The Consumer Knowledgeability Index (CKI) represents a buyer’s access to purchase-relevant information for a particular company or in a particular industry.

It is the measure of access to industry or company level information that helps along a high-involvement (research driven) purchase

This could be as simple as how much something costs or who the customers are for a company.

I have danced around the idea of the consumer knowledgeability index over the course of many years, but the concept became fully clear to me while writing a paper for a masters degree I am pursuing. Before I get to more background, here is the definition I wrote in my paper that spawned the term.

The customer in 2017 has more information at their fingertips than ever in history about airline prices and about any other product for that matter. I call this the consumer knowledgeability index (or the “CKI”).

The CKI represents a buyer’s access to information in a particular industry. In the passenger airline industry, the prices of airline seats for multiple airlines are readily available online, as are consumer reviews of the experience using them. In other words, the consumer knowledgeability index for airline ticket buyers is very high and rising every day.

When you only have a couple of hours to write a long paper, sometimes you are forced to confront and realize ideas that have been brewing for a while.

What work played a role in inspiring the Index?

On further reflection, it acts in concert, and was partially inspired by a concept introduced to me by Marcus Sheridan. Marcus spoke of the Content Saturation Index (CSI), which represents the amount of blog posts, wiki entries, videos, and other content written by businesses in a given industry; that ranks in Google and dominates potential buyer's searches.

What is the difference between these two "scores" or "Indexes"?

In my view, Marcus's CSI Index shows how hard it could potentially be for a given business (in a given industry) to reach a consumer with content they create and make available for anyone with a laptop and a decent set of googling hands.

In contrast, the Consumer Knowledgeability Index I developed is a measure of how hard is for a given consumer to find information about a company or a purchase they are actively looking for in the moment; given a laptop and a decent set of googling hands.

This gives a business a gauge for how hard it will be to trudge through and create more relevant content over time to get found.

These scores are interconnected, and need to be acknowledged by business strategists.

It's not just a "Micro" Concept

Senior executive's should continually rate, and have a handle on the consumer knowledgeability index for:
  1. Their Company
  2. Their Fiercest Competitors
  3. Their Industry at Large
  4. A few adjacent "unrelated" industries.
There will be more to come on this section later, however I will briefly explain the breadth here for points three and four.

Point Three: If a competitor is “outinforming” the consumer, managers may find them “outperforming” their earnings per share.

Point Four: Did you ever have your best idea for your business while reading a non-fiction book about another industry, or even a fictional one that novel that just sparked something in your brain? Industries do not all move at the same pace, but most industries move toward the future sooner or later. Pay attention to other industries to keep pace with what is happening online.

What's next for the Consumer Knowledgeability Index?

The Consumer Knowledgeability Index is a multidimensional quality that can be scored in multiple dimensions. There is more work to be done, but the following are categories to be considered:
  • Access to Pricing Information
  • Access to Reviews & Customer Experience
  • Access to Product Demos (whether you will show them or not!)
  • Access to Case Studies
  • Access to Alternatives to Your Plroduct
  • Access to Information About Situations Where Your product May Not be a Fit
The above list is still being refined. This is a work in progress. please subscribe or email chris at closedwon * com to get access to the upcoming closedwon newsletter.