For many years,I've maintained that, when a startup is trying to influence long-established consumer behaviors, it's always smarter to design any new required actions so that they move in the same directions the prospective customers and existing users are already headed. It's simply not practical or cost-effective to try to redirect people's ingrained actions and then find that you're required to spend great gobs of time and money, which you typically don't have, in a struggle to change millions of minds. Better to build on my behavior; help me do what I'm already doing faster; start with incremental adjustments that make me more productive; or provide the easy wins and successive rewards that save me time or money. Don't try to bully me into behaving or beat me over the head with your message.
We won't change because we're basically lazy and really stuck in our ruts. And the biggest rut, and most pervasive tether of all, is our mobile phone. Yet those very phones also represent a game-changing and fundamental shift in the way that brands, bars and businesses are going to have to reach out to customers.
Today, 95% of U.S. adults have a cell phone (75% of them are smart phones) and 80% of us check our phones within 15 minutes of waking. The others are just too embarrassed to admit it. We're all looking for that daily dose of dopamine along with our morning caffeine and things accelerate rapidly from there. On a typical weekday, you'll look at your phone more than 160 times, which equates to about 3.5 hours a day. Nothing in human history has ever rivaled the emotional and psychological attachment which we have to our phones and the degree of dependence is growing across all ages and across the world.
Likewise, there's never been a more powerful and ubiquitous marketing platform. Our phones possess three characteristics that are essentially superpowers: they're intimate, immediate and interruptive. Simply stated, they're omnipresent, they're always on, and they're impossible to ignore. They're much more of a buddy, an accomplice and a sidekick today than any of our BFFs. And, for marketers and merchants, they're the keys to the kingdom and the best way for anyone to break through the clutter in our lives. That said, the barriers to ready access continue to increase.
This is in part because, while the digital world continues to expand, our own personal worlds are shrinking especially given our limited ability to manage and focus our attention amidst the endless stream of fluff and flutter. We're more apt to try to shut down and shut off the outside world these days than to openly and excitedly embrace it. And, we're increasingly sticking to our familiar ways; visiting the same few sites and platforms; using the same small number of apps; and largely loath to change or look elsewhere.
As a result, effective engagement is hard to achieve these days. If you want my attention, meet me where I'm at, go with the flow, and don't bust my bubble or mangle my mood. Trying to launch a brand-new app today is like trying to teach a fish to ride a bicycle. Even if you could, why would you?
An equally significant barrier to new entry is the fact that the scarcest and most precious real estate anywhere these days are the screens on our phones. They're jammed with excess icons that we barely remember (and never use) because we're hoarders and lousy housekeepers. There's no more room for anything new. And, just as we've learned about friends on Facebook and connections on LinkedIn; more itself isn't better - only better is better.
So, if you can't pry my phone out of my hands, and I'd rather die of hunger or thirst than download another app for my phone at some bar or restaurant, both you (and whatever venue I happen to be in) better figure out fast how to get my attention and get your messages in front of me.
One emerging and elegant solution is to hitch a ride on that phone without requiring the user to do much of anything--including loading anything new. That's the premise behind Upshow. If you're on the premises -- restaurant, bar, doctor's office -- you can be on Upshow. And it's a two-way street.
If you're sitting at a restaurant table, Upshow more than replaces some greasy and beat-up table tent or fills in if the server is too busy table-hopping to tell you about tonight's special anythings. It all just pops up on my phone. And frankly, even if you give me a terrific and shiny new tablet to order from, I don't really want to spend my time learning all about your system in order to order. But my phone's a whole 'nother thing.
I'm already an expert on Twitter and Instagram. I've already got those apps sitting open on my mobile. And I've been taking selfies and other goofy shots of my buddies all night long while I'm trying to watch a dozen different games on the video screens stuck on every wall. But suddenly, I'm starting to see something else going on in the place as other tables start to point excitedly at the monitors because their selfies are starting to show up in real-time for everyone to see. And I think, what am I: "chopped liver"? So, I ask because I'm actually interested, and it turns out that I just add a hashtag with the bar or restaurant's name to my IG posts or my tweets and it's a done deal. All of a sudden, I'm "dualing".
There may be fancier names for this phenomenon - like screen convergence or shared media - but I like my word, dualing, because that's what's really happening. My content, my experience, and my attention are now in two places at once (and shared with the whole place) and I'm paying rapt attention to both because I'm in charge and I'm driving the show. I'm engaged, I'm open to offers, suggestions, contests, coupons, etc. because there's now a direct two-way channel to my phone. And I'm willing to listen as well.
This is a whole new game and the next big thing in digital in-venue engagement and entertainment. And it's basically "free" to everyone. 100% free to the user. And whatever modest investment the venue might make in the Upshow backend system and software is peanuts compared with what they've already spent installing a zillion monitors everywhere. And did I mention that the vast majority of this "authentic" content is created for zero cost by the users themselves and then sent (along with the venue's branding) to everyone on their social media networks.
The best promotion is word of mouth and a picture is worth a thousand words. Catch up with Upshow.