Sophisticated, demanding mobile customers: Ready or not, here they come!

A few weeks ago, my dad and I were talking about the policy on airplanes to turn off all devices from the time the door closes until the plane has reached 10,000 feet. 

My point: I don’t have a problem powering down for 15 or 20 minutes. It’s when we get delayed on the tarmac for an hour or two that I get antsy, though lately the pilots seem to let you reconnect while you wait for take-off. 

His point: “I don’t see why people feel the need to be connected all the time anyway.”  

A predictable response based on generational differences? Perhaps. But what made it a particularly interesting comment is that he said it while using his iPhone to find the least traffic-ridden route home to CT from NJ. 

This, then, is the mobile mind shift: The expectation that the info you need is available whenever you need it on any appropriate device — without having to make a conscious effort to stop what you’re doing, decide which device to use, turn it on, scroll, click, etc., and eventually find what you’re looking for. You want to know what the traffic’s like? Here’s the map. You want a table for dinner? Reserved. You want to know the weather? Done. 

The result is a customer with extremely high expectations that you must be ready to meet, or risk irrelevance. The key to serving these customers will be to shorten the distance between what they want and what they get; to refocus your marketing efforts to deliver utility at speed; to make your customers’ lives better rather than just making your messaging better.

A taste of this research is available in the video below, but I’ll be sharing much more detail in my speech at Forrester’s Forum for Marketing Leaders in Los Angeles on April 18th.   


It's almost comparable to

It's almost comparable to site speed expectations and what we perceive to be an "acceptable" loading time for a page. In the not-so-distant past, 5-6 and even 7-10 seconds was relatively acceptable for a web page load time, and even the most savvy and geeky internet users were willing to bite this bullet at the time (as if they had a choice!).

Now, the focus has changed completely, and any site that takes more than a few seconds to load is viewed as having a "frustrating" user experience. As a result, companies like Yottaa! and other site-speed optimizers have drilled this concept down into an eternal "must" for any e-commerce site (in general).

The same applies here based on what you've said: Most of us are firmly confident in the Smartphone ability to be "anywhere, anytime", and despite the simple expectations of the past (e-mail sync, standard web browsing, touch screens), we have near-unrealistic expectations for the smartphones of tomorrow. The expectations have followed with the development of the mobile sphere, and frankly, I might even call myself a brat as I curse at any semi-responsive mobile application.

My attention span is actually halved on my Smartphone in comparison to my laptop, and this is amplified when an app or service malfunctions. An on-the-go device with a stuttering application or unresponsive browser? Sounds useless to me. If my New York Times application doesn't instantly load on the first stop in my "train journey", I might abandon the news altogether and jump to the ESPN Radio Application for the duration of the ride (that is, if it doesn't also crash!). I'm twice as likely to abandon a downloaded app if I sense any hiccups on the first startup/load. Without going further, you've really hit the nail on the head with this observation Melissa.

Thanks for your comment!

Thanks for your comment! What you say about the migration of our expectations is so true. What seemed super-fast a couple of years ago is now frustratingly slow. Speaking of which, I was struck by the comment today at Facebook's announcement about the Home application suite that "the problem with apps is that they're still a click away."