Last time we talked I finished with the idea that “in an effort to create stuff that appealed to everyone we were left with a world full of junk.” I’ve talked about it in terms of advertising in the past, but this is much bigger. Much of the time we find ourselves waist deep in corporate crap.
Though mediocrity is hardly ever cited as the part of the equation, it has doubtlessly played a large role in the rise of so many small businesses. Most of the corporations producing consumer goods have been doing so for a long time. They grew up in an era of limited choice and complete control. They could afford to make shitty stuff because people didn’t have any other options. Now we do, and we’re demanding better.
First we are moving from a world of relatively scarce shelf-space to relatively scarce attention. Second costs of production and physical distribution are significantly declining on a global scale and customer acquisition and retention costs are rising. At the risk of over-simplification, value creation is shifting from business driven by economies of scale in production to businesses driven by economies of scope in customer relationships. Layer in a third factor at work — the systematic and significant decline in interaction costs that make it easer for customers to identify vendors, find information about them, negotiate with them, monitor their performance and switch from one vendor to another if they are not satisfied with performance.
Basically, today we have unlimited shelf space. With unlimited shelf space comes unlimited information. Unlimited information and limited attention don’t always play nice together. The companies that will succeed are the ones that realize this and create products and brand experiences for a world where attention is the scarcest commodity. If you don’t do it, we’ll go find someone else who will. Simple as that.
So what’s the answer? Well, it’s got to be great experiences. One of the largest opportunities I see in the marketing world is to enter the equation earlier and bake a great experience into every product. If your company can pull it off and create said ‘great customer experience,’ it’s never been easier to build an audience. After all, in blogs influentials finally have an audience to call their own. Create great stuff and we’ll talk about you until the cows come home.
Better yet, though, help us get attention and we’ll give you all the content you want for free. “Rather than just focusing on how to get attention, vendors might also want to consider how they can help their customers receive attention that is important to them and not just from the vendor, but from others that matter to the customers,” Hagel says.
Listen to us, speak to us like human beings and answer our calls in reasonable time. It’s really not all that much to ask.