While plenty of articles and blog posts agree that the term ‘Information Age’ became outdated several years ago, there is yet to be a clear consensus on a defining moniker for today’s particular use of information and expectations around getting it.
Popular suggestions include:
- ‘The Age of Knowledge’, highlighting the validation of information through combining different sources
- ‘The Age Of Recommendation’, emphasising the short cuts personal recommendations offer in a world of information overload
- ‘The Age Of Connection’, focusing on how technology allows us to connect in a multitude of ways
We may live in a more connected world, but in his latest book REWIRE, Ethan Zuckerman is keen to point out how this doesn’t necessarily lead to more human connections. And while all the above provide insights into information searching, sharing and validation, they don’t focus enough on people’s expectations about accessing very specific info, and how their desire to act is affected by the speed at which they can get this.
‘THE AGE OF IMMEDIACY’ – A PRACTICAL APPROACH
With the strong growth of mobile technology, particularly GPS, messaging and apps, we propose ‘The Age Of Immediacy’ as a more straightforward and practical approach for service-oriented businesses. The Age of Immediacy is driven by 2 key factors:
- The increasing need for ‘actionable information on demand’ (think Shazam, YPlan, and WTFshouldIgofordrinks)
- The popularity of quick, concise communication (think Twitter, general status updates and more people using their phone for text messaging than calling)
As more and more technologies and services provide these, they set new standards of speed, efficiency and interactivity people come to expect by default. It’s all about optimising the here and now and not letting opportunities go to waste because of unnecessary barriers that could result in someone thinking “Never mind”, or “I’ll try later” – only to forget. As usability expert Steve Krug pointed out in his book ‘Don’t Make Me Think’, people only have a limited reservoir of goodwill and patience, and coming up against barriers easily depletes that. In an increasingly mobile world, that could easily mean taking their business elsewhere.
As a business, ask yourself how the idea of immediacy applies to you: what specific information do your customers want, what’s the easiest way to get it directly to them without them having to search, and how can you prompt them into action right there and then? For a hairdresser it might be an available appointment, for a beauty therapist a special offer, for a dentist an appointment reminder. But it also works the other way: what information would they provide you with if it were immediate? For the therapist it could be a testimonial or answers to a survey, for a hotel a room service order, for an insurance company info to process a claim. And what if they wanted to recommend you to a friend? What barriers are currently not allowing customers to do this in an instant, wherever they are?
One example of a barrier some of our clients keep coming across is customers simply having to pick up the phone – they don’t like waiting for the phone to ring, being put on hold, going through a switchboard or making small talk. Why not allow them to fire off a quick message and move on with life? In the case of a customer wanting to make an appointment for an intimate waxing treatment, that would also provide a more discreet option and take away the need to find a private moment.
IMMEDIACY AGE SOLUTIONS
The Age of Immediacy is all about having a sound understanding of the key info your customers are looking to action, and offering the convenience of doing this in the easiest possible way. gappt-powered apps give you ‘Immediacy Age’-proof mobile marketing tools that allow you to do just that. Due to their highly flexible and interactive nature, they can be structured around you and your customers’ specific information and communication needs, and help optimise the power of Now. And think of the alternatives to the Now not as the past and the future, but as the Possibly Maybe and the Not At All. Where would you prefer to meet your customers?
If you want to action the information in this blog post, you can do so right now by starting a free trial with no obligations whatsoever, or call us on 020 7493 0333. To see an example scenario of interactions through our platform, check the gappt homepage.
And let us know your thoughts on this post – what barriers would you like to remove? How would you describe this current ‘Age’? What solutions do you recommend to make the most of Now?