The year is 1914. You've saved up a small fortune ($260) and want to buy one of those incredible new Ford Model T cars. How do you go about the decision making progress? Remember there's no Internet, no car enthusiast magazines and no community forums to aid in your research.
So what do you do? You probably start by seeking out and talking to existing owners. After all, the best way to inform your purchase decision is to talk to people who have already purchased the product to understand their experiences - good and bad.
Fast forward to today. The truth of the matter is that little has changed. We still look to the experiences of others when considering purchases. What has changed is the medium and, as a result, our reach as individuals.
Buying behaviors of the modern consumer
Use public search engines as the initial point of information discovery
Cite consumer opinion as the most trusted source of information
Suggest that social channels are influential during the decision-making process
Publish their brand/
product experience to ‘protect others’ from a similar experience
This is great news for businesses. It means that your customers (or for that matter your investors, your employees, your partners, ...) are expressing their likes and dislikes about your business each and everyday through digital media. In essence, there's a real-time focus group about you running every minute of every day.
But herein lies the problem - Companies aren't wired to listen. Instead, most leverage digital to broadcast marketing messaging and the like, completely unaware of the high-value insights that lie within reach.
Atop this challenge, modern businesses still operate almost completely in silos. Sales, marketing and service teams (as example) operate largely independently as they focus on departmental level objectives and KPI's.
Does a customer care about how you're structured internally? Of course not. They simply want a seamless experience from consideration through post-purchase.