need to get past the information search and understanding phase into the application and utilization phases. (This is where you should have an advantage as a researcher) Even if you are not using the social web for research, your clients are beginning to use it in their business and will certainly require you to understand it as a research consultant. Think of it as a new therapeutic category for all of you that are in the Pharma/Healthcare space. We are past “Social Media is Cool,” now we need to look at how and when to leverage its offerings.
Second – Avoid criticizing the unknown! It wasn’t too long ago our industry and clients were skeptical of web-based surveys. One of our Senior Advisors, Dave Gustafson, sold some of the first online work to big pharma companies, their questions – “How do I know the Dr. is really the one taking the survey” and so on and so forth. Now, it is a given and common methodology. The new game is not as simple and trivial as it seems, you need to spend more time online than e-mail, Google maps and airlines to figure it out
Third – Start to understand the younger demographics. Whether you are in B2C or B2B, it is important to understand Gen Y and how they work and interact. These are not just your customers but your colleagues, clients etc. Do your research and do not overlook this group.
The good news is the information is abundant. It is easy to ask questions and as researchers we see exactly what is headed our way and to the market. It is really an exciting time for the research industry as we have many new tools, methods and skills at our fingertips. As our clients start to engage in this new way, it is opportunity for us as researchers to help them along to success.
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