7 Game-Changing Customer Trends for 2011

We all know that time and attention are scarce resources today. But what impact does this have on customer buying behavior in today's markets? Here's my take on 7 trends driven by Time-onomics that will play a prominent role in 2011:

  1. Demand for Instant Evaluation Metrics Explodes: Whether it's a new product, business acquaintance, or employee, consumers want to size things up quickly. The demand for better filters to triage time and attention will increase with consumers looking to recommendations from social networks, social scores (e.g. Klout, PeerIndex, Twinfluence), product reviews, and location-based services. Marketers will need to devote more resources to managing their social and algorithmic influence architecture in order to land sales.
  2. The Inattention Economy Expands: Information overload continues to escalate. To cope, people seek ways to minimize demands on their attention. Rather than getting louder and annoying customers, many savvy companies are reducing attention requirements of their offerings, for instance through automatic subscriptions, system defaults, or attention-free offerings (e.g. robotic vacuums, automatic bill pay). Such businesses will profit handsomely from repeat customers too busy to hassle with evaluating alternatives. Learn more about the Inattention Economy here.
  3. Time Wars Continue to Escalate: The battle for a share of scarce customer time and attention by Internet, media, and on-line and off-line commerce providers will continue to rage in 2011 and beyond. Why? Because more time means more money. Expect Facebook, Google, Comcast, Apple, Disney, Walmart, Samsung and others to continue treading on each others domains in an effort to capture more precious minutes. Of course, thousands of others will try to use social gaming, social commerce, and mobile technologies to try to carve out a piece of the customers' 24 hours for themselves. Every business will begin to devote more resources to managing the many new intermediaries to customer time and attention that are springing up (for example, a consumer packaged goods company launching in-game promotions with a social gaming company like Zynga).
  4. On-The-Spot Pricing Takes Hold: Over the holidays, the use of mobile tech to access coupons and competitive pricing while in stores exploded. Getting a customer into the store isn't a win anymore. Meanwhile, Groupon and others with daily deep-discount offers became fashionable. In other words, competitive barriers continued to collapse, and pricing power fell another notch. Marketers will need to adapt to instant price and feature comparisons everywhere and deploy more creative on-the spot promotion and pricing strategies.
  5. Instant Gratification Rules: Customer impatience is at an all-time high. Any transaction, set-up time, delivery, customer service request, or transition that doesn't move as fast as the customer's perception of value and need will be abandoned. Customers really don't care about a company's disparate departments, systems and databases. YP.com's new tagline says it all, "Click Less, Live More."
  6. Triggers and Habits Matter: As I have shared in prior posts, almost half of peoples' days are routine and habitual. Research has shown that stress increases habitual behavior. Companies need to consider how to either insert a new offering into an existing routine or how to create truly disruptive value that justifies breaking an old and building a new habit. Triggers grease the skids for new product or service adoption. I've written about triggers here.
  7. Connecting Life Dots: To date, most mobile apps have been point solutions and behavioral efforts have been based on "in the moment" interest or on a social graph. The next step, which we'll begin to see in 2011, is integrated applications that predict where customers will go next, and align with the way customers multitask with multiple technologies. This involves connecting the many pieces of a customer's life into cohesive customer ecosystems. We'll see more efforts such as J&J's SymCare Personalized Health Solutions, Cisco Videoscape, Nike+ GPS, Vail Resort's EpicMix app and automatic pantry replenishment services to serve the "just-in-time" consumer. Building such customer ecosystems involves integrating historically disparate virtual and physical categories, disparate industries and disparate technologies.

Library Journal says Adrian Ott is, "revolutionizing marketing by adding the concept of time." She is the award-winning author of  The 24-Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved, Always-Connected Economy and CEO of Exponential Edge® Inc. consulting. Follow Adrian on Twitter at @ExponentialEdge.

©2011 Exponential Edge, Inc., All Rights Reserved

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1 Comments

  • Josh Patrick

    The way to get your message heard, especially if you're a small company is by working in micro-niches. These are the long tails that exist in every market segment. If you like statistics you want to think three to four standard deviations off the norm. There might only be 200 people in the country who are interested in what you do, but if it's the right 200 people you can do very well.

    Once you attract your first micro-niche, it's important to think about what the next one might be. The successful companies for the next few years will be those who not only concentrate on what their first niche is but have the ability to develop and exploit other niches along the way.

    Josh Patrick
    www.stage2solution.com
    www.stage2planning.com