Trends Shaping Customer Behavior Across the Digital Landscape and What They Mean to IT

By | Mar 26, 2013

Whether you sell computer software, medical equipment, or marketing services, understanding customer behavior is vital to the success of your midsize business. After all, the better you understand their tendencies, the better you will be at catering to their needs.Analyzing the way the customer behaves is a highly effective tactic, one which with the aid of IT, can empower midsize companies to:

  • Develop products and services that satisfy customer needs
  • Meet a wide range of organizational goals
  • Change the behavior of the customer
  • Improve overall business efficiency

For inquiring minds in midsize firms, getting a hold on the behavior component starts with recognizing the trends that shape it. The following overview will highlight some of the key trends that are likely impacting how the members of your target audience respond to your message and how IT can play a role in shaping experiences for those audience members.Mobile DevicesThanks to the explosion of mobile devices, consumer behavior has shifted in new directions on multiple fronts. For example, subscribers who once read their email newsletters exclusively on a desktop PC now have the option to do so on a smartphone, tablet, or other device. Likewise, the consumer who once went grocery shopping armed with only a handwritten list can now whip out a gadget that has a digital version of that list as well as immediate access to additional product details, product comparison info, reviews, and much more.

Whether it's implementing the design technologies that support a smooth, responsive email browsing experience across multiple devices, or developing the smartphone and tablet apps that boost user engagement, IT's involvement is crucial to your firm's ability to take full advantage of the mobile trend.

Cloud Computing

While the cloud is often touted as an enterprise solution, it also offers benefits to the everyday consumer. The abundance of cloud services has resulted in a growing number of people who store their data online, rather than on the local operating system. This robust computing technology is more than just a storage alternative. It has changed the way IT departments run applications, distribute resources, and manage entire infrastructures. The flexibility of the cloud is molding behavior from the home-based computer room across the mobile office environment.Social MediaEconsultancy talks about how various psychological aspects of popular social networking sites influence user behavior. The author examined three specific factors that motivate users to share or not to share. Whether it's sharing content or endorsing it with the click of a button, one thing is for certain - users are firmly plugged into the social web. From staying in touch with friends and family to keeping up with their favorite brands, the social channel has its imprints all over this user behavior thing.

When it comes to social media, technical experts work almost exclusively behind the scenes, but that doesn't make their role any less important. In fact, without IT managing the APIs, custom apps, and insights that enable this channel to be integrated with existing efforts, the specialists employed to manage your fan base would have a difficult time capitalizing on the engagement and relationship building qualities for which social media is so well known.

Factoring IT Into Your Marketing Strategies

You may have noticed that our bullet list above mentions that understanding customer behavior can help you actually change that behavior. This potential requires an integrated alignment of marketing and IT that, above all, forces companies to answer the oh so important "why". Why does a prospect click through to your landing page, yet fail to make a purchase when she arrives? By supplying the answers to the question, IT can help marketing shape the actions you want customers to take.Smarter commerce is all about doing business, well — smarter. Leveraging the customer's behavior as actionable insight that allows you to make predictions and carve out a superior experience seems to fall in line with a smarter way of doing business, wouldn't you say?

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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