How identifying and tailoring is required to be successful in today’s digital economy.
Through years of advising businesses how to succeed in the ultra-competitive, user driven digital economy, one thing above all else has become abundantly clear. If you don’t give people exactly what they want, when they want it, then you’ve lost them. Probably forever.
Think about it – we all use the internet to buy things and make purchase decisions. We’re spoiled for choice, and we expect brands and retailers to speak to us as though we’re the only person in the world that matters. If they don’t do that, we’re off.
When we start the process off with a Google search, we click a link and if we’re not happy, we click the back button and go somewhere else. We then pogo-stick until we find the solution that fits our need precisely.
Since we know this (because we do it), it seems odd that so many brands still provide a one-size-fits-all experience. Meaning that content, design, and overall experience doesn’t take into account that some users are different than others.
Sometimes the variations in your audience groups are subtle. Sometimes not so much. Regardless, they are different, and if you want to win their attention, let alone their business, then you need to be providing an experience that feels as though it is intended for them.
Now, that’s not to say that you need to completely redesign your brand or your business to fit the preferences of different users. In-fact, most should remain the same. However, investing a little time, thought, effort and budget into something that could be the difference between succeeding and failing seems like a really good idea.
In other words, with consumer expectations sky high, brands can no longer expect to survive unless they’re able to provide an online experience that immediately resonates with a user, and convinces them that you are qualified to solve their problem.
Think of a manufacturer that sells direct to a consumer through an eCommerce platform, but also sells wholesale to retail. These are two fundamentally different audiences, with different informational needs.
Alternatively, think about an accountant that on one hand prepares annual tax returns for individuals, but also provides corporate payroll services. If they are to successfully generate business online for both customer types, they need to create authority and convince both that they are qualified. Failure to do so inevitably leads to lost opportunities.
In both examples, you could argue that one type of customer doesn’t really care less bout the other, so why have a content ecosystem and online experiences that don’t accept that audiences are different? It doesn’t make sense.
There are countless other examples to which this concept can be applied. In fact, to varying degrees it could, and probably should be applied to every brand, business and organization out there.
So, what’s the solution?
If we use the example of the accountant who is interested in generating both business and end-user customers, this could simply mean creating several pieces of highly-relevant, valuable online content (blog posts, videos, relevant accreditation and testimonials), and linking them together in a way that is easy for the target audience to locate and consume. Then separating/removing less-relevant content that doesn’t really apply.
Of course, this can be taken a step or two further, or really as far as you want to take it. Whatever you deem the most appropriate solution to be, my advice would be to approach this in the following ways:
1. Clearly outline your business goals
For example, if you wish to go after a secondary, or new market, then write this down. If you want to increase market share of an existing audience type, then write it down. Performing this simple task will make it much easier to create an user experience strategy.
2. Create a profile for each audience category
Really think about who they are, make a note of what you believe their informational needs, and research their online and purchase decision habits. The more you know about these user categories, and the more specifically you can segment them, the more effective your online marketing will become, since it will allow you to better empathize, and create experiences and content specifically for them.
3. List core tasks
Once you have created your audience profiles, list the core tasks which each will want to complete (and you want them to complete), and then test to see how simple they are to complete. Then, see what measures can be taken to simplify these tasks. This is particularly important for mobile, given the context of the visit.
Make no mistake, unless you’re able to get this down, you will miss opportunities to win new customers, and given that people are becoming increasingly less tolerant of substandard brand experiences, the importance of getting this right is only going to become greater.