'Omni Consumers': Love 'em or Lose 'em

Like an oblivious and inattentive spouse, companies may be taking their customers for granted.

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Like an oblivious and inattentive spouse, companies may be taking their customers for granted. And if they don't start paying better attention to what those customers want, they may lose them, according to ibm. There's a new breed of "omni consumers," Big Blue says—more cynical, less loyal, and more demanding, partly because they use the Internet to arm themselves with information.

IBM found that many industries are failing to meet these consumers' demands. Two thirds of survey participants said they did not feel valued by their banks, and 57 percent said insurance policies were not tailored to their needs.

To succeed in this new world, IBM global consumer products industry leader Bill Gilmour says, companies must establish a strong brand that stands for certain values, such as environmental sustainability. "If you're just selling products, that's when consumers will be flip-flopping," he says. As with husbands and wives, customers need to feel their needs are being catered to.