If you start the count with accepting that movie screens and televisions are the first screens, with personal computers being the second screens, then there has been a lot of marketing documentation released recently about “the Third Screen”.
The first screen, television, was a one way medium, for which there could be little real knowledge of the consumer. Marketers took a punt on the demographics of people watching at certain times, and marketers could suddenly reach out to (with enough budget) millions with highly controlled messages.
Leading out of the Television were computer like devices attached to the backs of televisions. With Atari taking place of pride as possibly one of the leading companies in this era. With users effectively disengaged from television, these were dark days for marketers.
Suddenly the computer burst onto the scene, with the laptop following relatively closely behind. The computer allowed companies to interactively communicate with their customers, and to sell to their customers using the computer. Interactive communication both ways occurred, and customers could give direct feedback to suppliers.
The third screen, the mobile device, is seen as the game changer. Growing out of the computer the mobile device enables customers to immediately search online for competing products, different prices, and to share experiences outside of the suppliers ability to affect the message. Real time and on location.
Your marketing effort needs to acknowledge that 99% of Australians no longer sit in front of the TV on Sunday night watching the Sunday Showcase movie. Instead you need to be sure your website and other marketing mediums reflect the various mediums that your clients will be using.
This third screen is about dramatic technological and behavioural change. If you think about anything you’ve gone to book in the last few years, someone has some comment about it regardless of whether it is a hotel, a coffee shop, a restaurant, a tour company, or an accounting firm.
Also, This means the services provided by your accounting firm are being virtually monitored every moment of every day. And you need to have skills on handling online customer complaints as well as positive customer comments.
At the same time, it’s most likely that your customer has access to the same information sources you have, so you need to be well on top of your game. Not only can they check the information you are giving, but they can immediately compare prices for the same service. This leads to commoditization of your service, and certainly in the Australian compliance area.
Commoditization continues to be one of the key drivers to ensuring outsourcing offshore remains a key strategy for Australian accountants.