Five Ways to Engage With the Hyper-Connected Customer

Technology is ubiquitous and how it has taken over our lives is astounding. Today, it might be a better idea not to check whether someone is connected, but with how many devices they connect to the Internet each day, and for how long.

woman holding coffee cup looking at interactive white board

In 2014, the number of mobile devices connected to the Internet surpassed the world’s entire population.  Also, the average attention span of a consumer has dropped to an average of 8 seconds.  This means it is more important than ever for companies and marketing teams to reach out to this hyper-connected customer in new, innovative ways that match their expectations. Let’s discuss a few ways in which we can positively impact the connection.

User Experience as a Competitive Differentiator

If a customer is always connected, they will expect the same from a company. Unreliable access to a service or a product online is not an option. In this context, “unreliable” also includes overall user experience. Organizations know this – Customer Experience Insight says that 95% of all CEOs indicate user experience is a potential competitive differentiator. But then why do only 37% have a budget dedicated to it?

Whether it is a question of penny-pinching with the marketing budget, or whether it’s uncertainty if user experience efforts should go on the IT budget, it’s certain that user experience optimizations have a positive impact. Better usability makes the connected customer’s life easier, information more easily found and services more frequently used.

Technology innovations embraced by a wide audience have always relied on a selling point that they make consumers’ lives better. The same logic should be true for the technology that businesses use to reach out to customers and for ongoing communication.

Level Up: Gamification

One way companies innovate in this field is with gamification. Essentially, this isn’t very different from coupons and classic customer loyalty programs, but they add a new element to the mix. For an increasing subset of customers, games and interactivity are a given, so it is no surprise that adding this element to user experience will pull in more people in that segment.

While there is no surefire way to guarantee more customer interaction through user experience or gamification, best practices from game design could help out companies. Interactivity is game designers’ core business, after all.

  • Use your audience’s prior experiences to your advantage: for instance, people already understand that the ‘thumbs up’ icon means liking, supporting or improving something.
  • Create a sense of ownership: mostly, this is through personalization. It makes people feel they have a stake in how they interact with you.
  • Dare to be different: standing out with a unique design that many people like and some will dislike is better than to arouse no feelings at all.
  • Design for the right audiences: while an API section on a website should speak to developers, a notification system for users on the go has to be brief and to the point.

You Don’t Need to Change Much to Change a Lot

The most crucial point is that you don’t need to change much to change a lot. Innovation isn’t (always) rocket science. Game changers often start out small. Uber started from the idea that all it should take is one tap or click to call up a taxi. As a consequence, it eliminated centralized management structures and shortened the channel from customer to driver. Small changes can snowball into big disruptions.

It isn’t all about cutting and trimming, however. Some airline companies fight the low-cost competition by offering an end-to-end travel experience, with personal care, taxi and hotel reservations included in the offer.

Content Is Always King

Inbound marketing, or content marketing, is another way to maximize the connection to your customer by offering SEO-friendly content. No matter how well-honed a contact strategy, product positioning or a company’s use of channels is, content is what draws people in. As Michael Volkmann of iDea Group says: “For Google, content is king. For social media, too, content is king. For consumers, content is king.”

The hyper-connected customer navigates more channels than ever, so content should be optimized for each channel. More and more channels are popping up. Companies are experimenting with content on SnapChat or pay social media influencers to fulfill the role of market developers.

In Summary

Attracting the hyper-connected customer can be done in many ways, but here are the five things from the article that stand out:

  1. User experience makes a difference
  2. Gamification can be an asset to draw in people
  3. Game design offers many valuable lessons for marketing
  4. Innovation often starts out small
  5. Content is still the undisputed king

We are living in the 4th industrial revolution and our customer’s expectations have changed. Share with us how you have driven innovation in your organizations to better delight customers.