Consumers and Producers

Eat, drink, and be a good marketer. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

We live in a consumer society. We may not choose to define ourselves as “consumers,” and we may dislike the label, but we all are consumers.

Consumption is not simply the act of shopping and purchasing.

The Oxford English Dictionary coarsely defines a consumer as “He who or that which consumes, wastes, squanders, or destroys.”

Behind this notion of consumption is a moral judgement: the consumer is a parasite, contributing nothing of value to society.

The opposite notion has been elevated in modern times. Consumption is asserted to be a positive, even urgent, good. The consumer spends, which stimulates the economy, which creates jobs and prosperity.

Imagine performing to an empty room, or broadcasting a show in a world with no radios or televisions.

Sellers fail without buyers. Writers are nothing without readers. Producers need consumers.

Leaders and followers: there are countless books about Leadership, few about Followership.

An iMac is a production tool, but an iPad is a consumption tool. One is best suited to creating video, the other to consuming it.

Consumption has never been easier, nor more prevalent. The tools of consumption can be carried everywhere. The consumer is ever-present, ever plugged-in, ever-ready.

Supply and demand, consumption and production. A rise in consumption summons a rise in production.

This is also an age of producers, and of production.

The tools and media of consumption change, but the underlying reality does not. Producers must cut through the noise and the congestion to reach consumers.

As consumption drives up production, standing out from the crowd becomes more important, and more challenging, than ever.

In an age of abundant production, most of us are performing to empty rooms. We are not getting through.

The only way to get through is to find the room where the audience is, and to somehow put yourself on the stage at the front of that room.

That has been the challenge for producers since the beginning of time.

Everything has changed for consumers. Nothing has changed for producers.

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