Emerging Media and the Emerging Power of the Consumer

The term emerging media is thrown around quite a bit in blogs, seminars and in classrooms, but what exactly is emerging media?  Is Facebook still considered emerging media even though it has been around for years? And how does emerging media impact day-to-day life? Over the next nine weeks, this blog will explore various topics in emerging media and their impacts to both consumers and marketers.

To begin, we must understand what emerging media is.  Merriam-Webster defines the emerging as anything that is “newly created or noticed and growing in strength or popularity” or “becoming widely known or established.”  Considering this definition, Facebook and most of the major social media channels in use today would be classified as emerging media.

Almost every facet of our daily lives is touched by emerging media; ask yourself, How many people carry a smartphone or tablet to check e-mail, post on Facebook, receive Twitter alerts, read a digital book or magazine, snap and share photos, purchase a movie ticket or find a local restaurant? In this post, we will explore one of the many ways emerging media influences our lives on a consistent basis – the purchase decision-making process [What is it that we wish to purchase, how much we are willing to pay and where will we purchase it from].

Social Media Influence for New Products & Services

Graphic courtesy of Emarketer.com

The results of a 2013 Harris Interactive poll indicates that social media plays a significant role in influencing purchase behavior, “68% of 18-to-34-year-old social media users surveyed were at least somewhat likely to make a purchase after seeing a friend’s post;” whereas, “78% of social media users 65 and older said they were not at all likely to make a purchase based upon what they saw on their friends’ feeds.”

The trend to use emerging media to review and investigate prior to purchase is not limited to the United States.  EMarketer cited a study conducted in Finland regarding purchase influence for individuals born into Gen X [1964-1979] and Gen Y [1980-1995].  Thirty-seven percent of respondents indicated a preference to consult online stores prior to purchase.  Manufacturer’s web sites were a distant second with only 22%.

Top locations that influence for Gen X and Gen Y purchase behavior

Image Courtesy of EMarketer.com

 A 2013 survey conducted by Dimensional Research indicated an “overwhelming 90 percent of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews”.

Shared Customer Experience by segment

Graphic courtesy of MarketingLand.Com

It is interesting to note that product performance is only part of a customer review.  Amy Gesenhues, of MarketingLand.com, suggests that customer service plays a critical role in terms of reviews, “Key findings of the study [Dimensional Research’s study] illustrated that customer service not only affects revenue, but has a long lasting impact, with customer service ranking as the No. 1 factor influencing how much a consumer trusts a company”.  Consumers are not likely to give their loyalty to a company who cannot earn or sustain their trust.

Emerging media has placed the scepter of power into the hands of the consumer.  This is a wake up call to organizations and marketers that they must build a good product or service, be competitive and care about their customer.  Customer service and marketing must actively manage social media channels in order to be successful at gaining and sustaining consumer loyalty.


About Kimberly Coleman

I am a graduate student at WVU in Integrated Marketing Communications. I reside in Western North Carolina and enjoy all the beautiful nature this area has to offer.
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