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:

  1. Improve your cus­tomer ser­vice and mech­a­nisms for com­plaint and feedback;
  2. Cre­ate and com­mu­ni­cate clear pri­vacy poli­cies for han­dling your customer’s data; and
  3. 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.