It’s often said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing but that’s not a problem for today’s consumers. According to a new report from IBM, consumers are not only digesting a lot of knowledge; they’re also taking an increasingly analytical approach to it that helps them make more informed decisions.
For doctors, the result is a smart, well-informed aesthetic consumer who gathers information from multiple sources, filters and cross-checks it through additional research and expects providers to treat them accordingly.
In other words, these “analytic consumers” are anything but passive participants who will blindly accept what they’re told from any one source, no matter how knowledgeable that source happens to be:
This research shows that, rather than struggling to deal with information overload, modern consumers are proactively using the abundance of data sources available to them to be more savvy about the decisions they make, says Vivian Braun, consumer analytics expert at IBM.
Among the report’s findings:
- 62% of consumers think the Internet and social media has made decision-making easier than five years ago
- Broadcast media (TV & radio) is on average five times less influential on decision-making than online sources
- Consumers now value online ‘crowd-sourced’ word-of-mouth – such as opinions on review sites – as much as the opinions of friends and family
Furthermore, notes the report, the trend is only going to accelerate as younger consumers play an ever-larger role in the marketplace. According to the report, consumers ages 18 to 24 are two times as likely to use social media for research as those 35 and older.
Given the unfiltered, occasionally raucous nature of social media, it’s not surprising that some doctors consider the above an obstacle but as Braun notes, it can also be seen as an opportunity:
If businesses want to develop personal relationships with their target audiences – and they absolutely should do so – then they need to understand what’s influencing their decision-making. Ultimately, as consumers get more analytical, so must the companies and organizations they interact with.
To understand analytic consumers, access your social analytics
As the term suggests, social media analytics are tools that allow you to track the impact of your social media efforts, which in turn can be used to derive insights into consumer preferences and drivers of behavior. Ask your marketing team or agency to provide reports on how social media users perceive your brand (i.e., sentiment analysis), how they engage with it (e.g., liking, sharing, tweeting) and what social sites generate the most engagement.