Have you ever had to wait so long for an Uber that you decided to order a Lyft instead? If you have, you are certainly not alone. In his research, Altimeter Group principal analyst Brian Solis found that New Yorkers will only wait about 5 minutes before swapping apps. During his keynote presentation at Demand Gen Report’s 2018 B2B Marketing Exchange, Solis argues that impatience is just one behavior companies like Uber, Lyft and Tinder have sparked in all of our buyers.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, on some level, you are competing with companies like these every day because they are the ones setting the standards for what it means to interact with a brand. It is the experiences we have with these brands that influence what we come to expect of all others we come in contact with moving forward.
The common denominator between these disruptive brands is their use of marketing technology, which Solis so accurately points out has completely reinvented how we engage with our customers, how they connect with their own customers and, ultimately, how we all make decisions.
Knowing that digital plays an important role in the modern decision-making journey, Solis got me thinking. Beyond making us impatient, what else have we come to expect of the digital experiences we encounter? What can we deliver to our users that will prevent them from “opening the next app?” I would argue we should take 3 P’s into consideration: Performance, Personalization and Participation.
Solis already touched on the desire to get instant access to the services, or information, we’re looking for. Now couple that with the influence mobile has on how we consume said services and information. I mean, we’ve all heard stats like these before:
- Mobile devices will account for 73% of Internet consumption in 2018 (Zenith).
- 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load (Google).
- Mobile is influencing an average of more than 40% of B2B revenue (BCG).
Knowing the stakes are high, but connections and Wi-Fi strength are likely low, you’re probably wondering, “How am I supposed to deliver an amazing experience that performs well enough to actually be experienced?” I often wonder the same thing, which is why I’ve been so intrigued by the idea of Progressive Web Apps.
PWAs provide all the benefits that native apps and mobile sites deliver, without any of their shortcomings; they are fractions of a percentage of the size of their counterparts, and lightning speeds faster – which seems like the perfect combination when trying to capture attention and encourage engagement. Because, remember, 3 seconds (let alone 5 minutes) is far too long to wait for what we want right now.
You know what else we don’t have time for? Anything that is not relevant to us. Companies now have access to so much data about their customers that it’s expected they’ll do something useful with it.
If a business has my name, email and company, I’m going to hold it accountable for providing some level of personalization to the interactions I have with its brand, especially if I’ve also clued it into my particular interests. And if I haven’t explicitly done this, I still expect the organization to learn something about me that will make my interactions with it more valuable. If it doesn’t take the initiative to do this, I won’t pay much attention. I’ll be too busy being bombarded by those who are.
I’m also going to want the experience to be less about the brand itself, or what it wants me to know about its company, and more about me, the challenges I’m facing and how it’s going to help me tackle them. Solis says that this is where empathy comes in. We need to take our buyers’ lives as regular human beings into consideration. We also need to understand the journey they took to get to us, the one they’ll have after they come into contact with us, and what we’ll do to connect the two.
This might mean delivering the right content, at the right time, in the right format. It could also mean inviting buyers to the right events or introducing them to the right people. Digital can be the common thread between all of these interactions – a method for generating awareness, driving consideration or following up, depending on where they are in their decision-making journey.
Use what you know about them to make their jobs lives easier. Stroke their ego; make them look good. Do something to make them grasp how well you know them, and why you’re the only one who can anticipate their needs in this way.
Finally, find a way to allow your buyers to become active participants in the experiences you’re creating. Whether it’s swiping right, joining the conversation or posting a photo, buyers are empowered every day to contribute to the interactions they have with brands. In fact, if they aren’t invited to participate, it’s likely they’ll end up bored or disappointed!
Conversational User Interfaces are now providing brands with an interesting way to encourage users to guide their navigation of the brand’s website or digital properties, using their own natural language.
I received an email the other day from Capital One introducing me to Eno, its new intelligent assistant that helps customers check account balances, get bill due dates, pay their credit card bill and more. B2B brands are also jumping on the bandwagon to deliver relevant content as well as allow users to tell them exactly what they’re looking for.
Another way to encourage participation is by letting your users contribute to the actual design. User testing helps companies determine if the experience they’ve created translates appropriately to its visitors. If they aren’t able to find the information they’re looking for, in the time they expect to find it, you can make tweaks as necessary to improve the experience.
PSOs often test internally, but consider asking some of your clients, or even prospects, to take your site for a test drive next time. It could become one more way to build empathy for their process and journey.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that our buyers are humans. We should spend some time understanding their world, their preferences, their needs and their contributions to the relationship we’re building with them. The 3 P’s will help you ask the right questions, build a powerful, yet accessible, experience, and invite the perfect amount of interaction to ensure your buyers aren’t even thinking about the other options available to them.