Wooing Stakeholders: Consumers Want To Feel They Belong, Study Shows

Many firms reach out to customers with email marketing driven by machine learning and personalization. But how many think of their customers as stakeholders? 

This is a trend they should be jumping on, if a new study by consultative agency Gongos is any indication.  

Of consumers surveyed worldwide, 81% apiece take the trusting view that businesses view customers and employees as stakeholders.

But people want to be invited to participate.  

For starters, 75% in the U.S. and 68% worldwide prefer that firms ask them directly for their feedback instead of gathering insights on them from social and transactional data without their knowledge. 

This is a lesson for brands that think email list enhancements will tell them all they need to know. 

Moreover, 93% of global consumers are willing to join online research communities. 

This seems to be the main thrust of this report. Gongos offers a customer as a stakeholder model to build two-way relationships. 



In addition, 71% believe that joining such a group would give them a reciprocal relationship with a company. 

Another 67% feel that belonging to a community would make them feel they are dealing with people, not machines. And the same percentage think joining would give them a greater sense of purpose. 

Another 58% worldwide take thee view that participating in research in general will influence firms to improve life for themselves and their families. And 70% say the same thing about belonging to a community.  

On the downside, only 46% say an online group would make them feel like a stakeholder as much as belonging to a loyalty program would.

And while two-thirds of those who belong say they are treated as an equal, only half feel like they are a stakeholder in the success of the business. 

This is both a challenge an opportunity for brands.  

What do consumers expect when they join a community?

For one thing, 58% think they should be first to know about new products and features. And 38% say inside information should be shared with them. 

Companies might achieve this through triggered emails based on both group and solo activity.

“Our survey findings validate recent cues that were surfacing in the marketplace, namely corporations and consumers wanting to realize greater mutuality among each other," says  Camille Nicita, president & CEO of Gongos, Inc. 

Nicita adds, "Our hope is to use these survey results to shift the paradigm within organizations to look to different ways to create value for the customer over their lifetime. This begins with treating them as value-added stakeholders to the business, and online customer communities open the door to a type of value exchange that more conventional customer interactions aren’t fashioned to forge.”

Gongos surveyed 2,700 U.S. consumers in its Consumer Village online platform, and partnered with Dynaca to survey 1,055 customers throughout China, India, South Korea, Brazil, Germany and the UK. 

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