“The golden rule for every business man is this: Put yourself in your customer’s place.”
— Orison Swett Marden
Back in 2000 I started high school and everyone attending that high school got a laptop. Also, the school had a broadband connection. Naturally this lead to insane amounts of illegal downloads of movies, music and games. I still can’t believe my luck.
As a result we were pretty early in the “on demand” game here in Sweden. I stopped going to the movies, renting videos, browsing CD’s and watching TV. I wasn’t living my life dictated by other people’s schedules.
This was just a precursor of what was about to happen on a wider scale with media and technology.
Now it seems more or less natural for us to get pissed off whenever somebody is invading “our time”. Gary Vaynerchuk often polls his audiences with the question “How many people here by show of hands get pissed off when somebody actually calls them on the phone?”.
The first time I heard this I felt a little bit ashamed over the fact that I’m actually one of those people. In fact I’ve been “that guy” for more than a decade.
Because it’s my time. I’d rather give another person 50 bucks than let them waste 5 minutes of my time. That’s how precious a resource time has become for me.
Unfortunately for companies this has tilted the scales of advertising in favor of the customer.
We’ve become immune to it or we’ve found ways around it (thank God for AdBlock!).
And if we don’t do either of those?
Well, earlier today I tried to read an article on GQ.com got a pop-up with the options to either pay 49€ or view the site with ads.
Thanks for the options GQ, I chose neither and will not be visiting your website anytime soon. I’m sure you’ll survive though.
Look, it’s their right to do that. In fact, perhaps it’s better for them if they do. However, I believe that there are better ways of going about it.
No longer does Mohammed/the customer need to go to the Mountain/the company. The brighter of the Mountains actually waddle their way to Mohammed.
Now, it’s true that this is in some way the way it’s always been. When our attention shifted from paper to billboards to radio to TV to the Internet the companies followed us where our eyes and ears went.
But those shifts seemed easier to cope with since people were more or less “forced” to view them until they finally grew tired or immune.
Today the tools are in the hands of the customers and companies now more than ever need to find ways in which to get themselves noticed and interact with their customers.
They need to convince people that it’s worth their time to pay attention. The question is: How?
I had an interesting meeting today which I’ll write about in an upcoming post.
In the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What would it take to convince you that paying attention to a company is worth your time? Is it driven by saving money, saving time, values?
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!