Marketing Takeaways From The 24-Hour Customer

Time is something that I think marketers often ignore or take for granted. Many marketers continue to push out a flood of messages through various channels like television, newspapers, and email although consumers do not have the time to receive these messages. Additionally consumers often will choose saving time over the added benefit of switching to a better product or service. In some cases, time can be your company’s biggest competitor. Time is the theme of the recent book, The 24-Hour Customer, which examines the role of time in consumer decisions and explains how marketers can design strategies that can overcome the problem of the time-starved consumer.

Dominate your customers time and they won’t have time for your competition

Webkinz is an extremely popular virtual world for kids that had 4.5 million unique visitors in January. With users spending an average of 154 minutes on the site each month, it was very hard for Beanie Babies World to compete. Since kids often have internet time limited by their parents, many are not able to also spend time on a different virtual world. I am a huge fan of the Madden game on Xbox and was willing to wait in line at midnight on release night to purchase it. There are other games that I would like to buy but I don’t because I wouldn’t have any time to play them since Madden dominates my time.

Create Dwell Time

The more time your customer spends in your store or website, the more likely they will buy something. According to the book, “Consulting firm Deloitte has found that customers that use a fitting room in a clothing store buy 85 percent of the time, compared with a 58 percent sales rate among shoppers who did not use the fitting room”. I think one easy way for retail stores to create dwell time is to provide comfortable chairs (or a secret hideout) for husbands who have to accompany their spouses to the mall.

Integrate Purchase Into Consumption
According to the book, “US customers spend only about six minutes a day with e-commerce sites”. However, Amazon is able to extend the time spent with a customer with the Amazon kindle. While the Kindle is great for consuming the books it sells, it also provides a way to purchase most books in under a minute from the same device. Nike also does this well with its Nike Plus site that tracks your runs with the help of the iPod sensor. While you are checking out your running stats, you can also view and order your next pair of running shoes.

Interesting Studies of Consumer Behavior

One reason I really like this book is that it is chalk full of interesting research on consumer behavior. Here are some findings that I that were really interesting.

  • Only 42 percent of Americans report that they enjoy buying goods and services.
  • Consumers are spending only about 28 minutes each day researching and buying goods and services -that’s less than 3 percent of waking hours.
  • A 2009 comScore report estimates that 8 percent of internet users are responsible for 85 percent of all ad clicks.
  • USC research estimates that 45 percent of people’s behavior is spent in repetitive and unthinking activities.
  • A UK study found that shoppers tend to buy from a selection of the same 150 items every week from grocery stores.
  • The Council for Research Excellence found that US adults spend an average of eight and a half hours a day looking at screens.
  • US customers spend only about six minutes a day with e-commerce sites.

This book is a good choice of time for marketers who are interested in learning how to use limited time and attention to their advantage. Adrian Ott also lays out a solid framework on how to evaluate how your product or service as it relates to the consumer’s propensity to spend time and attention.

Full Disclosure: I received a review copy