The Impulse Generation is defined by their attachment to the web and their fixation on mobile; meaning they don’t just know digital, they live it. From the second they wake up and check their email to the second they go to sleep and scroll through social; consumers are immersed in a digital, virtual world every day.
But how do you cater to their fast decision making, constant connectedness, high expectations and short attention spans?
We’re here to tell you it’s by building unique customer experiences within the digital landscape that innovate rather than imitate and instill value at every touchpoint.
This means brands need to become customer-obsessed – ultimately meeting (and exceeding) customer expectations at every stage of their digital journey. Brands that achieve this will be able to stand out in saturated markets and cut through the noise. In fact, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
But this customer-centric model hasn’t always been the key to success…
Shifting to the Consumer
We’ve gone through an evolution of what it means for brands to succeed – from the early 1900s to early 2000s. According to Forrester, in the age of manufacturing, industrial powerhouses like Ford and GE were successful, because they generated products in mass quantities.
In the age of distribution, brands like Toyota and UPS placed a heavy focus on transportation and circulation, which led to high visibility in the market. Then, the age of information brought tech giants, such as Capital One and Google into the spotlight, because they provided access to information through new channels and supply chain mechanisms.
This brings us to where we are today: the age of the customer. According to Forrester, this era empowers buyers and “creates an extraordinary opportunity for companies that could adapt and build an existential threat to those that could not.”
Due to this shift, brands like Amazon and Apple have seen success in this era, because they’ve provided access to services and technology that are tailored to consumers’ digital demands. This means today’s customers are the authority figures who will dictate the direction and outcome of today’s brands – big or small. And the majority agrees, with 89% of businesses soon to be expected to compete mainly on customer experience.
Building the Customer Experience
But how do you create the type of experience that disrupts a market, holds value, carries innovation, and exceeds customer expectations?
After listening to HubSpot’s CEO, Brian Halligan, speak at Inbound, we gained a few key takeaways to help your brand unleash an optimal customer experience:
Frictionless experiences are hassle-free, effortless interactions between brands and consumers – eliminating any extraneous work from the customer.
Customers have come to expect these frictionless experiences at every touchpoint because technology is faster, easier, and more convenient to use.
For instance, an iPhone user is able to purchase a ticket to a sports game and instantly see it in their Apple Wallet. But if they had to go to the email after purchasing, scroll to the bottom of the confirmation email, and then enter their password to put the ticket into their Apple Wallet, there would be an unnecessary amount of friction involved.
As a device-defined society, the Impulse Generation demands an experience that leverages technology and removes friction during every engagement.
Members of the Impulse Generation expect hyper-relevant content delivered in their favorite formats – and if it’s not relevant, the majority of customers won’t engage. In fact, 72% of customers only engage with customized content.
This means personalizing the experience is critical to attracting today’s customers.
One way to personalize is to align ad targeting with past purchases and online behaviors. 33% of users say they would spend more time with ad content if they could customize it to their interests. By keeping ads, content, and messaging highly relevant to consumers, you’ll be sure to commend their attention and drive them closer to conversion.
Get Experience-Market Fit
Brands need to remain experience-market fit in order to stand out from competition. This means creating experiences unparalleled in the market that consumers are seeking.
For example, Square saw a need in the payment market that wasn’t being met by well-established brands like Visa, MasterCard and American Express. They found that nearly 13 million small businesses did not accept credit cards, but their customers wished they did. So, Square created a new experience in a market that piqued the interest of consumers seeking this form of payment.
Therefore, brands that drive innovative experiences in their respective markets will unlock greater opportunities for growth.
Exceptional Customer Experiences
Today’s brands are required to build a customer experience that brings value – ultimately empowering consumers.
This begs the question... is the Impulse Generation a product of distraction from too many options? Or is it that consumers are responding to having authority that they’ve never had before?
In any case, members of the Impulse Generation are exercising their wants and acting on their digital impulses with the brands that are most in line with them.
So, by becoming a seamless extension of your customers’ daily routines, and building experiences that are personalized, frictionless, and experience-market fit, you’ll be the brand at the top of the list for today’s consumers and beyond.