Self-educating consumers represent a new challenge — and a new opportunity.
Consumers are increasingly using online resources to do their homework, relying less on paid and earned media as trusted sources. This presents the challenge of getting your message to target audiences in ways they view as credible.
This challenge exists as more companies and organizations are tapping the opportunity latent in their databases of customers, contacts, stakeholders and employees. These databases represent a built-in opportunity to start engaging target audiences.
The most obvious form of engagement is to query your customers, stakeholders or employees about significant issues. Your questions can make your target audiences partners, not just targets.
Another form of engagement is to help consumers find the quality information they are seeking to make a decision. This may mean websites that aren't electronic sales brochures but more like magazines. The content might include genuine stories that are testimonials to your product, service or responsiveness — what some call brand journalism. Content also might include consumer ratings, safety information or simplified explanations or demonstrations. Most important, the content should answer questions and provide information that is relevant and useful.