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Gartner analysts Susan Landry and Nikos Drakos discuss the critical need for businesses to embrace social media in the video which you can find on this page. Landry refers to the 500MM+ Facebook members and the 10 billion tweets which indicates an increasing and continuous socialization of the Web.
Drakos mentions three reasons what social media achieves in the business context:
The video doesn't bring new awareness, but the emphasis on the critical need to embrace and incorporate social media in the organization is an extra alert to work on the transformation to a social business.
Additional reasons next to Drakos' ones to what social media brings, are:
Customer centric social business
The essence is that by collaborating with the consumer you co-create your best-fit business outputs with them. Because people are the most powerful media (Social Media) by opening up the process through co-creation you guarantee a highly targeted buzz at pre-launch. This brings along reduced cost-to-market and advertising costs.
Best-fit business outputs are achieved by the consumer feedback in the different stages of the marketing process, aligning it where it can.
External factors that advocate for a social business are increased competition, shorter and faster occuring PLC's. When looking at changes in consumers there are two. The first is the "New Consumer" as defined by Lewis and Bridger, seeking authenticity, is individualistic, independent and well-informed. In the near-future business will be confronted by Generation C, which is defined as:
connected, communicating, content-centric, computerized, community-oriented, always clicking. As a rule, they were born after 1990 and lived their adolescent years after 2000. It’s the first generation that has never known any reality other than that defined and enabled by the Internet, mobile devices, and social networking.
Combining the two results in an individualistic ubiquitous digital consumer seeking authenticity and independency. This well fuels the culture of (online) co-creation.
Social media and co-creation enables consumers to be a means and an end. For businesses it's the opportunity to become truly customer-centric where the business serves as a platform.