In today's ever-changing, increasingly interactive media world, marketers are captivated by a new business buzzword: "consumer-generated content."
While word-of-mouth has always been powerful, consumer-accessible technology (the Internet, podcasting, video production, social networks, etc.) puts it on steroids.
Success in this new world order requires marketers to develop a new perspective, a new skill set, and a new role in consumers' lives.
Those who do will be hailed as tomorrow's marketing innovators. Those who don't will be labeled with the dreaded T-word: "traditional."
The Age of Co-Creation
In the future, our job as marketers will be, dare I say, to collaborate with our consumers and co-create marketing content—to co-design the brand experience in all its forms. For those who can loosen their grip on their brands and go boldly, openly, and honestly into a true partnership with their consumers, amazing relationships will blossom.
This paradigm change will not be without perils and pitfalls. Marketers' tendencies to manipulate consumers will be met with disdain and distrust (and disseminated rapidly via the Web), but those willing to hear the bad with the good and empower consumers to express themselves, regardless of the consumers' views, will be rewarded with preference and loyalty.
Successful practitioners of co-creation will bridge the divide between skeptical consumers and the once impervious, impenetrable corporation.
Earl Cox (Earl.Cox@Martinagency.com), partner and Chief Strategy Officer at The Martin Agency, is recognized as one of the leaders of the US account planning movement.