Researching Customer Empowerment
I work closely with experts in both digital and brand management, and for this book my team and I did research through which we could explore this issue of customer empowerment. We wanted to know more about these consumers, but also about the marketers and brands who marketed to them—about their contrasting attitudes and beliefs in this new environment. Were their views in alignment and agreement, or drifting apart—with different assumptions and divergent views of the new reality of living with an online world? We conducted in-depth interviews with brand managers, digital marketing managers, digital agency personnel, senior marketing leaders, and thought-leaders to see how they were responding in this new era of digital innovation. These interviews provided insights into the impact of digital marketing on brands, marketing managers, and brand management, including their views of the role of customers in their relationships with brands in the digital economy. The viewpoints and perspectives from these, and other interviews, are featured throughout this book in order to share best practice examples on how many are rising to this new challenge and meeting it head-on.
Working with digital and brand marketing partners, we conducted the Boston College (BC) Customer Empowerment Research Study consisting of two parallel quantitative online survey studies; one with 406 consumers aged 18–64 to assess consumers’ core opinions regarding digital experiences, to better understand consumer attitudes and experience regarding online shopping behaviors, and to understand consumers’ preferences regarding online contact with companies and brands. The other survey, with 219 marketing executives and managers, quantitatively measured their attitudes and behaviors with regard to the same issues studied in the consumer survey. The marketer survey included President, CEO, COO, Owner or Board Member (20%), Director of Marketing or Marketing Department Head (16%), Marketing Manager, Brand Manager or Marketing Team Leader (39%), Assistant/Associate Marketing Manager/Brand Manager (14%), CIO, CAO, VP, SVP, or EVP of Digital (5%), and CMO, VP, SVP, or EVP of Marketing (5%). Forty-nine percent of managerial respondents were from companies with more than 1,000 full-time employees.