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The Twitter Rule

According to the TNS Compete and the Consumer Electronics Association joint study, older age segments 50+ use many technologies at or near comparable rates as younger age segments.

Older Americans, however, rely more heavily on in-person information sources for purchasing electronics products and sixty-three percent spoke with a sales associate in-person when researching their consumer electronics purchase, compared to 47 percent of those aged 18-49.

Sixty percent of consumers aged 50 and older also indicated that a product having too many features was a main reason for being frustrated with technology, compared to 39 percent of consumers aged 18-49.

A couple of key takeaways.

Regardless of the segment or age cohort, products have to be intuitive, seamlessly integrated, and easy to explain. The Tivo remote will go down as one of the best examples of an easy to use product that could be easily explained by a Best Buy or Circuit City rep. It does not matter that the product is superior in terms of benefits and technology if the average consumer has to invest significant time into understanding how to use it.

This applies to any product, not just technology. Insurance products are notoriously difficult to understand and most financial products look like the Chief Legal Counsel wrote the marketing copy.

One side effect of this economic downturn will be a focus on ease of use and an easily understood value proposition. Smart companies and marketers will focus on understanding what customers need, creating brands and products that fulfill real needs, are easy to use, and can be easily explained.

In a sense, you could call it the Twitter rule. You need to be able explain the value of your products or how to use your products in 140 characters or less. Twitter is easy to use and forces users to really think about what they are saying. As a marketer, I can’t think of a better method to test understanding of a product and the value it provides customers.

If you can tweet it, you can probably sell it.