Take a look around you. If there is one thing that marketers do well, it is to make products and services more convenient for their consumers. Convenience has been on trend for a long-time. For example, the number of microwavable frozen foods has proliferated in the last 15 years. Moreover, if you were to do an audit, I would bet that more frozen foods are microwavable than oven-only, although microwavable implies “oven ready”. Outside of frozen foods, even the marketers at Tide have been challenging themselves to reinvent the way we do laundry to make it more convenient. Tide has removed multiple steps in the washing process (detergent, stain-remover, and brightener) by combining into one process through the launch of the Tide Pods. I don’t think there has ever been a trend as clear as this one that is screaming at you – the small business owner – to leverage immediately.
The proliferation of more convenient products and services is seen all around you: Fandango, fast food, at home grocery deliveries, iTunes, TiVo, Ronzoni boil in a bag, EZ Pass, Chase check deposit smart phone app, etc. Not only has convenience been an on-going trend across multiple consume categories, but it also is a behavioral need that marketers and product developers are constantly trying to improve. It is also obvious that the need for increased convenience in our lifestyles is becoming more apparent.
In today’s world, you can narrow down all sets of purchasing consumers that are in the labor force (implies the ability to purchase due to income) into 3 cohorts:
- Married couples
- Cohabitating partners
- Those living independently
Among married couples and those that are cohabitating with a partner, most likely both spouses or partners are working unless a child is in the picture. If a couple has a child, maybe only one member of the relationship is working. In either case, these relationship types demand products and services that are more convenient. If both members of the relationship are working, then time for standard household operations is limited. Even in the scenario where only one member is working and the other is raising a child, time to conduct household operations is still limited since the member that is not working is pre-occupied with the child. Therefore, cohorts 1 and 2 in the above are living a lifestyle that demands more convenient products and services.
For those living independently and are working, they are in the same situation as if both spouses in a relationship are working – time is limited for household operations since there is no one at home to take on the household operations. With that said, even cohort 3 is living a lifestyle that demands more convenient products.
My reason for painting the above picture is to facilitate the point that the size of the prize for consumers that demand more convenient products and services is massive. Unlike other need fulfillment tactics, achieving convenience is never finalized – you can make your products and services more convenient, but there will always be opportunity to improve the convenience through some form of innovation or process improvement. With that said, the question is not are you convenient but rather, it is are you more convenient than your competitors?
I’ve yet to see the implementation or activation or convenience trickle down from big business (Tide, Apple, Fandango, etc.) to small business (you). This is your opportunity to make convenience the next small business marketing trend by implementing increased convenience in your marketing strategy.