When I grew up in the 1980s, having a phone line connection was a luxury, something that was to be held by the elite. A fact that might surprise today’s teenagers, an 8-year waiting period for a telephone line connection was a norm. To make calls to another city, there was something called a trunk call, making which was an exercise in itself. However, the folks of 80s, the uncles and aunties I mean, possessed a priceless emotion, so often commercially inculcated in paid workshops today, called patience. As time passed, as we started getting Americanized, from painstakingly making fresh nimbu pani to opening a cola can with a pop, we gradually gave away this emotion. Move 30 years forward: A few months ago, I was irritated when Airtel took more than a day (I am including night hours) to activate my nano sim card. I am not the only one. Log on to Airtel of Vodafone India Twitter handle – it’s a grievance cell. Consumers ruthlessly complain; operator patiently and actively addresses their grievance.
A few more examples come to my mind, like making way through the muddy tracks in a subzi mundi to buy vegetables to lining up in air-conditioned malls; waiting for the iron rod to heat the water to lightning fast heaters; from windows-rolled-down Fiat to air-conditioned swanky sedan; from getting a pair of trousers stitched to impulsively buying Tommy Hilfiger Denims; from loose to frozen foods; from State Roadway Buses to Volvos…The examples are numerous I guess. With time, technology evolved, and we have gone on from being a generation of communication to a generation of telecommunication and now revolutionizing into digital addicts. In the past 30 years or so, we have transitioned from a generation of limb-moving, physically active, enduring to one of bum-resting, processed food-junkies. Well, that’s how marketers put it today: the consumer wants instant gratification. few extra seconds for the website to load, and he is off; doesn’t find the guy behind the counter, and he is off.
The 21st century marketer is perhaps an important consultant to the product/service that his brand extends. He is a valuable resource on whose shoulder rests the responsibility of creating a brand that is quick and does not test the patience of the consumer. For example, a restaurant brand manager, if he manages to get an upper limit on serving the order, can put that as a marketing USP (Something that Domino’s has done so magnificently, and I so believe the only reason that it is leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors). Today’s consumer acts on impulse, especially the youth, and a marketer needs to respect that recklessness. He has to stitch his strategy around the uncanny consumer. Consumerism is demanding today. Brand loyalties are fickle and yet it is hard to sell a new brand to a consumer.
All in all, it all boils down to how much more in as less time.