Are uneducated consumers extinct?

The other day I had a healthy argument with an old school marketing guy about uneducated consumers in a commiditised market.

His contention was that uneducated consumers still exist online.  Like marks in an old style side show they wander blindly through the buying process and good businesses make good margin from them.

This worried me a little.  I think that the Internet has made it so much easier to find information about products and pricing that novice Internet users can become very well informed consumers very quickly. The newbie might not be a gun online marketer but they have a very clear understanding about what constitutes good value and the Internet makes it easy to them to make a comparison.

Also,  I hate the idea of thinking consumers are stupid. It is too easy and doesn’t help you market to them.

I reached out to twitter for feedback and the feedback was that there are more and more newbie consumers online which I reckon proves my point.

@thelostagency noted that targeting these users with a different user experience can drive massive increases in conversion. He also commented that:

@jonstribling problem is that business is not usually tailored and even optimised for that newbie experience

@monkeytypist disagreed tweeting

@jonstribling if you define “educated” to mean “aware there’s a better value option always”, then that’s plainly rubbish.

I think that understanding the consumers  better means understanding them intimately, their concerns, their values, the pain-points, their buying behaviour. And once you do this you patronise them by thinking of them as uneducated. Once they become ‘real’ you can then target them better using all sorts of online marketing strategies including search.  Ultimately they will compare the value you’re providing with your competitors online. Your chances of retaining them as a customer may depend on you understanding them better.

What do you think?

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What do you think?