3 out of 4 stars
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The Agile Consumer is the latest book in Greg Kihlstrom’s nonfiction business series focusing on the Agile model designed to bring together businesses, brands, and consumers.
The book describes how consumers have changed in the last few years. These days, simply selling brands to them is no longer feasible. Even contemporary marketing techniques are lacking. Greg Kihlstrom does a great job of explaining how consumers think today, and how small and large businesses have to adapt if they want to keep loyal followers that buy not just once but repeatedly thereafter. He gives numerous examples of companies that have adopted the Agile methodology, including Procter & Gamble, LEGO, ING, and many others that have changed the business landscape of today, allowing them to thrive and become successful. The brand-consumer dynamic has been shifting, and if companies are not ready to embrace and even lead the change, they might be forever left behind.
Having worked in the corporate world for over 20 years, I appreciate every word written by Greg Kihlstrom. I worked during a time when the Waterfall methodology was in place, and I can see how companies still using that relatively dated system might fail if they don’t adapt.
The advice the author imparts throughout the pages is invaluable for all organizations working toward embracing Agile technologies. He shows that a company should set itself apart from its competition, it should be authentic and real, and it should put consumers first by empowering them. He describes how when consumers get convenience and personalized service (often using AI technology), they can become loyal to a fault because they feel they matter; they are not just statistical numbers. People want to feel they are contributing, their life is made easier, and they are not merely receivers of products to spend their hard-earned money on.
Consumers are much more sophisticated nowadays, and they now have a very different set of expectations from companies. For example, the author shows how consumers prefer to participate in the design process of the products they will buy. Also, they prefer purchasing from companies that share their own set of values, just like employees prefer working at organizations that embrace the same values and systems they do.
I like how the book highlights that employees are also consumers. Everyone who buys things online or from retail stores is a consumer, so companies have to listen to the feedback from their own employees as well if they want to become innovative in our modern world.
Considering my business background, I found the book easy to read. Each chapter focuses on a particular point the author wants to make. The chapters end with a summary section that highlights the most important issues discussed, making the book also a guide to follow for maximum success. However, in terms of editing, I came across several paragraphs copied from another chapter word for word. I could not confirm whether the Amazon edition is correct for this duplication. Also, I have noticed that the name Procter & Gamble has been misspelled several times as Proctor & Gamble. Thus, as much as the book deserves 4 stars for its wealth of information, the editorial issues force me to drop the rating to 3 out of 4 stars.
I recommend The Agile Consumer to everyone involved in business and marketing. Any marketer (whether in-house or freelance) should pick up the book because today the field is nothing like it was even a decade ago. Learning what works now goes a long way toward making a difference in this information-overloaded world where people’s brains are bombarded with sales and marketing pitches all day long, resulting in companies losing valuable customers and, sometimes, even going out of business.
The Agile Consumer
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