Consumers’ digital habits are evolving faster than ever.
WRITTEN by: Emilie DeLong |
“Starbucks Corp. had $1.2 billion loaded onto Starbucks cards and the Starbucks mobile app as of first quarter 2016.” *
Can you imagine the reaction if you tried explaining this fact to someone 10 years ago, that in just a decade Starbucks will have larger customer deposits than many banks? Or that one-in-every-four people who walk into a Starbucks simply holds up a phone to be scanned, with no exchange of cash or credit? Seriously, just take a moment and think about explaining this in 2007, and the puzzled reaction you’d get from someone holding a Razr flip phone—because the first iPhone wouldn’t be released until June of that year.
Given this moment’s dramatic pace of change, how do we as marketers, keep up? How do we stay relevant, know where to be and what comes next? The answer is both simple and complicated.
Know your customer. Know their needs. Understand their problems. Listen to their questions. Respond to their complaints. In sum, the power lies in their hands—literally in the devices they hold. Customers now have the answers to almost any plausible question that pops into their head within a matter of seconds. If you don’t have the answers, they will find someone who does.
Starbucks knew and understood their customers’ needs before many of their customers knew it themselves. The company took the time to study habits, wants and frustrations, then developed a solution that could simplify the purchase process while rewarding loyalty.
Today, knowing your customer means knowing and understanding the technology they are using, how they are using it, and how it connects their physical world to their digital world. As technology evolves, so too are consumer needs. Case in point, roughly 20 percent of daily Google searches have never been searched before** – ever. Your customers are hungry for information. They want it now and they want it personalized and they are researching along every step of their decision-making process to get it.
Face it – content is no longer king; the customer has stolen the throne. Instead, content must be fluid enough to meet individual needs and be served on a variety of devices where and when consumers want it. And they want it yesterday. As Starbucks proved, the model has changed to predicting needs instead of simply meeting them.
Customers are no longer comparing their interactions with you to those of your competitors. They are comparing it to their experience with Amazon, Apple and Starbucks. You’re expected to keep up.
*Source: Starbucks has more customer money on cards than many banks have in deposits, MarketWatch, June 11, 2016
**Source: Marketing: 96 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts for 2016, Brandwatch, March 7, 2016