These are exciting times for business managers and marketing professionals, yet the challenges imposed by ongoing social and technological developments are daunting. In an age in which marketers can reach their audiences with greater facility than ever before, firms have never been less in control of their customer targets. This increasing connectedness of consumers provides a range of unique and promising opportunities for product and brand managers. Connecting With Consumers describes the various strategies and techniques that can be utilized to harness consumer influence. The book traces evolving developments in the consumer marketplace, considers their impact on the potential reshaping of the marketing profession, and describes the emerging set of tools that can enable marketers to respond to new marketplace realities. It provides, clear, up-to-date coverage of a number of topics currently on the minds of many: Web 2.0, word of mouth, buzz, the social web, social media metrics, customer engagement, viral and guerrilla marketing. The book critically assesses emerging marketing strategies and tools within the context of research and theory, and provides numerous applied examples to illustrate marketing successes and common pitfalls to avoid. It argues throughout for a more collaborative relationship between companies and consumers towards their mutual benefit. Although the balance of power has shifted to the consumer for each of the various aspects of the marketing process, collaboration is what the future of marketing likely will be all about. Marketers can avoid irrelevance in the face of change, but this will require a clear commitment to connecting with consumers rather than searching for ways to regain control over them. The book challenges marketers to make a choice: embrace the ongoing changes as opportunities for reshaping relationships with consumers, or cling to the past at the risk of becoming irrelevant. This is the book for those who choose the first alternative.