The prosumer as a new market force
The prosumer is a consequence of technology. The advancement of technology, especially high-speed internet, has changed the way our world operates.
Bankers now keep records in computers rather than keep physical account books; students are learning with the help of the internet and sometimes, without teachers; and with artificial intelligence, production work is done with the least involvement of humans.
The internet has influenced almost every field of human endeavour. It wiped out many jobs and at the same time, it gave birth to many new ones, including new terms such as influencers, YouTubers, DIY, internet banking and prosumers. These terms have no relevance without the internet.
The fast-changing technology and dynamism of real-time platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube have changed how products and services are promoted, viewed and received. It is not out of place to say that it is inevitable for businesses to understand this shift and adapt to it, in order to stay profitable.
Therefore, they need to understand the shifting in power and influence, from consumers to prosumers.
Who is a prosumer?
The term, prosumer, is an amalgamation of the terms ― producer and consumer. A prosumer can be described as a person who consumes as well as produces a product. The term, prosumer is not a new term.
It was introduced by futurist Alvin Toffle in 1980. But it has never been relevant as it is today. It has become so important that businesses and marketers cannot ignore it if they want to stay profitable.
Earlier, this term was used for a person who consumes products, as well as produces a product. For example, people who produced electricity by installing solar panels on the roofs of their houses were called prosumers.
But in the present times, the term, prosumer, has got a completely different meaning. Nowadays, prosumers can also be referred to as ‘professional consumers’. That means these people not only consume products but also talk about the products on various internet platforms. Their voices play significant roles in the failure or success of a product or business.
In this digital era, the trend of influencers is very popular and strategic. Influencers are those people who have significant numbers of followers on social media platforms. They share different content such as educational, inspirational, DIY methods, reviews of different products, entertainment-related content on their social media platforms to entertain their followers.
People trust these social media figures, as they can relate to them. Therefore, this gives them the power to influence the image of a brand or a product, positively or negatively. These influencers can be artists, sports personalities, bloggers, microbloggers and YouTubers, amongst others.
Therefore, it is necessary for a business not only to learn the importance of these prosumers but also to identify them and build a relationship with them. Today, these prosumers can influence the demand for a product or brand, just as, if not more than, any other traditional method of marketing and advertising.
Impact of prosumers
Prosumers not only buy and consume a product but also talk about it to other people. What they speak matters, as a result of which it puts a significant impact on the business of an organization. Therefore, it is crucial for brands to build positive relationships with them.
Difference between consumers and prosumers
The consumers and prosumers are two entirely different terms. The term prosumer was created by modifying the term consumer. A consumer buys a product and consumes it, and does not have significant power to influence other people.
On the other hand, a prosumer buys and uses a product and also talk about it to educate others. There are other differences between a consumer and a prosumer.
The followings are the key differences between a consumer and a prosumer:
A consumer is a person who buys a product and uses it. A prosumer is a person who buys a product, uses it, and spreads the word about it.
A single consumer cannot influence the image of a brand. A single prosumer can influence the image of a brand.
A consumer might have or might not have a considerable number of followers on social media or other internet platforms. A prosumer has an enormous number of followers on social media and other internet platforms.
A consumer only uses a product and makes an opinion about the product, which matters only to him or her A prosumer uses a product and spreads the word about it on social media platforms where a large number of people listen to him or her.
Whether a product will fail or not is not in the hand of one consumer. The future of a product can be affected by a prosumer.
Companies don’t approach a consumer to talk about their products. Companies approach and even pay prosumers to spread the positive word about their products.
Last line: The face and trend of marketing are constantly changing and today and the future belong to brands that are cutting-edge dynamic to leverage opportunities.