Invitation: This Is the Future of Marketing
While scrolling through Instagram, you tag three friends under a video for Tim McGraw’s new Here on Earth album. Your friends comment that the video was great. Suddenly, a notification pops up on your phone. You’re not sure who it’s from, but you’re
glad to receive it because you’ve just learned McGraw will be appearing in your city next month for a one-night-only concert. If you click, you can buy four tickets—in the third row.
You click, and somehow, you’re moved into Facebook Messenger. You send a quick message to see if your friends would like to go. They respond with a fast and enthusiastic “Yes!” So you hurriedly click on the link inside your chat stream. Since your payment information is already stored in your Facebook settings, the transaction is complete in mere seconds.
You’re going to the show.
As you and your friends start chatting about how excited you are to see McGraw (and maybe go out to eat before the show), you get another message. Again, you’re not sure who sent it, and, still, you don’t mind the intrusion. The offer: 20 percent off on a limo ride to the concert, complete with VIP entrance access.
How can you say no?
Now you’re on a roll. From your prior searches, the channel knows you love northern Italian cuisine. It just so happens there’s a fantastic new restaurant, featuring a hot Milanese chef, about eight blocks from the concert venue. Getting a reservation on a Saturday night? That will be impossible. But it seems that fortune suddenly favors you, and there is an available corner table with a view of the open kitchen—and a 15 percent discount on your dinner tab.
Just click here.
In a flash, you’ve got the whole night planned: the amazing concert tickets, the limo, and the dinner at a celebrated new restaurant. A few days before the show, as you feel your excitement building, you get an offer to send flowers on the day of the show. It’s a great deal, and at 25 percent off, you accept and send a beautiful bouquet to a particularly special friend who will be coming along. But you invited three friends, how did “they” know you’d want to send flowers to one of them? Or did they? Was it a just a robotically generated offer? Who cares? You’re happy they thought of it.
Not that many years ago, you might have considered this instant electronic monitoring of your intimate conversation to be an unwanted or outrageous intrusion. But today, you’ve made the compromise that we all have made: giving up part of your privacy in exchange for a sense of connection to a “super mind” that can practically predict your desires, even before you can mention them.
And, even better, gratify them quickly and easily.
You, my friend, are a citizen of the Age of ImpatienceTM, a contented member of the Impatience EconomyTM. Two-day delivery? Are you kidding? Who could possibly wait that long? You want it now, and you get it now. Impatience drives the market, and the market satisfies the need to get everything you want immediately and seamlessly.
What about Amazon? They don’t seem to be involved here. Isn’t it the biggest store in the world right now? In fact, Amazon pales in comparison to the market The Impatience Economy is about to create. Around the world, approximately 200 million people belong to Amazon Prime. But within a few short years, billions will be buying everything from baby gifts to funeral arrangements the same way I described buying concert tickets, above: instantly, conveniently, and without friction.
This is a book about the dawn of the Second Consumer RevolutionTM (I’ll explain more about the First Consumer Revolution in Chapter 1). Driving this change is what I call The Impatience Economy. I’ll describe how and why you and your company can and must participate in this new economy—or risk being left behind forever.
And of all things, the experience that kicked The Impatience Economy into high gear was none other than the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a matter of weeks, the pandemic jump-started an economic trend that will resonate for the entire twenty-first century. It isn’t merely a new and slightly different normal; it’s a new abnormal, at least compared to what’s gone before. They say old habits die hard. Not anymore. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, old habits are changing on the spot. Everyone is affected—from age seven to seventy. Almost overnight, everything has become virtual and digital. Children attend Zoom classrooms and seniors conduct their Bible studies online. Adults work and shop from home. Social media is flourishing.
In addition to those who tragically lost their health or their lives during the pandemic, many companies will perish in the aftermath, unable to keep up with rapidly evolving consumer demands. What do those shoppers want? Everything. When do they want it? Right now. To sum up what Carrie Fisher wrote in Postcards from the Edge:The problem with immediate gratification is that it takes too long. That’s where we are today—delayed gratification is no longer gratifying; it’s become a contradiction in terms. Consumers want everything now, and they want it delivered to their door immediately.
Buy it now? Not good enough. Get it now—that’s the real desire. This book will show you how to capture and create new consumer segments and meet the faster and faster—seemingly impossible to satisfy—consumer demand to have everything, immediately.
Years ago, American Express ran an iconic ad campaign whose tagline was “Don’t leave home without it.” Today’s consumers want the option of never leaving home. Period. And with Social Retail MarketingTM (SRMTM), they don’t have to. They don’t even have to leave their social chat streams. The pandemic placed a huge premium on safety, as well as speed. People felt uncomfortable going to stores—even on the rare occasions when they were open. Consumers’ buying habits shifted, and that shift has been made permanent. Those companies capable of responding to consumers’ mounting impatience will be the big winners. Everyone else? They’re headed for the dustbin of marketing and retail history.
Until now, consumers have had their choices made for them by the companies that could afford to spend the most money advertising their products through mass media. Whether you sold beer, insurance, cars, or candy, the bigger your marketing budget, the bigger your market share.
That’s so 2018.
Today, consumers are no longer at the mercy of those with the biggest ad budgets. Instead, buyers now dictate what they want and how they want to receive, experience, and pay for those goods and services. Satisfying these consumers and mastering The Impatience Economy are not tasks for the fainthearted. The new terms are Darwinian. Not everyone will thrive—or survive. Successful companies must change their mindset, develop new skills, and adopt creative ways of thinking about technology, marketing, and retail channels. All others should begin preparing for new careers.
So, if you want to get under the hood of The Impatience Economy, if you want to understand this accelerating Age of Impatience, pull up a chair. Having been the American founder and chairman emeritus of one of the world’s largest telecom companies, having helped lead that company from zero to over 220 million customers—with a market cap on the NYSE of over $40 billion—I’ve learned a lot about meeting consumer needs, marketing, selling, and predicting where the world is going.
And I can tell you this with perfect confidence: the world is rapidly moving to a digital marketing and sales model at a speed unlike anything in human history.
If the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns were the accelerant for The Impatience Economy, this book is the road map that shows executives and marketers how to succeed in the brave new world that has emerged. Combine the new consumer attitude toward speed, efficiency, and choice with the unbridled and, for the most part, untapped marketing power of social media platforms—those like Snapchat and Facebook, and others yet to be invented—and there’s a whole new consumer universe to be understood, explored, and served.
A universe built on, of all things, impatience. In these pages, I’ll show you how to get on board. We’ve no time to waste. Let’s get started.