The fine folks over at CivicScience have just released the results of their research on American’s technology usage habits. It turns out that over 40% of people are never, ever unplugged: through their smartphones, these individuals are perpetually connected to social media, email, messaging platforms and apps. Another 17% only log off a few times a year, and 20 % log off completely at least monthly. One out of every 5 people reports logging off every day.
Let’s think through what this state of near perpetual connection means in terms of marketing your business. In terms of cultural norms, we’ve seen that people expect to have all kinds of information available to them the instant they think about wanting it while they simultaneously resent demands upon their attention. In other words, there’s tremendous hunger for content, but the customer wants to be wholly in charge of the experience.
This makes having a content-rich website and social media presence essential; the depth of content must answer your customer’s most common questions and concerns while the dynamism of your social media presence creates engagement and attracts interest. Just presenting this information isn’t enough, however. We’re business owners, not philanthropic organizations. The content needs to be strategically partnered with well-designed and compelling calls to action that move customers into sales channels effectively and consistently.
We also have to think about the problem of overwhelm. Even though the amount of data currently in existence is more than double what it was just two short years ago, our capacity to process that data remains the same. Clear, concise communications are essential as our customers are willing to give only a handful of seconds to anything that captures their attention. We have to be faster if we want to go further.
Once upon a time, business owners were challenged to create an elevator speech, where you had a minute and a half to communicate everything essential a listener needed to know about your brand. Today, you have five seconds – maybe. How much can you say in three words or less? Obviously, visual cues become much more important in this environment: the images, color and design choices you make now are more important than they’ve ever been.
To serve the always on customer, we need to provide a deeper, richer experience, when the customer wants it, with exceptional speed and professionalism. It’s a challenge, but it’s one that will, when met successfully, deliver rich rewards. The numbers of people who are always on will continue to grow, day by day, year by year. The time to develop best practices and focus on marketing to the perpetually connected customer is now.