At a big presentation yesterday, I had someone kind of badgering me on one (commonly asked) question. Who are these crazy people online? Do they really represent my consumers? The exact words were more like:
“well, you can’t extrapolate from what these highly involved consumers say and do to all of our consumers”
Two points. First, what people talk about online is the same as what they talk about offline. Questions about HDTV are the same online and off. Not everyone will go online to ask them, but the questions are the same. Second, we think there is a new influence model that looks like this:
With this model, the offline world may not be talking about the same thing as the online world at a given point in time – but they will – just a matter of time.
Key point here? The influence model starts at the top – with the online mavens. Listening to them will give you a running start over your competition.
You can pretend that these people talking online aren’t your customers – but ignore them at your peril.