Who’s In Control? The Rise of the Empowered Consumer

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In recent articles, I postulate that there is a fundamental shift occurring away from manufacturing and service economies towards Creative Economies, in which companies that embrace information, innovation and the “cross-pollination” of technology will thrive. But it is not just companies that can benefit. Individuals that embrace, leverage and integrate new forms of technology to solve problems will be able to think differently and more creatively to address both personal and professional issues. And their actions will, Indirectly or directly, affect the economy and business landscape. Thus enterprises should take heed.

The emergence of what I call the Empowered Consumer is a major instantiation of this trend. The Empowered Consumer is a new type of buyer that now exists across almost every industry. This consumer has been shaped by the convergence of the Mobile, Social, Cloud and Big Data mega trends and is driving serious amounts of personal as well as business spend. She has used technology and information to shift the balance of power towards herself and away from sellers, giving her unprecedented price and choice control. This goes beyond the consumerization of IT which is defined as the propensity for users’ experiences with consumer technology to impact their technology usage and expectations at work. Rather, it is a behavioral shift of individuals concerning their expectations of their interactions with their suppliers and partners. The choices and competitive dynamics that it creates are a fundamental change all organizations must deal with in the movement to Creative Economies.
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