As marketers and advertisers we sometimes forget the most basic reason people use the digital medium. Convenience.
The user experience online has no parallel in the offline world. The offline experience is optimized in a whole other manner. If you read Paco Underhill’s wonderful insight into offline shopping strategy in “Call of the Mall” you can begin to understand that the mall, the closest analogous shopping experience to online, is optimized almost entirely opposite from the way online marketing should be approached.
Additionally, the investment that consumers need to make in offline is so much greater. So are the switching costs. This is why at its core online works. It is the greatest convenience tool for just about any discovery or recovery goal of users. Often however this is an overlooked strategic direction for performance based advertising and marketing.
Opportunities to leverage convenience:
• The ease of research
• The ease of comparison
• The ease of contribution
• The ease of communication
• The ease of sourcing
• The ease of purchase
If we think about it, much if not all of the above has been the fuel for the rise of Internet use, in particular search and social media. Ten years into the commercial web users now have preconceived notions of how helpful digital should be for them, as well as what will not be helpful. This makes up DNA of user expectations, an important understanding as we focus strategically on intent.
We know that in order to be successful on the web we need to meet and exceed user expectations. We know this expectation can change (e.g. the rise of the web as a passive entertainment medium). We also know that they vary based on segment.
The next time you think about your marketing strategies keep in mind the ways your business can leverage the convenience digital medium provides. If you don’t start now you also run the risk of playing catch-up when the convenience marketing goes up a magnitude of importance with the rise of mobile.
Convenience helps you connect to users on an emotional level as well as a practical one. It will improve your business results and add value to your brand.