Technology is moving faster than consumer adoption at scale
With so many tech companies getting involved in the wearables trend and the Internet of Things, it's created a gold rush of product roll outs. Were consumers even ready for Samsung to release a smartwatch? Probably not, but Samsung felt they had to in order to plant a flag in market share. New products and innovations are being rolled out so quickly that it's actually outpacing mainstream consumer adoption, which is inhibiting any kind of significant growth and scale. These things have become vague gadgets to the consumer, who assumes that they will someday mature. However, with the industry not giving new products much time to breathe in the market, it might be shooting itself in the foot. Wearables and the Internet of Things also have no big flagship company (e.g., Apple and the iPhone) behind it as an energetic cheerleader.
Marketers don't know if they have a role to play right now
With massive adoption not being achieved, it's unclear at this point to marketers whether or not they have a seat at the table. At best, advertising strategies for wearables and connected consumer products are in their testing phase, and it looks that it will remain this way for a while. Add to that the looming pressure placed on the industry to tackle current real challenges (Millennials, mobile, Generation Z) and there's not much time or money left for experimentation on products that are only in their infancy. Because of this, most of the industry is sitting back and waiting for things to mature.
The industry does not know how to provide utility yet
With interruption advertising losing favor, marketers know that the new way to talk to consumers is to provide context, relevance, and utility. Every advertising message these days must be contextually relevant and provide some sort of help, otherwise you're just annoying people. While marketers are learning how to best do this on mobile, there's no clear sense of how to accomplish this on wearables or on connected consumer products. Why? Because these devices are currently closer to novelties than necessities. Nobody really needs a smartwatch, Fitbit, or a coffee maker that is cloud-connected -- at least right now. As the market matures, the importance of these things will reveal itself, and marketers will understand how to inject their voice to provide assistance and utility.
Geoff Ramsey, Chairman & Co-Founder of eMarketer speaks with iMedia about why marketers are waiting for mainstream cues before owning the wearable revolution and Internet of Things trend.
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Article written and video edited by senior media producer David Zaleski.
"Accountant one-eyed and a old abacus" image via Shutterstock.