CONTEMPORARY CONSUMER IN THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
One of the characteristics of human society in the 21st century is that the individual is increasingly viewed predominantly as a consumer. The turbulent development of science and technology has also resulted in new, changed consumer behavior patterns, which are achieving a new role in the modern society. Research into consumer behavior imposes itself as an imperative of successful functioning of the economic and social system.
Many companies are faced with serious problems of effectiveness and efficiency of their conducted marketing activities. The consumer is predominantly becoming the central factor determining a company's corporate performance, but the key problem lies in the fact that the prevalent philosophy of the marketing practices still regards the consumers as “passive end users” of the value created, neglecting their changed role, behavior, and impact on market processes.
Presenting and analyzing the results of research from marketing literature dealing with the problem of changed market behavior, this article aims to point to the necessity to change the thinking patterns of marketing theory and practice on the significance and impact of the consumer on companies’ corporate performance by accepting new roles that the consumers have in the contemporary society.
By changing the attitude toward consumers as key stakeholders on the market and accepting their new roles, companies get guidelines for shaping and amending their marketing strategies toward raising the quality of corporate performance, and the same stands for institutions responsible for the functioning of a society and the state as a whole.
The current marketing reality inexorably promotes the notion that consumer behavior as a whole is an essential social process shaped by intensive word-of-mouth communication. As a science and practice, marketing must become a complex and fluid system of network relationships, constantly redefining itself toward integration with the changes of contemporary consumers and their modus vivendi.
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