Small is beautiful”, “Power to the people”, or as a sophisticated trend watcher would say “We all become Master of the Youniverse”.

When reading this kind of lingo, many marketers will say that history repeats itself. The same old (marketing) story, can we add another “P” to Kottler’s book please?
But, as always, things are somewhat more complex. New interactive applications spawn a number of fundamental society trends. One evolution encompasses a large number of these trends: the consumer claims back his rightful status. Call it “The Vanishing Mass Market” (BusinessWeek), “Massclusivity” or “Nouveau Niche” ( or somewhat softer “Grassroots consumer power”, the consumers who were elegantly categorized in target groups, GRP’s and all kinds of segments, now decides for himself what he or she want to hear, or which commercial message is worth responding to.

Wasn’t that called on to one marketing?
In fact it is, but in a different interpretation. The consumer chooses a brand, rather then the opposite. Most media don’t realize yet, but are silently being taken over by this consumer. Your computer, PDA or even smart phone are the technical infrastructure, the internet is the distribution medium. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

What? Where?
Just imagine you could open up a screen with your personal selection of news items, articles, columns and cartoons published over the last 48 hours. You think this is a smart idea of some on line newspaper or portal site? NO, it’s not! You just checked the RSS FEEDS of a high quality paper, the articles and columns from the BLOGS by a number of subjects matter specialists or slightly deranged home-made journalists and completed it with the daily Dilbert to add some fun. And while munching away a sandwich over lunch time you browse through it in your RSS READER.
In the mean time, your PODCATCHER downloaded your selection of PODCASTS and they’re being copied to your MP3 player (iPod, PDA or Smart Phone, any MP3 player will do). During the commute back home you’ll listen to them at your convenience, rather then waiting for some radio station program manager to decide it’s time for you to listen to the news.
At home you launch SIM2 and, together with a bunch of friends all over the world, you make all your dreams come true in your virtual gaming world.
And you feel good with your friends in your virtual world, because you all share the same passion. The emotional bond within the tribe is much stronger then a set of boring attributes such as age, gender or level of income.

Help, the mass media have disappeared!
A home made newspaper, your personal radio station, a virtual world of your own … so where are we going to do advertising?.

A number of obvious answers present themselves, we’ll shove a few banners in the RSS reader, start podcasts with a recycled radio commercial and rent some media space in the virtual SIMS world.
But a more daring approach will be needed if you want to make a difference. Some new types of advertising such as affiliation programs and Google Adwords already allow you to be present with the consumer in a controlled way and when he or she likes it. They let you reach a small ‘tribe’ without costs running out of hand.

There’s an interesting challenge here for all the marketing agencies to turn these opportunities to the advertisers’ advantage. But remember, respect the consumer in his or her power status and seduce them with relevant information or entertainment.
There is no such thing as information overload to the consumer; there is a shortage of correct and relevant information.