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Make Time for “The 24-Hour Customer”

24 Hour CustomerThe other day I was chatting with a friend.  It didn’t take too long for the conversation to turn to time and our general lack of it.  “I don’t know where the day goes.” She said.  Later that day, I logged into Facebook and found out exactly where her day went — Farmville.

If our time is so precious, I wondered, how is it that some companies and brands do such a great job of grabbing so much of our time?

The answer to that question can be found in “The 24-Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved, Always-Connected Economy [1].”  This is a smart book written by a smart woman, Adrian C. Ott.  Adrian is probably the most respected strategists in Silicon Valley.  She’s worked with some of the most innovative Fortune 500 companies and helped them get a market edge by digging deeper into consumer behavior than anyone has thought to do.  And this time, she’s taken her insights and shared them with the rest of us.

Why I Recommend This Book

The Time-Ographics Framework Is The Backbone of This Book

This book is essentially broken down into three main sections: the first few chapters will give you context.  They will explain  some basic research and lay out the market landscape as it relates to competition and time.  For example:

Ott uses a variety of research studies (hers and other reputable organizations) to show us how there are exponentially more products and services competing for a static slice of our time.

The next section of chapters are devoted to explaining the Time-Ographics Framework and its quadrants in detail.  The Time-ographics Framework is a great perceptual map that will allow you to see your product or service from the perspective of the customers’ likelihood to spend time in relation to his propensity to pay attention.  The model contains four quadrants: Convenience, Motivation, Value and Habit, as the following graphic from the book shows:

24 Hour Customer Framework

There are sections and chapters devoted to explaining each of these quadrants in detail.  The key to this book is how much focus there is on the customer and how they spend their time, so that you can identify what Ott calls “White Space” opportunities that will allow you to insinuate yourself into the customers’ world.

For example,  if the customer isn’t paying attention to your offer, your natural tendency may be to just DO MORE, more advertising, louder messaging, more offers.  The Time-Ographics model focuses you on the following broad strategies:

–          Increase time value (or decrease time cost)

–          Redefine time use

–          Shift the purchase and consumption flow

Don’t freak out if you’re not getting it right away.  Each page, each section and each chapter is absolutely hard packed with insight and information that will have you stopped and thinking about how you’re going to apply each new concept about every other sentence.   There is no sense in rushing through this book.  Give yourself lots of time to read, process and apply what you learn.

My favorite feature in the book is the “Two-Minute Takeaway” at the end of each chapter.   Ott summarizes all the most important points in each chapter so that you can quickly come back and review and be sure to understand the concepts.

Why You Should Read This Book

When I received this review copy from the publisher, I thought it was going to be about the 24-hour selling cycle. But, the concepts in this book opened up a whole new dimension and universe of product development opportunities for me. I expect they will do the same for you too.

Read this book [1] because it’s business and market planning time.  You can’t afford to go into the next year without understanding how powerfully time can impact whether your product gets chosen or not.