You know the saying: The times they are a-changing. And nowhere more than in our world of digital marketing. Whether or not you engage in the hype surrounding the shiny new technologies and platforms that constantly promise to “change everything,” you have to admit that these here are exciting times we live in. Get out your new iPad everyone and get ready to take some notes.
Now, I’m not a psychic. I don’t know what our world will look like in five years (though I did recently venture a guess in these very pages). But I do know that if you want to succeed as a marketer in our always-evolving world, you’d better be ready to be increasingly mobile, engaging, relevant, and aware of the contexts in which we all now operate.
To prepare for a “Minority Report”-style, hyper-connected future, here are five big ideas you can embrace now to stay ahead of the curve:
Location features of social apps such as Foursquare, Ban.jo, Path, et al. are a potential goldmine of important data on consumer habits and preferences. Near-Field Communications (NFC) and wireless payments are here and just starting to show their potential. Privacy issues still need to be resolved, but there is a clear demand from consumers who want marketers to find ways to make their purchases and lives easier. And, if the rumors are true that the iPhone 5 will ship with NFC, expect this geo-power to go from leading edge to mainstream with the swipe of a finger.
2. The Video Land Grab
While online video and mobile are – unsurprisingly – attracting a lot of heat, the marketing spend they draw is still way out of line with the amount of attention they attract from consumers. Don’t just throw money at these new channels: Instead of placing pre-roll video ads and other “forced-view” options, look to user-initiated solutions that respect the user, their time, and their interests.
3. You Down with UGC?
I’m talking about the new UGC: User Generated Curation, powered by content-discovery apps like Pulse, Flipboard, Fancy, and Foodspotting. Publishers and merchants are providing the content, and consumers are cultivating feeds that suit their interests and contexts. The power to filter data and curate personalized information platforms has been put in the hands of the people. These are models for how brands will stay relevant to consumers. As these platforms evolve, they could provide the next great marketing platform. The massive attention consumers and marketers are devoting to Pinterest clearly demonstrates how personal curation and relevance can drive engagement.
4. Thinking Beyond the Tap
Tablets are obviously a magnificent canvas where marketers can paint engaging experiences for consumers. But what are you going to do with your users after you get them to tap? Don’t think you can count on rolling out the same old display strategy. It’s time to get creative and imagine the new possibilities inspired by this new platform. Media industry guru Ken Doctor points to innovative advertisers who take advantage of the unique iPad format: “What’s better for an insurance company like Liberty Mutual than threatening you with disaster (tornado, earthquake, flood) and then inviting you to simply tilt your iPad to watch the damage disappear?” Now that’s what I call mobile advertising.
5. United We Stand
Ditch the silos in your advertising strategy and focus on the most important thing – your customer. In this increasingly interconnected world, consumers don’t think in terms of silos, so why should you? The power of integration is evident in the dividends it pays for brands. Google found that consumers had 74% brand recall when the advertiser has an integrated strategy that carries across mobile, TV, and online. QR codes and “bridging” apps like Viggle that help deliver second-screen relevance can support marketers’ efforts to unleash multiplatform, integrated relevance.
So what are you waiting for? The future is here. Smart marketers will succeed in this world by engaging with the trends that have resonance and relevance for the emerging consumer of today.