In 2009, I blogged for Fast Company about the need for simplification marketing (blog can be found here). That is, use technology to make it simpler for people to shop, navigate choice, and use the stuff they bought.
Now, I’d like to extend that thinking to make a prediction about mobile’s usefulness for marketing purposes. Until mobile marketing aids in the cause of simplification, it will not hit its tipping point.
Let me go further; gamification stuff like badges for checking in, points towards redeemable offers, unannounced specials are all insufficient until they make it easier to shop. Currently, they just add adding extra steps. Even apps for recipe ideas; are you making the process of preparing a meal from store to dinner table easier? That’s the acid test.
I have tried foursquare, shopkick, shopsavvy, stickybits while I grocery shop and they all do the same thing. They SLOOOOOW me down while I want to get out of there FAST! So, that will not work.
How could mobile speed up shopping? Here’s an idea:
I log in to the retailer’s website, I see a suggested shopping list modeled based on my prior purchases and consumption rates (and what’s on sale). I click on what I really want to buy and can add products too. The integrated tool sends this list to my smart phone and beeps at me if I forget something.
Voila! I’m out of the store 10 minutes sooner, buying more stuff because I more fully navigate the store and have specials added to my list.
Why will shoppers thank you eternally if you simplify their lives? A typical supermarket carries over 40,000 items, but a typical shopper buys only 400 in a year. People want choice but not too many choices–or the mind will just simplify the task by becoming blind to irrelevant choices. Mobile can help but is not doing so. Not yet anyway.
The new wave of economists, called BEHAVIORAL economists, studies how people actually make decisions and they know people use simple heuristics. This is just applying that principle in a practical way to understand what it will take for mobile marketing to become big.
As the long-tail gets longer on purchase choices, media viewing, social networking…basically everything…the need for simplification will become even more acute. Enter the opportunity for simplification marketing.
So, where is your marketing simplification task force? Do you have one?