3 Ways to Use Time As A Competitive Advantage

By | Small Business

Don’t focus on price–help your customers solve their time crunch

Only yesterday, we were madly preparing for the holidays and now January is racing by. Whew!

I’ve been trying to spend more time on strategic thinking, but nearly every day has brought a deluge of incoming requests. That’s why I was delighted to rediscover this MarketingDaily blog: The Paradox of Time in Consumer Behavior by Bob Deutsch, a cognitive anthropologist consultant.

The idea is this: Because managing time is a challenge, it’s also an opportunity for all of us trying to sell products or services to customers.

The paradox Mr. Deutsch describes comes about as a result of two opposing impulses that we Americans experience: We want everything newer, better, faster, but at the same time we feel like everything is happening too fast–spinning out of control–and we’d like to stop it or, at least, slow it down.

“People experience life as a series of staccato ‘nows’ and must-do’s that are metastasizing,” writes Mr. Deutsch. “A typical sentiment, 'I used to have a list of chores to do that I could check off one at a time. At some point, my list was completed. Now, as soon as I get to the next chore, another has miraculously appeared at the bottom of my list. It’s non-stop.’

And he adds: "Perhaps the best description of the present paradoxical context of the world was stated by a 44-year old woman in a focus group in Kansas City, 'Things are always advancing, getting better, sometimes for the worse.’”

What’s a marketer (or a communicator) to do, to reach people who are suffering from this paradox? Mr. Deutsch offers a few ideas, including:

  1. Connect the dots. “Help re-structure peoples’ experience of the extremely puzzle-pieced environment so they don’t feel completely overloaded and splintered.”
  2. Provide reassurance. Give people “a sense that your products and services can help them make better sense of the world and their world. Convert the pressure of time to a feeling of time well-spent.”
  3. Make it easy. “Don’t be a provider. Be a partner. Care for your consumer.”

Thought-provoking, right? This is still great advice, especially for anyone seeking ways to counteract information overload and get through to your target audience.

It’s time to use the lack of time as a competitive advantage.

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