New ways to move beyond traditional marketing.
As marketing buzz shifts from the Internet of Things to the Internet of Me, consumers are quickly becoming the architects of their own hyper-personalized empires. And the sooner you embrace this change, the more successful your initiatives will be.
For forward-thinking marketers, this means loosening the vice grip on brand voice so two-way communication and co-creation between customers and brands can take place. This strategy has the potential to be even more powerful if marketers tap into what Altimeter Analyst Rebecca Lieb calls the “object voice,” which lets multiway communication among brands, consumers, and connected objects happen.
Take, for example, the Johnnie Walker “smart bottle.” Consumers scan the whiskey bottle using their smartphones and receive different messages depending on their state and location. If the bottle is unopened and in the store, the consumer may receive a discount or coupon. If it’s opened and at home? Instant cocktail recipes.1
To provide customers this level of extreme relevance, marketers are using automated personalization, big-data capabilities, and broad-reaching analytics to create experiences that are both highly attentive and delightfully unexpected.
Smartphones are the center of the consumer’s digital universe — but they won’t be for long. With the launch of Apple Watch, along with a variety of other smart watches and a proliferation of smart clothing, smart appliances, and smart cars, marketing is moving beyond the smartphone. And while all of these objects will connect to and through our smartphones, the smart watch will soon be the command center.
As customers interact with smart watches and countless connected objects, they’ll be generating torrents of new data. One of the most notable new data types is biometric data — which presents intriguing opportunities for marketers. With insight into the wearer’s heart rate, blood glucose level, temperature, hours of sleep, and more, you can actually interpret each customer’s physical and emotional state.2
Already, companies like Walgreens are latching on. With a platform that allows customers to track their wearable data, like number of steps taken each day, the brand can offer rewards to customers who meet or exceed their goals.3
This is only the beginning. Imagine helping customers with sympathetic pricing when you know they’re having a rough week — from lack of sleep or other deviations from their typical health pattern. Brands will actually be able to communicate as friends.
Digitize the physical.
The lines between our online and offline worlds have never been so blurred. As consumers move through an increasingly “phygital” world, they expect a continuous and personal experience across devices, in stores, at airports, and everywhere they go.
As consumers move through an increasingly "phygital" world, they expect a continuous and personal experience across devices, in stores, at airports, and everywhere they go.
Mobile beacons are one of the key technology tools that allow digital magic in the physical world. Using Bluetooth, the beacons emit signals that activate apps on people’s phones, allowing brands to send real-time personalized messages based on a person’s precise location.
Marketers must get over the fear that this technology is “creepy,” especially since consumers are asking for it. Adobe Digital Index surveys show that while only 37% of consumers have received location promotions, 57% believe an in-store promotion would be helpful, and 77% say an in-store promotion on their smart watch would feel normal.4
Starwood is one brand that has risen to the geomarketing challenge. With beacons installed in their hotel lobbies, clerks can instantly recognize guests who’ve installed the Starguest app. When guests walk up to the check-in counter, the clerk already knows all their room preferences and is ready to greet them personally, by name. Entry to their room is keyless — guests unlock their doors with their smartphones.5
Marketer use of location technology.
Tap the subconscious.
Before consumers can even articulate their thoughts, their decision-making process is already under way. By using neuroscience to measure the inner workings of the elusive and increasingly distracted human brain, marketers can understand the subconscious reactions to messages and campaigns.
Neuroscience innovations now make it possible to quickly gather data from multiple nonconscious streams, including pupil movement, respiration, microfacial expressions, and brainwave activity.6 Soon, neuromarketers won’t even need obtrusive gadgetry like EEG headsets to capture this data. Developers of thermal imaging and fNIRS (functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy) technologies are currently testing new tools that allow data to be collected covertly from a large subject pool at key moments — so we can actually understand which people in a crowd are interested in our messages.
Based on this information, marketers will be able to use remote dashboards to optimize messages in real time, so campaigns can be refined on the fly and more people can be influenced to pay attention, remember, and act on your messages.7
Connect to the good.
While customer expectations for me-centered content have reached an all-time high, that doesn’t mean consumers only think of themselves. In fact, they’ve never thought more globally. According to Nielsen’s 2014 Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility, 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.8
As brands apply new standards of customer engagement across every touchpoint, they must also change the way they approach corporate citizenship and responsibility. Programs like Chase Community Giving, which lets customers choose which charities the bank should support, use social crowdsourcing to give more voice to consumers.9
Initiatives that resonate are about more than just marketing. They’re about fostering deeper relationships with customers and communities to make an authentic impact — all while building a stronger and more profitable brand.
Prepare now for a radically different future.
The key to thriving in this new era of marketing magic? Move beyond your current definition of marketing — and beyond your marketing department. As you branch further and further out, you’ll gain the experience and confidence you need to embrace whatever the future brings.
These five strategies can help you prepare now.
- Foster a culture of content.
- Be transparent.
- Work across teams.
- Create a test-and-learn culture.
- Plan and prioritize your digital investments.