I was reading an article the other day on the debt that our youth (college students in particular) are growing up with, and it made me think about the fact that youth today expect more out of life than previous generations.  They have grown up with a sense of entitlement, and this has translated into huge amounts of debt for the average college student.  That got me thinking about how important it is to not only make things easy for customers, but also to provide added value in the experience itself.

More and more, the niceties of a user’s experience are now expected, so we must continue to reinvent and reinvest in order to keep our customers coming back.  Resting on our laurels is not an option, and customers will move on as soon as something else perceived as better or cooler comes along.  Anyone who has doubts should revisit the Friendster and MySpace phenomenon.  MySpace built a better mouse trap and blew past the established market leader with lightning speed.  But, I digress.

The key is to stay out in front and consistently provide more and better services without getting behind the competition.  Once you are playing defense, it’s harder to climb back on top.  Part of this requires some dedication to good old fashioned Research and Development.  There is no question that research is one of a Marketer’s most valuable resources, so it should be kept top-of-mind when decisions on budget and resource allocation are considered.

Get inside the minds of your target consumers and think of ways to help them help themselves.  Show them that you are thinking about them and they are more likely to respond by being loyal.  The alternative is frightening to say the least.