If 2014 was the “Year of Content” in digital marketing, then 2015 is shaping up to be the “Year of Convenience”--helping people buy time and save effort.
And convenience tech has a new poster-child: Apple Pay. Already launched in the US, Apple Pay is like an app store for the world, except instead of buying apps, you buy real-world goods and services. But like the app store, you just tap to pay, using the biometric fingerprint security on Apple devices.
Of course, Apple Pay is Cupertino’s take on the electronic wallet, and, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, represents a “dagger to the heart” of card payments. This is fighting talk, but anything that can save shoppers effort and buy them time is likely to be rewarded by the market. Apple Pay represents Apple’s take on the disruptive trend of “convenience tech”. Made popular by the spectacular rise of the uber-convenient app-based taxi service Uber, convenience tech is the current darling of business innovation, and a myriad of Uber-style convenience start-ups are receiving funding for everything from on-demand massage to on-demand marijuana.
Removing The Hassle
Like Uber and Uber-clones, Apple Pay doesn’t allow you to do anything new, nor does it make what you do cheaper; instead, it removes the hassle involved with doing stuff you already do. With Apple Pay, there’s no rummaging in a bag, pocket or wallet for cards or cash, there’s no waking up a phone or opening an electronic wallet app, there are no codes, pin or security numbers. You don’t even have to look at the screen; simply touch the fingerprint reader on your phone when you’re ready to pay online, or when you’re close to a contactless payment station in store, and you’re done. By making what we already do easier and faster, Apple Pay adds value by reducing two of the three costs involved with any transaction--time and effort.
As marketers, we should take note and inspiration from the rise of convenience tech. Complexity and speed increasingly define our accelerated culture where instant gratification rules. So any brand that builds on buying people time and saving them effort will be rewarded. It’s not how much money you help me save that matters; it’s how much time and effort you help me save. So whether we’re marketing products or services, we need to start focusing on communicating this convenience value; how does this product or service help make my life easier? And for digital marketers, in particular, we have the exciting opportunity to move beyond simply communicating convenience to embrace creating convenience value digitally--through innovative apps and on-demand mobile services.
Convenience Is King
The latest lesson from Silicon Valley is that it’s not content that’s king, it’s convenience. The future belongs to brands that strive to make people’s lives easier by buying them time and saving them effort. So say goodbye to content, the old C-word in marketing and euphemism for brand spam. And say hello to the new C-word, convenience--where real value lies.
Content is dead. Long Live Convenience.