By Clark Turner, Founding Editor, UTalkMarketing.com.
Has there ever been a decade as technologically dynamic as the ‘Noughties’, with developments transforming marketing practices?
In light of the speed of developments, to predict the innovations that will shape marketing practices in a decade’s time would be impossible. It would be much the same looking five years down the line.
So to that end, we’ve picked what we believe will be some of the leading factors – in no particular order - to influence marketing practice in the near future.
1. Apps – the survival of the fittest.
There are already more apps in existence – 100,000 plus - than any one person could download and use in a lifetime. What’s important for any app success is functionality and performance.
Branded apps obviously have the advantage of brand association, over non-branded apps. But as things develop, brand association may not be enough.
Mobile campaigns that simply offer a discount voucher when the phone owner comes within 100 meters of a fast-food outlet may cut it presently. But it won’t be enough in the future.
2. Augmented Reality
The death bell was being sounded for print with newspaper and magazine sales on the wane. But then came Augmented Reality.
Simply put, the practice mixes real and virtual worlds together in real time. It does this by integrating, or “augmenting” 3D objects into live video.
Triggers can be included in print and a number of magazines have been quick off the mark to adopt this technology and position themselves as leaders and innovators in the publishing world.
It’s early days and marketers are still trying to get their heads around the capabilities of the tech, but as they do, expect AR to become more common place.
3. Consumers hold the power, not brands
Hardly news, but still the message has not got through to some. The days of brands simply pushing their brand messages onto to consumers is long gone. Consumers now hold pulling power, deciding what brand communications they want to receive, and when.
The shift from push to pull has been accelerated by the emergence and development of social media, which calls for a whole new approach towards brand-consumer dialogue. Avoiding, or incorrectly managing that conversation and brands will be left to count the cost.
Hand in hand with this, we can expect to see a ‘revolt against pester’. Without doubt, the brands that realise that people don’t always want to be in touch or pestered will rise above the competition.
4. TV advertisers get personal
The days of family gatherings around the TV on an evening are long gone due to Video on Demand. The BBC iPlayer, ITV Player etc now allow viewers to determine what they want to watch and when.
Beyond sites hosted by the major broadcasters, YouTube now hosts full length programmes with the site recently announcing forthcoming live programming.
With VoD comes the challenge for advertisers in delivering targeted advertising in an even more fragmented media market. Failure to meet this challenge will spell disaster.
5. Contactless Payment
Bin the cash. Over five million contactless payment enabled cards have been issued in the UK since launched by Barclaycard in 2007.
Buy-in scheme from Caffe Nero, Pret A Manger, EAT, Yo! Sushi and the National Trust now means the number of outlets accepting contact less payment through Barclaycard is up to 20,000.
Amer Sajed, Chief Executive of Barclaycard UK, Business and International at Barclaycard, said, “We expect to see more retailers follow Caffe Nero and Pret A Manger and sign up to contactless in the near future.”
We predict he’s right when the tech holds so much more scope than the power to simply buy sandwiches.
6. The increased role of analytics for ROI
Too many marketers have been throwing budget will-nilly at their digital marketing with out a clear understanding of the medium. In the age where knowledge is king, a true understanding of analytics is key as marketers strive to do more with less.
7. The advance of Android applications
Google’s entry into the mobile market changed from fiction into fact with the launch of the Nexus One. And with its own Android software, it aims to pose a serious challenge to Apple’s apps.
As the tech race is stepped up with increased competition expect to see an uplift in innovation providing apps we never realised we needed in our lives.
8. Google Wave
One of the most anticipated developments of 2009, Google Wave went in to live trial in September of last year. But after a flurry of media coverage surrounding launch, things have gone noticeably quiet.
The browser-based tool combines email, instant messaging and real-time collaboration getting all manner of tech fans excited. You can be sure Google has big plans for Wave as 2010 pans out. One to watch.
9. Secret Discounting
Increasingly retailers are secretly and unofficially discounting prices by emailing discount vouchers to registered customers, without advertising them as 'sales'.
Alternatively a number of ‘members-only’ sites now operate in the UK. Brandalley, for example, has over 1.3million registered members and offers up to three new flash sales per day – offering designer brands at up to 70% off RRP.
10. The new era of mCommerce
We don’t simply want to talk and text from our phones, we want to shop with them too. It’s a booming sector for the right here, right now generation. In November eBay took mCommerce to the next level with its ‘Deals’ app. In December 2009 alone, the company expects more than $500 million in merchandise to be purchased via eBay mobile.
Meanwhile an Augmented Reality ‘Product Finder’ allows user keys in the product they are looking for and then can scan passers by. The tool then identifies what they are wearing and the nearest store where it can be purchased. With the growth and advance of smart phones, this is just the beginning.
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