Convenience and mobility power the collaborative company

In Jeremiah Owyang’s newest report, The New Rules of the Collaborative Economy, you’ll find many different statistics about how consumers choose between traditional and collaborative companies, but one fact stands out:

Collaborative_Economy_FINAL_pdf__page_14_of_28_
Source: The New Rules of the Collaborative Economy

Consumers choose convenience above all else.

When you stop to consider this for a moment, it makes total sense. Consumers, especially in major metro areas, have become accustomed to instant access for so many services in life. Think about how digital integration changed even something as simple as a date night:

  • Press a button and swipe right a few times for a date. (Tinder)
  • Press a button for a car. (Uber, Lyft)
  • Press a button to find a restaurant. (Yelp, OpenTable)
  • Rest your phone near the register to pay. (NFC/Apple Pay)
  • Press a button for a place to stay. (AirBnB, Hotel Tonight)
  • Press a button for popcorn. (Instacart)
  • Press a button for movie night. (Netflix)

Is it any wonder that consumers choose convenience as the defining factor not only of the collaborative economy, but of nearly any consumer experience?

How at risk is your industry or business? The answer to that question will be driven by mobile adoption of your audience. In Google’s recent Connected Consumer survey, the smartphone has achieved 60% penetration in the United States:

consumer-barometer-graph-91613e15-0adc-41e8-8132-8fa1000c340b

If your industry’s consumers are interacting with you using mobile devices, then you are at risk of disruption from one-touch companies that are more collaborative, more scalable, and more agile than you. Disruption from the collaborative economy almost always comes from mobility.

How much risk are you exposed to? Here’s a test to try with your Google Analytics. Go into your Analytics, select Audience > Mobile > Overview. Plot the rows of desktop, mobile, and tablet, then export the data to a spreadsheet and make a stacked bar chart by device type. What you should see is how much of your audience has come to your site on a mobile device, weighted and normalized to 100%. Here’s an example from my personal website for the last 4 years:

Analytics_www_christopherspenn_com_Overview_20110904-20151004

Ask yourself this question:

Audience is at the top of the funnel, so a 5% decline in audience becomes a 5% decline in leads, and eventually a 5% decline in sales. What percentage of your audience could you afford to lose to a more agile, more scalable, more collaborative competitor? 5%? 10%? 25%? I would argue that your company would be at risk as a marketer and communicator if 10% of your sales vanished in a year. Depending on the company you work for, even flat sales could put your company at risk.

Based on that knowledge, make a similar chart as the one above and see how mobile your audience is now. Fully 30% of my audience is mobile now. If I can’t afford to lose 30% of my audience, leads, and sales, then I’d better have a plan for disrupting myself before a competitor does.

For some companies, disruption may come from simply switching vendors and distribution partners. For other companies, disruption may mean a complete product line revamp and new partners. Be sure to grab Jeremiah Owyang’s new report (free, registration required) to learn the three strategic ways you can disrupt your competitors before they disrupt you.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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Posted on October 5, 2015 in Marketing, Public Relations, Strategy

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