IN THIS SUMMARY
According to Solomon, marketing has entered a realm in which branding is: "bagels, tortillas, and croissants" (rather than "white bread"), "consumer.com", the individual’s search for meaning, the tie that binds, and the "Church of McDonald’s." It is the end of branding as we know it, and the extent to which people now rely upon brands to define their identities and to make sense of their world is extraordinary, reflecting a major transition from marketerspace to consumerspace. In marketerspace, companies sold to consumers, creating mass-produced products, targeted to the preferences of homogenous market segments. But in consumerspace, because all individuals chart their own identities by choosing the brands that speak directly to them, marketers must sell with the consumer. Given this transition, marketers cannot continue to view consumers as passive recipients of marketing information, but must understand that now they want to exert control over the what, when, where, and how of the information they receive.By exploring this process in depth, and examining what it looks like and how it works in the malls and Websites of our commercial world, Solomon provides marketers with some extraordinary insights that literally turn relationship marketing, micromarketing, permission marketing, 1:1 marketing, and even customer relationship marketing on their heads. Despite their objective of establishing two-way communication between companies and customers, they all, nonetheless, revolve around the marketer’s initiation of the relationship. In consumerspace, however, consumers are running the asylum: They are involving themselves in the marketing process, positioning the brand, creating brand identity, defining consumer expectations, controlling the dialogue, and defining the rules of the marketplace. They are, for all practical purposes, the marketer’s most critical "competitors." And, they are doing these things in unique and unprecedented ways.Solomon’s articulation of this new "Wonderland" via forays into consumer psychology and the sociology of the marketplace, serendipitous real-world examples, and unique contextual perspectives on the latest research offer the missing ingredients marketers may have sensed they need to succeed, but couldn’t quite identify until now. Just as importantly, these invaluable ingredients stand as the small beginnings of an ongoing exploration that promises to open up whole new vistas of marketing opportunities. Thus, understanding consumerspace, as it is depicted here, cannot help but provide marketers with a running head start in navigating and negotiating this future.