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Now that technology (specifically the internet) has democratized the world of content, everyone can contribute and it’s created a wild and wonderful digital world. It’s also changed the way we learn about products and services before we make our buying decisions. Before the age of bloggers, influencers and content marketing, we went to a store to talk to a paid subject matter expert, or we listened to one on a commercial or infomercial. Now, we turn to the internet for product information, reviews, and videos of people using it, before we buy it.
We don’t just learn from the companies, the bloggers and influencers any more. Technology has also made it much easier for us to contact and connect with the companies who make the products and offer the services that we purchase. Now, we can actually influence the process and as it happens, the end result.
Technology has enabled us to make the switch from consumers, to prosumers. The term prosumer is gaining traction and there’s a good chance, that if you serve as an innovation officer or spend your days in a C level suite, you’ve heard it a good bit. That’s because our customers are now telling us what products they want - effectively taking over the steering wheel and driving our business…if we let them. And why not?
It sounds scary, yes. Letting your customers dictate the direction in which your company is heading, but if you don’t let them take you where they want you to go, they’ll go to someone else who will. In a previous post we talked about the Economy of Innovation. In this economy, companies no longer can continuously make small changes to stay in business. Now, companies must make large scale, innovative changes to stay relevant, and meet the changing needs and desires of prosumers. These innovations have been dubbed “Killer Innovations” by experts like Phil McKinney.
Involving your prosumers in these change discussions, is a great way to ensure that you are headed in the right direction, the direction in which they want you to travel.
In the next post, we’ll take a look at safe ways that you can incorporate your prosumers into your change discussions, to reap the benefits without the risks.