Consumer - Digital and Offline | Gruppo & Company | An Independent Growth Advisory Firm
Consumer - Digital and Offline
The direct to consumer vertical is where GLC cut its teeth, and remains today one of the core practice areas where our broad-based knowledge gives clients a significant edge. The Internet as an enabling technology has made direct to consumer a phenomenon we now take for granted, as goods, services, information, social interaction, self-expression and entertainment are now at our fingertips online. Mobile smartphone technology has added another dimension to direct to consumer-- the hyper-local “constant companion.” We now know what matters most to the consumer at any given moment as the consumer moves from place to place.
Our experience with the new businesses based on these technologies as well as with offline sales and media channels helps us appreciate not only the significance of the internet, mobile and digital media revolutions, but also how many traditional companies remain that are still to be transformed by these technologies.
We work with consumer companies, both digital and offline, in the following sub-sectors:
- Online Marketplace
- Direct Marketing
- Digital Media
How Do Consumers Transact? (E-Commerce, Retail, Online Marketplace, Direct Marketing)
As technology changes…so does the business of retail. Retail, defined by Merriam-Webster’s as “the sale of commodities or goods in small quantities to ultimate consumers,” currently has much less to do with merchandise and markets and much more to do with purchasing patterns, content and data.
As technology changes…so does the behavior of the consumer. GLC understood that behavior in the catalog heyday, at the start of the Internet, and today in the dynamic world of e-commerce and mobile marketing. Traditional models of one vendor communicating to many consumers have been displaced by conversations among many consumers and many sellers simultaneously in online marketplaces that not only offer consumers more alternatives but also allow consumers to guide and inform the decisions of other consumers by sharing their experiences and reviews as user generated content. This social interaction becomes a sought after experience in of itself, a form of entertainment.
Over the past several years, retail has been hit and hit hard. But the very challenges the industry faces provide for some of the most exciting growth opportunities:
- The integration of e-commerce and social media disrupting the traditional interaction between brands and consumers
- Increasing global internet penetration
- Mobile commerce emerging as an alternative distribution platform
- Monetization of content and data
We’re good at this. The direct marketing vertical is where our business started. In the offline world, direct marketers were the innovators, using data far earlier than bricks and mortar retail. GLC can effectively position unique assets, offering potential acquirers a credible point of view. Our clients look to GLC’s experience and insight into dynamic market factors including migration in customer behaviors, efficiency of media and marketing spend, differentiation from commoditized product and leveraging technology to monetize the intrinsic value of both content and data.
How Do Consumers Engage? (Advertising, Digital Media, Mobile, Entertainment)
Interactivity defines the new media experience. Media has been important to consumers for centuries, as a source of information and diversion, but has been mostly limited to one-way communication, until the Internet. Now consumers respond to media, clicking on search results that match their interests, display advertisements that have already been targeted to them based on online behavior, and stopping, starting and clipping video streams as they wish based on mood and time constraints. Even more significantly, consumers are creators of the new media, their responses to professionally created media in of itself constituting consumable content in the form of topical blogs and reviews. Digital platforms allow consumers to make and distribute their own content, which can attract millions of viewers as countless You Tube posts have demonstrated.
The digital conversation has become a new form of media - social media. Social media sites such as Facebook have emerged to facilitate the interaction of consumers with one another and the digital world around them. Their power rests in the innate desire for community and friendship in a world that threatens anonymity. Time spent on these sites and their hundreds of millions of users have made them a dominant form of media today. All those wishing to market to or influence these consumers know that they must find a way to do so through these sites.
Mobile offers immediacy and intimacy. Mobile technology takes the engagement of social media one step further in offering consumers a heretofore elusive connection in the global urban landscape- the chance to reach friends anytime and anywhere through reliable, short form communications in text, photos and video. The appeal of this immediacy and reach has enabled another phenomenon- communication with strangers in an informal way that turns them into an intimate community. The explosive growth in usage of Twitter can be understood in this context, as a self-selecting audience “follows” the reports of anyone, famous or unknown, who chooses to “tweet”.
New devices spawn new behaviors. The tablet is the latest disruptor of the consumption of and engagement with media. Premium video content, which once seemed the unique property of TV and the movie screen, is increasingly showing up on tablets, accelerating the Internet delivery of premium content and changing the strategies of content creators.
Entertainment takes many forms in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. Social media offers personal satisfactions that were not envisioned as the purview of digital media only ten years ago. Sophisticated digital games can now be shared online in MMO multiplayer environments. Consumers can delight in the immediacy of what is “trending” in real time mobile tracking of the frequency of mentions of a topic. Any music selection can now be located, and played on demand, on any device, and generally for free. Even the pleasures of shopping as a shared, social activity have been regained in the digital environment through peer discussion of unique offers on exclusive flash sale sites, forming groups to purchase highly discounted “daily deals” and linking to friends on locale sensitive offers made on mobile phones.
GLC and the 21st century consumer... We have worked with companies that have been in the forefront of these disruptions in how consumers engage with media and one another. They have envisioned the new pleasures, satisfactions and entertainment which consumer technologies would make possible. We are passionate about helping the entrepreneurs behind these companies realize their vision and helping established businesses embrace these innovations that are changing the consumer economy.
Please contact Claire Gruppo
Please contact Church Lewis