April 28, 2012

Engagement

What the heck is going on out there?

Have you read this article about apps (click here)?  79% of total app time is spent gaming or on social networks.  So you've got a half-billion devices activated since 2007, with forty billion app downloads ... giving every single person with seventy dollars a month the opportunity to consume a lot of information.

Folks like to talk about a term called "engagement", which I'd loosely define as "the amount of time somebody kills in a mobile environment with your brand".

We're frequently presented with "average" customer behavior, aren't we?  When we look at averages, we find that average customers are moving from offline to online to social, now to mobile.

Then we have an Executive who recently said to me ... "who the heck wants to purchase sheets on a two-inch screen"?  This Executive has a customer base with an average age of 55 years old.

I was at an airport last Wednesday.  Sitting on one side of a row were five individuals, 30-39ish in age, all thumbing through virtual keyboards on iOS or Android devices.  On the other side of the row were three individuals, age 50-64ish.  Two were reading newspapers, one was plugging away at an email message on a keyboard on a Blackberry.  On average, six of the eight individuals I mentioned were "engaged" in one way or another with content.  

The generational gulf, however, between "Judy" and "Jasmine", was huge.

If you are looking to market to Jasmine, it is obvious that you are literally operating in a different world from the folks who are marketing to Judy.  Jasmine is post-social.  In so many ways, what was labeled as "Web 2.0" is fading for Jasmine.

And if you are marketing to Judy, then mobile/social simply "doesn't work", does it?  How else could you possibly explain how Kevin Hillstrom has twice as many followers on Twitter compared to Coldwater Creek?  

I frequently analyze three generations of customers (and, yes, you can be a 62 year old Jasmine or a 26 year old Judy).
  • Judy = Traditional Offline Customer, Offline Pushes Judy Online.
  • Jennifer = Classic Online Customer, Google Focused, Facebook Influenced.
  • Jasmine = Post-Social Customer, Mobile Engagement Driven.
It is so completely obvious.  Engagement is the measurement of time use, and is critically important to understanding Jasmine.  

Meanwhile, engagement is completely meaningless to Judy.  

And Jennifer, being caught in the middle, ends up "touching everything" ... offline, online, social, mobile ... but can't possibly give "everything" enough attention for "anything" to stand out.

It's probably time to stop talking about averages.  Customer behavior is varied, and non-consistent, across generations.

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