Interactive Media Creating a “Pull” Economy

Compared to printed media, online publications offer several powerful draws.

  • Lower costs of publication
  • Lower cost of consumption
  • Interactivity
  • Choice/variety (an infinite number of channels)

These appeals are causing a far-reaching shift from a “push” to a “pull” information economy. The decline in ad revenues for printed newspapers and magazines is a barometer of this change. People report spending less time with traditional mass media while spending more on interactive media which enables them to find exactly what they want, not only in terms of information, but also in terms of products and services.

People can now find what they want
instead of what someone else wants them to want

As a consequence everything we consume is increasingly customized. A shift to computer-aided manufacturing is creating the ability to mass-customize goods and services. The technology of manufacturing and the technology of communication are converging in a way that allows manufacturers with unique capabilities and consumers with unique desires to find and collaborate with each other.

Push vs. Pull in the Marketplace:
The Changing Balance of Power

As a result, we’re seeing a steady shift in information/goods/services being pulled through the economy by consumers rather than pushed by publishers and manufacturers.

The “push economy” characterized by mass production in the last century anticipated consumer demand. The “pull economy” reacts to it. Small niches of consumers once dismissed by sellers are a growing market force.

You can see this trend in everything from micro-breweries to built-to-order cars and computers, personal publishing, user configurable software, customized clothing and more.

You can hear this trend in everyday language – “me” is replacing “we.” Intellectual freedom is replacing group-think. People still want to identify with groups; they just don’t want to lose their individuality in the process. Interactivity empowers them. It’s no longer about being part of the machine. It’s about controlling the machine.

Anticipating Demand vs. Collaborating with Customers

Marketing today is still about creating products and services that fit into people lives. The shift is from anticipation to collaboration. Instead of trying to guess what the largest number of people want, marketers need to be agile enough to collaborate with customers to create what each wants on demand.

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