The Ultimate Consumers’ Market

A total game changer

            The vast world of marketing may never be the same. Though the history is brief, marketing has already made it through five major stages, proving that it is a fast-moving storm. Making its way from the trade era, where handmade goods were traded simply through travelling and exploring, all the way to the social/marketing era, where the client is based at the center of the marketer’s universe and client interaction is key (More, 2012). This new approach to marketing only solidifies the fact that the customer is the answer. Participatory marketing is changing the way marketers think and see their clients. Before, marketers were focused on how to make their brand image stronger and customer loyalty was essential, now marketers are trying to find new ways to involve the people who are buying their products. Participatory marketing is becoming an incredibly important part of this newfound participatory culture that we reside in. “Participatory culture marks a shift in media communications from a twentieth-century system of one-to-many message transmission, to a twenty-first century model in which media producers and consumers are both increasingly ‘participants who interact with each other according to a new set of rules’ (Flew,2014). In other words, consumers are becoming the right hand of the marketers. They are not only helping marketers do their job by becoming involved in the way their brands are marketed, but they are also acting as the channel in which products are marketed. However, this can go one of both ways for marketers: very good or very bad.


New skills may be necessary

Everyone now has the capacity to become a media creator in this era of technology. Anyone who creates a blog or shares content via the internet is a media creator (Jenkins, 2009). This does not mean that everyone is properly skilled to be a media creator however, nor is everyone skilled in what areas of the media to trust. “Rather than dealing with each technology in isolation, we would do better to take an ecological approach, thinking about the interrelationship among different communication technologies, the cultural communities that grow up around them, and the activities they support” (Jenkins, 2009). In order to teach the younger population about this participatory culture, they need to understand that although individual creativity is important, the network of digital media is not based solely on a single person but rather a collection of people and ideas. With that said, it would be more beneficial for students to be taught how to use eachother to solve bigger problems rather than using themselves to solve smaller ones (Jenkins, 2009). How this relates to marketing is fairly straightforward: marketing is a trusting game. People do not always trust the right sources because not everyone is providing truthful information. Though people may be great channels of marketing and word of mouth campaigning, this could also be hugely detrimental to a company’s brand image.

On the bright side

Many marketers are using this participatory culture to their advantage.   Co-creation and participatory marketing are a means of guiding the consumers in the right direction about how to help successfully market their products. According to P & G, participatory marketing is five times more effective than traditional marketing by “stimulating a key growth driver: recommendations” (Marsden). It is very successful in bringing the brand and the consumer closer together by putting them at the center of the idea (Marsden). Participation marketing also elicits the Hawthorne effect in the participants, which is the positive feedback associated with participation (Marsden). People really enjoy the idea of being behind the scenes and participating, and they are more likely to trust whatever it is they are participating in because they can trust themselves and their hard work (Marsden). This is so important for marketers because by using this idea of co-creation and allowing the consumer to help market their products in guided ways, they can create positive feedback for their company and also make sure that those who are acting as a direct channel for their product are doing so in a positive way, a non-detrimental way to their brand. There could not be a better time for this concept to take off considering how heavily social and digital media are valued in today’s society. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great ways for the marketer to easily be connected to the consumer, and for consumers to be connected to other consumers. Marketers have easy access to who is interested in their products and how they can get the consumer to start talking. The only problem that arises from this is that the consumer typically only associates with the same network and very rarely branches out, which is an area that must be more focused on by the marketer and the global economy as a whole (Zuckerman. 2010).

The ‘Do Us a Flavor’ Campaign

Two ways to vote on co-created products:

Screenshot 2016-03-08 18.30.05

The easy way….Screenshot 2016-03-08 18.30.18

The hard way….


Flew, T. (2014). New media: An introduction. South Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press.

Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture. Retrieved March 08, 2016, from

Lay’s® Do Us A Flavour™. (n.d.). Retrieved March 08, 2016, from

Marsden, P. (2008, August 04). Participatory Marketing – What it is, How it Works. Retrieved March 08, 2016, from

More, M. (2012, April 30). The Evolution of Marketing. Retrieved March 08, 2016, from

Zuckerman, E. (Director). (2010, July). Listening to Global Voices [Video file]. Retrieved March 08, 2016, from

The Ultimate Consumers’ Market

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