Although it’s now common for digital marketers to work on perfecting their methods for media like television and journalism, the real future of marketing may depend on the machine more than the medium or message. With emerging technologies like wearable tech, marketers could have the opportunity to engage with new and current audiences in ways that could change the very nature of digital marketing.
The advent of Internet marketing changed the way brands interact with their current and prospective customers; concepts like Zero Moment of Truth demonstrate how technology has completely reshaped the brand-audience relationship. Because most customers now research products and services online before they make a purchase, brands must offer content that helps Internet users make informed buying decisions.
And just as online marketing has become the center of the marketplace, the Internet of things and wearable tech could become as commonplace as using a search box to shop. Here’s how brands can prepare for a future that includes marketing via emerging technologies.
Make it indispensable
Fashion brand Kenneth Cole has created a Google Glass app called 21 Days, 21 Deeds—it challenges its users to perform good deeds over the course of 21 days. The app also serves as a tool for Glass owners who want to get involved in their communities, those communities created by their geography and those created by being members of the Glass Explorers program.
Google Glass is still in beta and doesn’t yet allow ads, which means there isn’t much incentive for brands to put a rush on developing apps for the device. Still, Glass—and other wearable tech like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Watch—presents an opportunity for brands to be in more places for current and potential customers. And as wearable tech becomes more popular, more devices means more chances to reach customers where they are.
Make it mainstream
What makes 21 Days, 21 Deeds so appealing is that it’s a concept that can applied to just about any device—the app would work just as well if users took a photo with a smartphone, for instance, instead of Glass. Creating content that’s easy to consume and share across platforms lends itself to the trend of people using more than one device for activities like shopping and watching TV. Marketers can plan for the utility of multiple devices, like integrating smartphones and tablets into their content strategies; but they should also plan for how new devices will influence how consumers shop.
Make it exclusive
There is value, however, in using technology to create a small community. Offering exclusive content to users of emerging technologies can add to the appeal of having something other people don’t have yet. Seth Godin’s theory of tribes involves people willing to lead, and early adopters often lead the way for technology and the media. Content that appeals to an exclusive group of people could make those consumers more eager to share it.
Because the nature of marketing changes constantly, marketers must constantly prepare for the future and be ready to lead. Wearable tech hasn’t taken off just yet—but once it does, it has the potential to influence the future of marketing as heavily as mobile has. And the best marketers will be ready for that future.