People are not very patient. Actually, let me rephrase…I am not very patient (although I doubt I am alone in that statement). As a consumer, I rely on technology every day and I’ve come to expect quick results. If I have a question, I don’t drive to the library – I consult Google. If I need to buy something, I pick up my phone and order online (store pickup is my new best friend). No more fighting crowds or even waiting 5-7 business days to get my kids’ school supplies (extra kudos to the Target team for having my notebooks and crayons waiting for me at the front counter). I haven’t bought stamps in months, even my bills are paid online. Technology has made a lot of things more convenient and consumers have come to expect that convenience. But in this age of technology and instant gratification, do we risk the loss of personal experiences and customer relationships? It can, if you’re not careful.
It’s all about knowing your audience. I have two kids. They are growing up with smart phones and tablets and, in a lot of ways they can be just as impatient as I am. But to them, sometimes an awesome experience is more important than instant gratification. Like many kids, they are enamored with technology, and presents and adventures. At ages 11 and 8, their lives are simple. Summer vacation is almost over, so their attention has turned to the next logical subject – Christmas. Christmas in our house is a little different; as are birthdays and anniversaries. We don’t buy or exchange gifts. We put our money towards adventures throughout the year; vacations, sports tickets, concerts and so on. Every birthday, we give them the option; a party with your friends or an adventure with the family. I can say that we haven’t planned many birthday parties. To them, the experience means more than the instant gratification of a gift to unwrap, more than a “thing.” This year, we went to a Colorado Rockies game & we’ll be at a Luke Bryan concert. Happy birthday kids! They’ve already started planning next summer’s “Christmas Vacation.” For them, it’s a simple choice – the instant gratification of a “thing” or an experience. For a consumer, sometimes you need both.
In today’s digital world, it’s important to merge the need for instant gratification and the connection of an experience. How can you use technology to give people what they want, when they want it and still create the relationship that they need to come back? The best thing that you can do is know your audience. Know what they want, inside and out. How can you stand out to them and satisfy their need for a quick transaction? And how can you connect with them to keep them coming back to you? In a world of posts, emails, pictures and websites, what can you do to create a human connection? Maybe it’s a handwritten note. Or a quick call. Or, maybe the experience is the convenience – it’s simply delivering on their immediate needs, and doing it well. Whatever it is for your audience, the key is planning. The key is knowing exactly who your audience is, and being proactive in your digital strategy – not reactive to evolving technology.
As a business owner and marketer, it’s not as simple as one or the other – instant gratification or an experience. You have to balance both. You need to reel your readers in with the lure of convenience and keep them coming back to establish the relationship. With technology, you are competing against thousands of brands, ads, stores, emails, posts and pictures. It can be hard to slow down and plan out the experience. So much of our daily lives revolve around the desire for instant gratification. Here at Kolbeco, we can help you to be cause oriented in your digital strategy – to focus on your brand, live to your mission, and strategize the solution to reach your audience with the experience that they need. You may only get one second to grab a reader’s attention, but the planning and thought behind your digital presence and customer experience could make the difference between being a one-time shop and a new go-to staple.