Innovation in the Age of Mobile and Wearables

Innovation in the Age of Mobile and Wearables
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Wearables and mobile are all the rage now. With the explosion of technology comes a multitude of ways brands and marketers can capitalise on the opportunities. Daniel Bluzer-Fry, senior planner at Melbourne-based strategic consultancy The Lab explores the options.

Everybody is talking about mobile and wearables. These ‘hot topics’ are well and truly embedded in the digital discourse that most marketers find themselves drawn into today.

With Apple recently announcing its ‘Apple Watch’ scheduled to arrive early in 2015, it’s hard to imagine that the noise in the room won’t continue to grow as time rolls on.

It seems that much of the discussion in marketing circles drifts towards what advances in technology mean for the way marketers communicate with consumers. This is understandable as it’s easy to get swept away by the thought of retailers employing beacons to provide more personalised shopper experiences, sending customers push messages when they are window shopping with exclusive discounts or hitting them up with reward offers when they’re in store.

Yet it is worth noting that there is a difference between being an innovative communicator and being an innovative brand. And right now, there’s plenty to get excited about when it comes to innovation, with both mobile and wearables providing marketers with the opportunity to tap into deeper insights that can transform their brands..

The more connected the consumer, the more data for the marketer

‘Big Data’ has had a lot of traction recently. One of the brilliant things that mobile and wearables can offer marketers is a series of previously untapped information that can be used to gather insights which feed directly into innovation.

Consider some of the synergies that mobile and wearables may have for brands in the future. Marketers may be able to track the path consumers take when walking through their store using mobile, and then couple this info with biometric data (heart rate, perspiration etc) captured through a consumer’s wearable.

Imagine knowing what parts of your store a certain type of shopper is spending the most time in and how aroused they are. It would be useful information in the cosmetics section of a department store. Such insights could be drawn on to inform everything from the merchandise to store design in order to drive sales. It just shows how important mobile and wearables will be helping brands improve their offerings.

The better mobile and wearables get, the better our capability to capture the ‘why’ and innovate

Big Data is not the only thing that will have marketers finding deeper insights to unlock ways to innovate their offers, as even big data has its limitations. After all, without understanding contextual factors and what motivates consumers to behave the way they do, some data will only leave us hypothesising what is at the root of consumers’ decisions.

But this is where mobile technology and wearables are opening up a new world of opportunities. One of the fundamental concerns with lots of the research that’s done today is that it fails to capture contextual, in-the-moment factors that influence consumers’ motivations and behavior. “People misremember their own pasts by recalling that they once thought, did and said, as what they now think, do and say,” noted Dan Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard.

What both mobile and wearables such as Google Glass are now doing is allowing marketers and brands to research consumers in the moment and understand the needs and drivers behind their behavior. From being able to undertake field-usability testing on mobile in real world locations (such as sending an online bettor to the track to test out a mobile website), through to employing wearables like Google Glass to capture a consumer’s point-of-view and have them respond to focused questions while they’re actually shopping, the capability that marketers now have to tap into consumers experiences and gain insights without sending out somebody in a labcoat, is unprecedented.

Final thoughs

As previously noted, while tech such as mobile, wearables and beacons may create a raft of new ways to communicate with customers, equally if not more importantly, is the fact that the latest and greatest technology is enabling marketers from all industries, to learn more, and capture deeper insights to drive meaningful innovation.

It’s the latter point that more marketers and brands should pay attention to. The term ‘smart’, really does count for more than comms when it comes to digital.

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