Posted January 13, 2011 9:07 am by with 5 comments

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It looks like the online space may have pushed the envelope just far enough with logins, memberships and requirements that the customer is pushing back. As a result companies and agencies alike are listening. Or at least they say they are in a survey conducted by Econsultancy, the 2011 Customer Engagement Report 2011 (Study for purchase here. Marketing Pilgrim receives no compensation for sales of report).

According to both companies and agencies surveyed, simplicity is the most important customer attitude regarding marketing to them. Please note that the majority of the respondents are in the UK followed by the rest of Europe then North America. The chart below is from the companies point of view. Of note, agencies had 61% reporting it as most important consideration.

As we move forward in the Internet marketing and social media space simple does indeed seem to be a constant mantra. Facebook’s possible Achilles’ Heel is just how convoluted and poorly explained most of its features really are. Marketers fight through the less than clear pathways to get to the answers but most regular folks don’t. If something simpler came along would there be enough momentum for people to jump ship? Interesting to think about isn’t it?

One other rather interesting result from the survey, which is quite interesting all the way through, is the continued disparity between companies and agencies regarding certain subjects. Agencies tend to side with the “everything is rainbows and unicorns that fart butterflies” camp while companies themselves see things differently. Note the following numbers regarding the importance of online customer engagement to companies. From the companies’ point of view, it actually dropped!

The agencies however see it differently in their fee driven world.

Does this mean some of the shine is coming off the online interaction apple? Maybe but not likely. However, it is something to watch moving forward. As the hype from the online industry gets exposed as such, more and more companies will be taking a real look at how they engage online rather than just taking the agency and industry bait hook, line and sinker.

It’s at that point in the maturation of the industry that the real innovation will take place. Once you can’t trick someone into believing that something is good for them you have to rely on that nasty thing called reality and make what is done fit neatly within it. Gee, what a bummer, huh?

  • Loc

    I would have to agree. If you go to a site that has all the bells and whistles but very complicated to navigate, changes are, I won’t be coming back anytime soon.

  • This is very useful data (I am on my way into a product development meeting right now) and a great reminder to KISS. Thanks

  • I have spent 4 long years trying to learn all about the internet business. I am very concerned about the amount of hype out there. Fast talking people who are very difficult to understand, particularly in parts of the USA. However giving back is the key once you get on top. My advice is be ethical like your customers and remember “The buck stops with you” make sure customers can contact you. Talk slowly.


  • I think the ‘simplicity’ issue is a given, but what I find more interesting is the equal gravity given to “Desire for real time interaction,” “focus on quality” and “intolerance for poor customer service.” I believe this is where simplicity actually happens in that personal connectivity is still what most consumers are looking for, and when there are not useful, adequate means to achieve that, it is expressed as poor service. Regardless of how many tools we have at our disposal, “quality time” is still measured in personal interaction.

  • It’s not surprising that simplicity is the number one customer preference. If someone is trying to accomplish a goal, their number one preference would be for it to be accomplished as quickly as possible. This is why many marketers are starting to create products that can help people get jobs done faster. I agree that Facebook does have a problem with features. A lot of times, you have to do research to find answers to questions that should already be well known. One example of this is creating groups on Facebook. As soon as the member count reaches 5000, you can’t send them messages anymore. However, a lot of businesses do not realize this until it’s too late.