The previous post in this series dealt with:
Today I’m going to round up this part of the series (don’t worry there’s a lot more to come) by dealing with:
6) Ease of Use
7) Ease of Trial
8) Observability of Features
Ease of Use – Ease of use has primarily a dual benefit. One is the obvious benefit that comes out from the name itself – the product or service is easy to use. This in a sense is important because on an average, customers do not want to invest a great deal of time with respect to trying out products or services. Ease of use reduces greatly, the “switching costs” that marketers often speak about.
Consider Orkut as a case study for ease of use – its no surprise that the developing countries (especially the BRIC Countries) form a major part of its audience. Orkut is easy to use and easy to get around. It lacks intimidation and complexity. Of course, there is a paradox because, more features = more ways to keep customers busy. Offering more is great at times but care must be taken not to make customers lose sight of things.
The MacBook in this case, does not qualify as an example. It tries hard though. Walk into any Apple store – you will see video screens, you will have guys helping you, you will have a “Genius Bar” etc. Ease of use I think also offers customers a level of connection with the brand – or atleast the connection becomes easier to make.
Ease of Use also refers to the desire to buy from firms that are “easy” to do business with. This holds true particularly in the information age – I would say it’s the most important for services.
Consider Google’s advertising model – AdWords and AdSense. It is extremely easy and efficient to sign up, place ads, and if you have the talent, earn revenue. The other features like Analytics, Blogger, embedding videos through YouTube on blogs – are all that support the blogger’s cause to create better content, create goals, drive revenue and earn more money. Google has not only made things easier for the average blogger but also loaded supportive features. Support I think is as important as ease of use.
Consider Ebay as well – they too have done a good job of creating “easy” business relationships. They are still not as easy as Google because they go into certain tedious details which can be confusing but the point still remains – the easier your front end, the easier it is to drive users and make them sign up.
Ease of Trial – Customers want to be able to try a product before making an investment. Consider how people take “test drives”. Again it depends on the level of involvement in a product. This is where I think the Internet is really lacking. They need to figure out a “test drive” – for most Internet services, users just need to sign up – for a few who are intimidated the possibility of a trial may help. Especially in India.
Observability of Features – Consumers want to be able to observe the benefits of a product before they use it. This is sort of related to a trial but a consumer may want to feel a product, or “kick the tires” so to speak with respect to a new product innovation. Observing takes relatively longer than trial and it generally is a decisive factor in the adoption of an innovation.
Again in the Internet space, this is very difficult – more of less with all services it is difficult because they are not tangible, They key to the Internet is that one can use Social Media in an Optimum Fashion to create the right kind of conversations and generate ‘observation through conversations’. Buzz Marketing is thus becoming an integral part of the strategies that companies chart out.
I keep harping on this – and WATConsult, our sister concern would be more than happy to help you chart out a strategy.
We have also written about advertising in Social Media, what Facebook is doing and why it’s smart.
Well, that brings us to the end of this part of the series. In the next few parts I will be looking to observe meta technologies that are charting out Mega Trends in the Technological Innovation Space.