Commentary

The Rise Of The 'Infosumer'

As globalization continues to rapidly develop, we are now living in a fully interconnected world with seamless movement of commerce, investment, migration, and distribution of knowledge. The most influential component of the global equation is knowledge. Information transfer has the power to dethrone political leaders, cultivate viral marketing, develop national movements, and educate powerfully. Now more than ever, information is sewn in the fabric of our lives visually, auditorily, and at our fingertips through mobile devices.

For those of us laser-focused on all major trends, you may have heard whispers of a trend referred to as "info lust," which can be described as the insatiable desire for information. Consumers are constantly hunting for the crème de la crème of knowledge. Everything from great dining, travel hot spots, weather reports, fashion trends, healthy alternatives, or the latest viral video. Smartphones and mobile app development places the power in the hands of the consumer, giving rise to a whole new type of consumer, the “Infosumer.”

This elicits several key questions: Who are the Infosumers, where did they come from, and how do we market to them?

Why Millennials matter; a look into the Infosumer

The core group of Infosumers is comprised of Millennials. Appropriately, the old adage states that "knowledge is power," and the Millennial generation embodies this motto in their daily lives. They are constantly connected across multiple social channels and armed with countless mediums for information. There is almost a symbiotic relationship, linking their quality of life and information.

Millennials have been analyzed under a microscope and targeted by marketers more so than any other generation to date. This hyper-analysis has carved out many distinct cultural bi-products for Millennials, the main one, forming unrealistically high expectations for themselves. Millennials, also categorized as Generation Y, are living in an extremely interesting time period with technology adapting at a lightning fast pace around them. With technology eliminating several administrative tasks – simply through automation – Millennials are congregating to cause-based messaging and authenticity in everything they follow.

When technology went boom

Generation Y is quite a fitting name as Baby Boomers continue to scratch their heads as to "why" the majority of young upcoming professionals are operating with a sense of entitlement. Their professional attitude – entering the workforce with lofty expectations – has tremendously evolved businesses. Jean Twenge, author of Generation ME, considers the Millennials to be highly confident and tolerant, but also filled with privilege and narcissism. Additionally, Boomers are targeting Gen Y as never taking accountability for their actions. This, of course, is a result of their being accustomed to constantly having alternate options and choices at their disposal.

What created this mentality? The reality is that Baby Boomers have created this technological landscape and future culture through a series of monumental inventions such as the Internet, DNA fingerprinting, lithium ion batteries and the smartphone. We often associate inventions with Edison, Franklin, Graham Bell – but the Boomers delivered us our current tool kit. 

The right communication is key

Now that the landscape has been set for the Infosumer, it’s time to maximize it. The most effective companies will seed real-time, context-based content that is hypersensitive to their brand’s target demographic. This consumer is looking for a curated experience that feels customized to them. Great examples of this can be seen in the continued evolution of Foursquare; through location-based services, notifying consumers of nearby hotspots, and rewards for repeat visits. 

However, this communication needs to be multi-directional and insightful. Being data-rich can only take you so far. Your brand will truly captivate the Infosumer by using real time social engagement to stay top of mind and form lasting connections. Envision monitoring someone who is tweeting about his or her next move, and be there to influence that decision.

An example of this would be searching a moment on Twitter like “getting my hair done” to capture the moment of bliss women associate with this activity. Once identified, engage the user real-time referencing the proper color-treated shampoo & conditioner product to maintain that salon quality look. Now engagement becomes, brand and product based and multi-directional. 

We’ve already seen real-time engagement be highly effective in 2013 with Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark,” tweet during the Super Bowl blackout. Now imagine these types of messages being consumer-specific with targeted information and inserted in the pockets our Infosumer is already searching. What will capture the Superbowl spotlight this year?

The Infosumer is craving information; give them what they want, just make sure it’s curated.

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