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From online shopping to dating apps, instant gratification is transforming how business meets consumer needs.

The world market is constantly evolving due to changes in consumer behavior. One behavior that perhaps may be the most influential on how businesses make decisions today is the growing need for instant gratification. Technology has not only accelerated and advanced the market place, but has also influenced consumers’ expectations, leading to this need for immediate satisfaction; according to a study by Fetch in 2017, “52% of millennials are more impatient today than they were five years ago due to their reliance on technology.” To better demonstrate this, Statista recorded the average digital actions that take place within 60 seconds in 2017. In just one minute, 65,000 photos were uploaded to Instagram, 3.8 million searches were made on Google, 400 hours of video were uploaded on to YouTube, and the list keeps going. Already we have seen major alterations in services to meet the demands of these new behaviors such as Amazon’s same day shipping and chat boxes for online customer service. So, with that being said, how should marketing managers begin to think about this behavior in relation to marketing tactics?

A recent article by Forbes discusses some critical points marketing managers need to keep in mind as this trend continues. First and foremost, managers need to not only think fast but act fast. Goods and services are being traded at a faster than ever rate. Trends and styles are coming and going. With this emerges small opportunities that if marketers respond quickly enough, incremental revenue can be increased. Forbes refers to Instagram as an example. A few years ago, there were hardly any business profiles on the social media platform, and those who were reaped the benefit of immediate social interaction with consumers in a primarily non-business environment. Today, however, this is no longer the case; Currently there 25 million business accounts on Instagram.

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Credit: Instagram

Instant gratification is not specific to any industry either. From dating apps such as Tinder to Uber Eats, companies have recognized the critical relationship between this behavior and their success. In order for marketers to effectively tap into this, Forbes describes that target groups may no longer be the way to go. Instead, marketers need to try to focus more on the individual within target groups with technology that allows for a more customized experience for each user or consumer. Geolocation marketing tactics are a great tool for this. In terms of relaying information, images are crucial. For example, adding an image to tweet results in 150% more retweets than tweets without images. This is partially due to the average attention span today.  As the desire for immediate gratification goes up, attention spans having been going down. So, marketers need to keep things short. Videos need to be kept under 5 minutes; According to Forbes, 55% of total consumption time on smartphones were videos less than that exact time.

Speed is crucial, however to be fast doesn’t mean you are always being effective. Marketers need to consider the technology available to appropriately market to their audience. Instant gratification is just one piece that has led to this idea of the personal and individual experience within the marketplace, revealing to marketers that tactics and strategies need to be individually assessed per customers. Understanding how technology plays a part in not only staying on top of trends and behaviors but also meetings the demands of such behaviors is a make-or-break concept for marketers. Marketers today need to remain observant and flexible in order to meet consumer needs; if not, your company may be left in the dust.

From a marketing management perspective, here are some questions to think about:

  • Looking beyond the current situation, how might marketing further evolve to meet consumer behaviors?
  • Is digital marketing the only means of meeting instant gratification amongst consumers? Can traditional marketing be affective?
  • What metrics can be used to assess consumer satisfaction with marketing in respect to instant gratification?