Online media has lead to an online community that comprises of various demographics such as age, location, interests, opinions and personalities. Companies attempt to communicate with them as one target group and start bombarding campaigns without comprehending specific needs of each one, which in turn, can be seriously consequential in the future. To resolve this, companies can address this issue by communicating “smartly” in a connected, yet dispersed world.
From debates in coffee houses to a closely wired world, progress in media communication has been exemplary. Contemporary media has connected people together on a mass-scale, giving them a voice that can be communicated over the virtual sphere autonomously, thereby bypassing the monopoly of traditional mass media. As a result, more people are embarking on the engaging conversation train. An interesting phenomenon that has emerged is how individuals form groups in the online world. Just like nodes are arranged in a network to form different topologies, these individuals have assimilated characteristics of the former and have clustered in increasingly different groups. This status-quo has experienced compassion by companies in the revenue generation sense as individuals are treated as a single target group when in fact it comprises of diverse demographics. Companies often overlook this aspect and the potential consequences when attempting to communicate with them. These consequences entail the strong deviation between the needs of these consumers groups where interests, opinions and personalities are determining factors in the offer development process. As of note, companies face the dilemma of not having significant hard principles to rely upon as in how to effectively consume the benefits of online media, this part of the strategic spectrum is not given due relevance. Hence, it is important to plan a communication plan which mitigate potential risks, creates consumer value by understanding specific consumer needs so as to trigger positive emotions and secure long term customer loyalty.
Nowadays, companies are compelled to tailor offerings according to consumer needs. Nonetheless, they face shortcomings due to the improper communication. The first step is to attain effective communication between both entities and accepting different target groups over the “dispersed” social sphere. This will allow companies to understand their position how an offering on demand can be tailored to achieve a worthy fit. In addition, core values of a company will unfold in effortless fashion which will bring elements such as brand image, prospective brand positioning and offer development process to the forefront in new dimensions. This can ease strategic decision making, draw constructive conclusions and allow a company to remain aligned with core values and ambitions from a consumer perspective. Given the projection that by the end of 2011, Facebook will reach 1 billion registered users (Zuckerberg, M., 2010), it is likely that the different consumer groups are only going to increase. Therefore, it is crucial for advertising agencies, communication agencies and companies to gather on one platform to roll out engaging communication plans that will target audiences “smartly” and remain aligned with the core values of a company to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.
Friends with Benefits – Maximum Yield, Competitive Advantage
Accomplishing the above will assist companies to identify specific target audiences, enjoy a fruitful relationship with consumers and sustain their brand image and brand positioning without having to spend additional resources. Secondly, it will bring companies, advertising and communication agencies together which would allow them to share resources and share risks a win-win situation. Finally, it will allow companies to target wisely and in retrospect, tailor customized offerings that create value, which will ultimately become their source of competitive advantage.