WEBSITES REMAIN THE DIGITAL DARLING
With a brand’s biggest gateway the internet, websites play centre stage for survival. Brands love websites because they’re responsive, reactive, intimate and measurable; consumers love websites because they can research before purchase, learn new skills and gain inspiration when they want, how they want and where they want.
As we’ve already established, the target audience is impatient and their expectations are high. Consumers want to find their favourite brands exactly where they expect, but they also want a twist. A fresh face, a different look, a new 'wow' to dazzle are expectations of this tech-driven, consumer-led, omni-channel world.
With this shift in consumer demand (influenced by the Apple phenomena), the lifetime of a website has been cut down to only a few years. Blame Apple. By creating the expectation that every two years, an all new, must-have, ground-breaking mobile phone is launched, the longevity of all things digital has shrunk.
Brands must continue to innovate or die. But fear not small brands and start-ups, there are many tricks to keep costs down (and none of the MadLegs methods involve 'hack' jobs). We'll show you.
THE APPLE FACTOR
We acknowledge that Apple didn’t create the first smartphone—that was IBM in 1994—but Apple brought smartphones to the masses in 2007 with the launch of the first iPhone. Apple achieved what they always achieve: They changed the way people communicate and share information. Then Apple did what they always do: They applied brilliant marketing and increased consumer appetite for constantly new and improved tech gadgets (look at the iPhone history to see their two-year release cycle).
Have websites really changed in this new digital age? Emphatically yes, but the 'how' is fascinating.
What consumers are doing with their fancy, brand new every two years phones and tablets that are capable of building a rocket (not quite, but close) and last days without charging is searching. They’re searching for lost friends, new jobs, a partner, the perfect little black dress. And they’re hunting ferociously for the next big trend, the must-have, the brag that I do have, the don’t I look amazing, the I wish I had, all of which is done constantly and immediately (and with utter impatience) on their new tech gadget of choice (desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile or ???).
Mobile phones are undoubtedly the centre of one’s life, an extension of one's identity and a tool of convenience, fundamentally changing how consumers interact with brands, obliterating the once clean customer journey line from discovery to purchase. The gateway remains websites (despite social media taking a bigger share).
Old approaches that hailed websites as a fancier brochure, a place to stuff keywords in an attempt to boost online rankings or just a business card are relics of a time before phones became smart and we stopped making calls. This transition hasn't been smooth.
Many big brands failed to see the obvious future and then flayed about miserably trying to catch up while many small brands looked at mobile as their saviour and not only embraced it, but also set the terms and lead the way. These brands knew you couldn't separate marketing functions by web, mobile, social, in-store, print and other because that's not how people think or function—we are a complete system that never shuts off.