Geo Week News

May 9, 2016

Want Customers? Think Young

This woman is probably a Millennial, right?

I spent a day last week scanning onsite at the University of Georgia in Athens. Being from Georgia, I spent many a hazy weekend there during my high school and early collegiate years, so I was looking forward to my return. On the surface, little had changed since my days on campus. Sure, the trees were a bit larger, but the streets, the buildings and the general atmosphere were much the same. There was one great exception: Everyone was now wearing earbuds.

I remember college quite fondly as the place where I met the most people (and the most interesting people) every day. I met some of my best friends while at university. I met my wife there. I remember constantly walking around campus in boisterous packs as we moved from class to class. But as I looked around last week there were very few packs and a lot more solo walkers; head down, immersed in their own world. It made me want to scream at them! Look around at all of these people surrounding you! I’ve spent many an evening promoting the virtues of attending a university in person—living on campus even, as opposed to commuting or “attending” an online university. The main reason, of course, was the camaraderie and exchange of ideas with the other students. Apparently, my experiences are a bit outdated.

It occurred to me that had I gone through college with earbuds in and head down, not only would I have missed out on meeting scores of friends, I might have missed ever meeting my wife! Suddenly, I understood the need for all of those dating apps. If your head is in your mobile device such that you miss the girl walking right by you, then I guess the only way to meet a girl is through that mobile device. Which brings me to my point. If the prospect of romance is not enough to pull one away from a mobile routine then what chance would anything else have?

So, how are you getting the attention of your clients?

Are you pulling them away from the myriad devices that are competing for our limited attention? You may have the best data or product in the world, but if you are not delivering it in the format that your clients are using, then they may never see it. Maybe the answer is like the dating app: If you can’t bring Mohammed to the mountain then you’d better start looking for ways to bring the mountain to Mohammed.

  • Assess the technical proficiency of your clients. What applications are they currently using? Can you speak directly to the people actually using these technologies? When a VP tells you they have Revit experts, its important to understand exactly what level of proficiency the actual Revit techs have—this might be the difference between success and failure when it comes to project implementation.
  • Tailor your deliverables to the client’s needs. This is one of the hardest lessons for me. I have this incredible 3D dataset and, in reality, the client just needs a slice of it to accomplish his/her task. The reality is that those slices are often much easier to deliver than the entire database. And if it is used, that is so much better than being left on a hard drive ignored.
  • Look to software-free deliverables. Web apps that are free to the end user such as TruView or NetView can be great entries into the world of reality capture. 3D models can be delivered as PDFs so that end users can view them using software they already own and know.
  • Go mobile. If you start looking on Google Play or the App Store for BIM apps or CAD related apps, you’ll soon have a full-time job on your hands. Regardless of your place in your firm or the position of your client in his, the reality is that the boots on the ground person implementing your deliverables is most likely a recent convert from that group that I saw at UGA. If they are experiencing the world through those mobile devices, you can bet that they will experience their professions the same way. Make sure that you (and mobile) are ready when they arrive.

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