Why You Must Understand the Perpetually Connected Customer: Part I
Perpetuals are virtually everywhere.
These perpetually connected customers are for the most part young (18–34 year olds) and well educated, earning an average income of over $110,000 and spending the most money online. Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff explains it this way: “Almost four out of five have a tablet in addition to their smartphone or phones. They connect from anywhere, frequently, and use nearly every possible type of app.” Clearly, we need to understand how to reach this valuable consumer segment.
In today’s blog post I will introduce you to the perpetuals and provide three key strategies to better connect your business to their hearts, minds, and credit cards.
Meet Generation C for Connectedness
In his 2011 book The End of Business as Usual, digital analyst and futurist Brian Solis calls this group of customers Generation C for “connectedness.” As he further writes on his blog, they are “anyone who places increasing emphasis on technology as part of their daily routine.” This group is both growing and breaking stereotypical demographics. These aren’t just the “youth” or the Millennials anymore (though they are still the majority age group within the perpetuals). Generation C includes anyone who prioritizes technology and its manifold benefits.
So how do you connect with these multitasking, screen-manipulating, fast-moving technologists? You must do one of the following three things to connect with perpetuals.
1) Understand Their Immunities to Traditional Marketing
Our bodies build up immunities to fight colds or diseases that attack our systems. In the same way, perpetuals have built up immunities to traditional marketing, fighting against “attacks” on their attempts at connectivity. As marketers, we can’t just throw an ad up on their screen and call it good.
Take for example a perpetual who logs onto Facebook to connect with friends and finds an ad from a nationwide sandwich chain at the top of their feed. This perpetual hasn’t “liked” the chain, but there it is: a traditional marketing ploy, the ubiquitous banner ad. Sure, the perpetual can click “Report story or spam,” but it’s too late. Irritation has already occurred and the perpetual’s precious time has been wasted. The brand and the business take a hit.
Remember that you must think of alternatives to traditional marketing for this group. This requires a paradigm shift on the marketer’s part. A banner could offer perpetuals something of benefit such as a free drink or sandwich with the download of the company’s mobile app. That’s an example of working around perpetuals’ immunities and providing real value to drive customer acquisition via a mobile app download.
2) Think About How to Regain Their Trust
We have all experienced broken trust. This scenario happens when you’ve been hurt by someone who you counted on. In the business scenario, perpetuals count on you to deliver the information that they need when they need it. You may have broken their trust as a result of failing to deliver services or a lack of high tech solutions that ended in frustration for the perpetual. For example, they may have experienced an outage with their home Internet service provider and tried to request more info via their smartphone (since the PC does not have a connection). However, instead of giving them a mobile friendly website, the service provider offers a desktop website that is impossible to navigate.
The Mobile Mindshift Index report explains it this way: “Every successful request you make trains your mind. As a result, you don’t just expect information or service to be available from those companies, you demand it. Any obstacle between you and what you seek is unacceptable. Loyalty goes to companies that support you in those demands, while you’ll dump the others in a heartbeat if there’s a more connected alternative.”
Whatever scenario broke the trust, it is imperative that you fix it. Today, you must focus on regaining the trust of the perpetuals. J-P De Clerck, a digital business/marketing strategist, explains that regaining trust can be as simple as these steps:
- Improve your customer service and mechanisms for complaint and feedback;
- Create and communicate clear privacy policies for handling your customer’s data; and
- Increase the user-friendliness factor of your apps, website, and more.
3) Rise to Their Level of Expectation
Perpetuals expect, demand, and judge.
Repeat that like a mantra in your head. If you don’t, you won’t meet their expectations. Heed the warning from Forrester’s Josh Bernoff: “If you’re there to deliver for them, they’ll stick with you. If not, they’ll dump you for someone else.” According to Forrester, people such as perpetuals who are the “first adopters” of the latest technology
- expect service and information on any device in any context,
- demand service and information on any device in any context, and
- judge companies based on their level of service.
This change in the attitudes of consumers is commonly referred to as “the mobile mindshift.”
This week my challenge to you is to think about how to engage with these three business principles. Next week, I’ll provide you with three more ideas. In the meantime, remember you must rise to their level of expectation. If you don’t, they’ll disappear from your customer base just like the typewriter has disappeared from offices around the world.