In the old days, marketers were in control. They might not admit it publicly, but many of them privately described their trade as a form of manipulation designed to talk consumers into acting in specific ways. Companies told consumers what products they needed and give consumers instructions about how to buy those products. It was that way for a very long time.
But the arrival of social media changed the playing field considerably. Combined with better-informed consumers, social media moved the power from the marketer to the consumer. It transformed small local conversations among friends to international discussions that can quickly make or break a company’s reputation.