Will savvy consumers use social networking technology infomercials to find out more about their products? Some companies and “green marketers” think so –

The trend in consumer marketing is to use social networking technologies to create infomercials. Will consumers be interested in learning how, where, and what employee made or assembled their products? Many consumers will for the following reasons.

As the “green revolution” and digital marketing technology trends join forces consumers are becoming better informed. Companies are experimenting with ways to market, educate, and add a more personal approach to their products and services. Brands such as Patagonia, now provides customers with their products manufacturing information on YouTube. Customers can now see where their coat was made, and how it was transported to the retail store from Vietnam. These videos’ are like mini cross-cultural documentaries, taking you through the manufacturing plant process, while meeting the outsourcing factory manager and its employees. Another company called, Icebreaker, a sustainable merino wool clothing company, allows you to enter a Baacode. After entering a product code on the company web site, you can learn about the wool used to make your garment, and meet the farmer in charge of the sheep farm. Consumers can also track the garment from beginning to end along the supply-chain. Amazon, the on line shopping store has introduced green product information by offering reviews and recommendations, and a list of “best of” products in the green category.

Will consumers want to learn more about their products, services, and foods from the farming and manufacturing process through to the retail store? I think so, and we will probably continue to see a growing consumer micro marketing approach using cost effective digital marketing technologies. Consumers’ are  savvier now, and seek out information about their products, and digital marketing technologies are a cost effective way to accomplish this goal. Although, as consumers we should be on the watch for deceptive marketing practices that attempt to pull the wool over our eyes by providing inaccurate product information, like employee working conditions, and food handling. On the other hand, consumers are now armed with powerful public relations, and social networking tools that allow them to blow the whistle on any deceptive marketing campaigns once they have been discovered.

As with food label regulations in the United States, the more we know about a product, the better position we are to make choices. In the future will we see additional niche product information marketing? Will marketers also use cross-cultural themes, and natural language capabilities targeted at micro-cultural country specific customs? If the current trend in online social networks like MySpace and FaceBook are any indicator, consumer product and service marketing will have to give the consumer what they want, good content, and cross-cultural relevancy to ensure the growth of their customer base. By Peter Sabbagh

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