I was listening to Brian Solis’s new podcast, Context Matters, and he mentioned the term “On Demand Society” when discussing Uber and its effect on not just business, but the economy in general. His point was that this ever-growing desire from consumers— to have things at their fingertips— is changing business as we know it. What struck me is how this desire for on-demand services will affect every business in the future. Businesses cannot sit on the sidelines to see if the On Demand Economy will succeed or fail before jumping in. I think it is here to stay and will evolve even more. Businesses need to use 2015 to adjust their strategy in some way to adapt to this growing phenomenon.
It is easy to understand the On Demand Economy when we think of media consumption and the growth of Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo and every other channel that now has its content on demand. I see the future of this economy in my children, 8 and 9 years old, who are so comfortable accessing their shows or working their online apps across multiple devices. It seems that in the future, they will have no frame of reference to what we are speaking about when we say that one has to wait for something. Slow downloads are painful for them right now. Speed matters.
The Next Step for On Demand Society
I also think we are seeing glimpses of another part of the On Demand Economy, which I will call the “Customization Economy.” With services like AirBNB, Open Table, car configurators, customized training programs, and so on, there’s concierge service for all! Everyone can now feel special because they are designing their own experience.
My one concern is that businesses do not sway too far to this side of the boat. Consumers still need the human interaction at some point for experiences, especially when something goes amiss or there is a need for implementation assistance. In my line of work, marketing and training, I see many online training or on-demand training portals filled with great education.
I see this portion of on-demand training moving to the Customization Economy when users desire real people at their beck and call for strategy and implementation advice.
Service industries especially are going to have to implement a strategy for their customers to have access to their team on a retainer or on demand basis like attorneys or accountants. In my company, we have provided on demand access to our marketing team to help customers improve performance and guide budgetary decisions. The initial response has been incredible and is growing.
I bring this up because even a year ago, businesses across the board were not really embracing the On Demand Economy. The feedback I read was that it works for some industries but “not for mine.” Now with the increase of on-demand services and DIY tools, there is a scramble to be part of this revenue stream.
One word of advice to these businesses that are joining this offering: what will never go away is live mentorship or coaching to maximize budgets and spend.
So let’s not go too far down the path of hoping our customers are fully self-sufficient. Businesses, make sure you have a team ready to help strategize and maximize your services. Then, you will really be an on demand resource for your customers.