The way we market to consumers is undergoing enormous change. Technology is both our disrupter and our salvation.
Technology means people can now divert their attention to another screen or skip our ads altogether. On the other hand, great use of technology allows us to become an integral part of consumer’s lives if we can offer utility through content.
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a handful of companies showed how they are leading the way in exactly this type of thinking by creating products and services that enhance consumer’s lives.
Possibly one of the best examples was the AppLink developer’s program, a new initiative from Ford that allows developers to modify existing or create new mobile apps to interface with Ford vehicles enabled with the SYNC platform. Apps developed with this technology can link to a car’s console and are operated by voice commands. Developers of radio, travel, music and social apps have already started redeveloping their products for use with this platform. The platform puts the enhancement of in-car entertainment and utility applications in the hands of the public, allowing Ford to focus on the technology that enhances the performance of their vehicles.
Many other awarded emerging technologies were developed by independent companies.
Representing the abundant trend in wearable health – Fitbit Flex Fitness bracelet can sync via Bluetooth to your iPhone or android device and uses an app to set goals and monitor progress, while the Hapifork helps you manage portion sizes and how fast you eat. Eye-tracking PC add-on Tobii Rex allows you to navigate the screen with the flick of your eyes, and Yotaphone handset developed an etch-sketch style ink-screen for storing documents.
If the companies at CES are a sign of things to come then the future of brands is not advertising – it’s providing consumers with useful content through technology, with the promise that awareness and brand preference will follow.
In fact, in a 2009 Australian report from Razorfish, 65% of consumers report that a digital experience has changed their mind about a brand, and 97% agree that these experiences influence purchase decisions.
So what does the future of marketing look like when advertising takes a back seat to technology?
I predict creatives will become technologists, engineers will become marketers and geeks will rule the world.
Maura Tuohy is a digital strategist at MercerBell.