Tag Archives: smartphone

Data, data everywhere but how should marketers use it?

In the final blog in our series I look at the powerhouse of one-to-one communication – data.

How much data will we see and what will it look like?
New devices will generate data, lots of it. In this constantly connected world, devices send data continuously over internet protocol (IP). Cloud computing is enabling and providing a storage solution for this data explosion.

There will an increased demand for APIs, or open data from brands, not for personal information, but for data points that can be used, reformatted and used to bring a new understanding – creating the so-called Internet of Things. Image and facial recognition, along with various biometric opportunities, will be increasingly feasible in a variety of contexts.

How will data insight improve people’s lives?
With so many devices connected, we may see the formation of ‘social media’ networks for machines. A washing machine that texts when a cycle is complete is not very useful. However a connected washing machine is beneficial when it can contact the manufacturer and report faults. A network of connected washing machines can provide data to improve operating efficiency, new product design or predict faults before they happen (and order the part in readiness).

Data can be used to solve many problems – from major health issues, to delivering a better, more efficient customer service. It does also raise questions of privacy, both between users (taking a picture with the wink of an eye), and individuals and businesses (the privacy of stored data for instance). With Google Glass using eye tracking, even involuntary movements may be recorded and stored in the cloud.

What are the challenges for brands?
The typical view is that brands see data as an opportunity for more marketing, but it’s important to understand and explain to consumers the difference between personal data in marketing and anonymous data points from data. As highlighted earlier, brands have more often been using data for decades to measure, understand and improve their products and services – more so than to send out more marketing communications.

There is, though, a risk for data on a macro level – from governments to industrial espionage or cyber criminals – that will lead consumers to become more and more wary about the information they will share.

You only have to consider the reaction to Tesco’s plans to use anonymised facial recognition technology to see how cautious customers can be.

As we see more data being sent to the cloud, how will brands want to use it? Should they even be able to use this data at all?
The challenges of new technologies will create a threat of more legislation that may limit brand activity.

One-to-one communication could be harder and more problematic in these new channels, thus defining the ‘opt-in’ and moving from quantity to quality becomes critical. There is a risk that with many devices and much data, brands create marketing fatigue in consumers. One-to-one communication becomes less effective and consumers will be looking for ‘ad holiday breaks’ from brands.

And the opportunities?
Instead of marketing, customer service can become a brand’s defining opportunity for differentiation and engagement.

Marketers will need to allow customers to create personalised marketing permissions, which not only addresses ‘what’, but also ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how often’.

A ‘cloud of me’ could offer a dashboard to consumers to control what marketing they receive based on their regularity of purchase and specific activities, for example, going on holiday or the varying renewal windows for various insurance products.

What advice would you give to brands/marketers about using data wisely?
It is important for brands not to see data as an exercise in collecting as much information from as many consumers as possible.

In order to collect and use personal data, brands will need to create and maintain considerable trust from users. This trust goes way beyond legal or regulatory requirements.

The role of trade bodies to lead and show best practice is important. Industry self-regulation is essential, as when governments legislate for technology it is often blunt and draconian.

Data can allow brands to become more effective, but it needs to be achieved with the user in mind. For example, while cookies can deliver relevant advertising following a search, brands need to create more effective tracking techniques once a product has been purchased or to understand when the user is no longer interested.

Brands need to harness the power of data to deliver utility and a better service to consumers.

When historians look back at the current era, it will be seen as one of the most innovative ever.

To benefit in this period of increasing consumer ascendancy and control, brands will need to demonstrate an increased responsibility towards data, as well as becoming more agile: adapting to changes faster. They need to think beyond delivering more marketing and instead offer a better, more useful customer engagement and experience.

By DMA guess blogger Jason Cross, Head of Marketing, Edenred and DMA Mobile & Connected Marketing Council member

Read an edited version of all 3 blogs here

Read part 1 of this series, The future of mobile and connected marketing: challenges and opportunities for brands

Read part 2 of this series, Beyond touchscreens to haptic interfaces, gesture and voice control: new interactions and interfaces


Beyond touchscreens to haptic interfaces, gesture and voice control: new interactions and interfaces

The second of our series of blogs on the future of mobile and connected marketing looks at the new era of interfaces, wearable devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s a phrase applied to this new world of connected devices, from voice and gesture controlled devices to smart machines that talk to each other.

How will interfaces and the way people interact with them change?
In the same way that smartphones shifted digital interactions away from keyboards and buttons, to touchscreens and finger-based navigation we will see a proliferation of connected and wearable devices accompanied by new forms of interaction. We’re already beginning to see them in desktop and smartphones. For instance, Apple’s Siri and Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana are early examples of how voice commands, combined with intelligent assistants can control devices.

The gesture control of Nintendo’s Wii/ Xbox Kinnect/ Playstation Move will be applied to smaller devices such as mobiles and tablets. The Leap Motion controller is a demonstration of how this can be delivered cheaply and effectively. Haptic screens will bring depth to our interactions with three-dimensional gestures (already demonstrated by Microsoft) and screens that can alter their sense of texture.

Looking further ahead (but not that far ahead), we will see computing controlled directly by brain sensors. In other words, thought controlled. Last year Havard created a brain-to-brain interface that allows people to control animals through thought alone. Sounds pretty fantastical but then so did Siri a decade ago.

Will a single interface dominate?
No, what we’ll see is people using a range of interfaces depending on the device used and their need at any given time. We will use a range or combination of interactions (touch, gesture, voice, and eventually thought) depending our personal preference and need.

What are the challenges for marketers?
Marketers will need to understand the new user experience and the specific needs on these interfaces to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Brands often struggle to understand touch screens, which means that they deliver an inadequate user experience. User logins and complex forms are typical examples of this failure. Instead brands could use functions such as dragging and dropping items in a specific order instead of passwords. In the future, unique identification features such as fingerprints, heart pulses or even an individual’s footsteps may entirely replace the need for logins. Attempting to apply a desktop or even a touch screen experience for these new interfaces will drive users away. Brands need to reconsider the user experience and understand the specific needs and possibilities of these new interactions.

How about wearable and connected devices? What are they and how widespread is their use?
With powerful computing becoming cheaper there will be more connected devices in new forms. The Internet of Things will see increasing numbers of connected, intelligent objects from personal items to household appliances and cars. Google Glass (currently in Beta) is just one example of where wearables may head, but other developers are looking at wrist-based devices and other discreet forms of computing. It’s important to understand that it’s still early days though, and most products are little more than prototypes. We are therefore unlikely to see mass adoption in the same way as we did with smartphones. Instead, people will choose devices that meet their own specific needs.

For example, we’re seeing the development of connected devices to help people manage their health from life-logging through to personal diagnosis scanners. There’s even an app that tracks food poisoning incidents and lists restaurants that may make you sick.

As apps and wearable technology that aids health management take off, we will see an older audiences adopting these devices. And as with all other technology channels, the way in which these devices are used by different demographics will differ significantly. Ultimately, people will create their own personal technology ecosystem that addresses their unique needs.

Beyond the next generation, robotics will become more commonplace. Although we are many years away from true artificial intelligence, better and cheaper computing combined with many new sensors will see clever robots addressing specific tasks. One such example are autonomous flying vehicles (drones), where we are already seeing quadracopters used for many different applications.

What are the opportunities for marketers?
Connected devices represent the next generation of computing after smartphones. ‘Wearables’ will create more personalised and individual experiences than smartphones currently do. Through connected objects brands will be able to understand more about their products, their customers, and their customers’ use of their products. This brings an opportunity for brands to focus on delivering a better service and user experience. As I said earlier, it’s still very early days and most products are little more than prototypes.

The ability to roll out cheap computing will see more brand services becoming products. Fitness trackers such as Nike Fuel, Fitbit or Jawbone are the current leading example of these, but simple devices such as the Red Tomato Pizza fridge magnet, show that solutions do not have to come from years of development or vast investment. Drones are an example of how brand service can be improved through the proliferation of technology – from delivering defibrillators in remote areas, to DHL Germany’s parcel service or Amazon’s Prime Air.

What are the challenges for marketers?
Mobile phones are unique, unshared and personal devices. Wearables will be even more so. For brands to enter into this new space will require a different understanding of user permissions, where best practice will not simply be a nice-to-have, but a necessity.

Consumers tend to adopt much faster than brands, and as Gilbert Hill said in the last blog, they create their own channels. That is a trend that is likely to accelerate. Users are not driven by brand marketing efforts, but rather by their own needs and desires. Marketers will need to think entirely in terms of personalised, relevant and contextualised customer experiences.

Wearables, connected devices and robotics offer some exciting brand opportunities, but brands will need to think about service first, and avoid trying to push users to engage through new behaviours. There is also the danger that continual engagement across these many, highly personal channels may simply lead to user fatigue with brands.

We may also see fatigue from the marketers as they struggle with the emerging technology. The complexity of big/small data, continual need for investment, budget restrictions, or brand focus on ROI or measurability may all stifle the creation of a meaningful brand engagement.

What will happen to the mobile?
While we will see new screens and interactions, the core functions of a smartphone are unlikely to change significantly. It will still be important for some time to come, where it becomes more of a dashboard that manages the multitude of personal devices around us.

In the final blog in our series Jason Cross will look at the powerhouse of one-to-one communication – data – which used wisely could in time create ‘a cloud of me’.

By DMA guest blogger Mark Brill, Managing Partner UK: strategy, ideation and training, BrandEmotivity and DMA Mobile & Connected Marketing Council Chair

Read part 1 of this series, The future of mobile and connected marketing: challenges and opportunities for brands 

The future of mobile and connected marketing: challenges and opportunities for brands

Smartphone and tablets have led to significant changes in media use. From communications to content and shopping, people are connecting and engaging across every media and marketing platform, which is creating confusion and opportunities for brands on how best to engage with customers.

Add to that a proliferation of connected and wearable devices and there are big opportunities and challenges for marketers. From best practice to data and privacy, how can marketers approach these challenges and create new, meaningful engagement in these channels?

This is the first in a series of three Q&A blogs where Mark Brill and Jason Cross will talk about what brands need to do to add value to and enhance the customer experience.

In this first instalment I look at how mobile has transformed the way people consume content, shop, connect and engage with brands.

What are the key trends in mobile right now?
We’re living in a ‘mobile-first’ world, where consumers connect with brands from their smartphones or tablets and every piece of media communication can be activated through mobile and, as such, everything becomes a digital medium.

Search is the most likely starting point when consumers want to connect with a brand on their phones. Convenience and speed are the overriding factors driving use, as 77% of mobile search happens in a location where a PC is available and 45% of all mobile searches are goal-oriented and conducted to help make a decision. This rises to 64% when the user is in-store.

Mobile is also a major tool for content creation – from photos to micro-blogging, it has led to more user-generated engagement than ever before.

How will this ‘mobile-first’ world affect marketing?
As an always there, always-on device, mobile cuts across the whole user experience. Consumers search for brand information on their device or find store locations. They may choose to make a purchase on their mobile or use it in a retail outlet to compare prices or check user reviews.

So brands and marketers need to stop thinking in terms of channel or technology silos and create a relevant experience that sits in a user journey.

How should brands be talking to customers in the mobile space?
Because mobile is such a personal and private space, it allows brands to develop meaningful one-to-one conversations with customers and move away from push marketing.

Brands should enable the customer to make their purchase decision as it’s likely that buyers will be halfway through the decision making process as thanks to the instantaneous access they have to independent information online.

Ultimately though, users create their own channels. You only have to look at the unintended organic growth of SMS, Instagram, or WhatsApp to see that they are not brand driven. So rather than pushing customers to their channels, they need to engage on their users’ terms. Brands also need to be sensitive about the way they capture and use data (Jason Cross will be discussing data in more detail in the final blog in this series).

What are the opportunities and challenges for brands?
Mobile users are on the move and therefore less focused than they are when using a desktop computer, so functions such as log-ins, registrations and forms need to be simplified. Being ‘mobile ready’ is no longer a nice-to-have for brands but an essential part of their marketing strategy.

As we see a greater proliferation of smartphones and new devices, brands need to understand how this will impact on their marketing activities. In tomorrow’s blog Mark Brill, our DMA Mobile & Connected Marketing Council Chair, will look at the new generation of interfaces and connected or wearable devices through the Internet of Things.

By DMA guest blogger Gilbert Hill, Managing Director, Governor Technology Ltd and DMA Mobile & Connected Marketing Council member

Secret to marketing success in visual social media

Videos are shared 12 times more than links and text posts combined; photos are liked two times more than text updates. And according to a piece of research by ROI Research 44% of people are more likely to engage with brands when they post pictures online. The rise and rise of digital engagement through the smartphone and tablet devices – both of which are natural easels for displaying images and video, and inherently encouraging social sharing – visuals will increasingly become the centrepiece of online marketing. Continue reading

The curious benefits of augmented reality

While wandering round my local branch of Evans cycles this morning, trying to figure out the best way to stay dry on the morning cycle commute this winter, I witnessed an apparently growing trend in retail consumers first hand; ‘Showrooming’. Instead of the usual meander around between the stands looking slightly bemused until eventually being begrudgingly assisted by someone or other (actually, to be fair, the guys in Evans are usually pretty on it but you get the idea), I saw some of my fellow shoppers scanning QR codes attached to bikes and discovering things for themselves. Continue reading

All TV ads are response ads

In the old days, there were two main types of TV advertising: brand and response. ‘Response’ campaigns set out single-mindedly to get you to call a number and typically took place during the week, in the daytime, in lower interest programmes and on smaller channels. It was all about efficient cost per response and acquisition. Brand campaigns were about creating long-term fame for the brand, reaching mass audiences and staying in their minds. Continue reading

Touchless interaction – why the future is about letting go: part 2/2

Part 2/2

Read part 1 – introduction

3. Cameras and motion sensors
Another opportunity for touchless interaction is by using imaging sensors such as a camera to interpret the world around the device. If a device can ‘see’, then it can offer new modes of interaction, such as physical gestures, motion tracking and facial recognition. Continue reading

Touchless interaction – why the future is about letting go: part 1/2

Part 1 of 2

It seems like just the other day we were discussing the move away from the mouse to the touchscreen, but such is the current pace of technological change and innovation, that now the talk is of a ‘post touchscreen’ world. New technologies are pushing the boundaries of what is possible without touching or clicking an interface – this gives us the opportunity to create more natural-feeling interactions than ever before, in scenarios that wouldn’t have previously been possible. Continue reading