Archive for July, 2011

You Say Customer I Say Consumer

Much of my week is spent thinking about consumers, consumption, decision-making and attitude changing.  After years in the marketing and advertising worlds I now teach graduate students how to discover and employ consumer insights.  Some people in my profession prefer the word “customers” to “consumers”, consumers impling a one-way street. Manufacturers make what they want to make and consumers buy it. Customers is supposed to indicate more of an equal relationship between the maker of a box of soap and the head of household buying it a well as reflect the importance of service by the former to the latter.

I’m old school and can’t seem to shed consumer from my vocabulary. Not that I think consumers are at the mercy of manufacturer.  If and when I do think about this and manage to use a different word I use “people.”  Seems to be the most accurate word of them all.  We’re just people acquiring and using tools to sustain and elevate our lives.

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