Smart Technology, Smart Marketing Integration?

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This past January CES was back and smarter than ever.

Making the headlines this year was a ‘smart doll called Mother’ which is as the names states, is a digital replacement for your mother, it is designed to improve your life and will nag you about things you have not done, done too much of or should not do!

 (Below to the left is Mother and on the right is Withings Sleep System)

Then there is ‘smarter sleep’ a system that will adjust an alarm’s wake up time based on the quality of users sleep and their sleep cycle.

There Samsung’s Smart Home System managed via a watch or phone that links together household appliances, utility controls and gadgets so that users can turn devices on and off when out of the house.

LG’s appliances are so smart that they can talk to you.  Their fridge can tell you how many beers you have left and the washing machine will tell you how much longer the spin cycle has to go.

Another innovation is the smart toothbrush that can apparently track your brushing habits and tell you if you have missed any teeth when brushing.

Add to that digitally enabled smart locks, smart thermostats that can talk to fire alarms and your heating system.

Out of home there are Smart cars.   Smart cars have been around for a bit but now they are moving to new levels.   Not only do they park themselves but they now valet park themselves (and yes that means finding the parking space as well as actually doing the parking , then picking you up when you are ready)   plus other nifty things like avoiding crashes and are giving you access to all your cloud based entertainment via an interface in the car.

The range of smart appliances is staggering and a lot of this amazing technology has the chance to enhance and change people’s lives but how will people hear about it?  Will it make sense to them? Will they understand the benefits it brings?

At the same time as all this product evolution makes headlines, marketing is also fundamentally changing, it is adapting to the world that the products are creating; it is working with new tools, new data, and new media and having to deal with new consumer behaviour and attitudes. So can technology marketers be as smart as their products?

They have to – Marketing can make the difference between a winning and a losing product. With so many companies investing in ‘smart technology’ and its high cost of R&D, it is critical to win the marketing war and ensure that your product connects digitally and emotionally with consumers.  The challenge is for technology marketers, is to embrace new techniques, technologies and adapt to new consumer behaviour in order to produce integrated marketing strategies and campaigns that live up to their products promise.

And in this smart new digital age you need a smart communications plan, it is no longer about just making a good TV ad.  Historically the electronics industry has been pretty good at making big brand TV ads.  Think Sony Bravia balls, Intel’s sonic ident, Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl advert, PlayStation’s Double Life..  But did any of these extend beyond the 30” screen in your front room?  Now a lot of the target audience is not watching TV and if it is, is probably fast forwarding through ads.  To reach these elusive consumers, different channels and approaches need to be employed and the need for campaigns with more touchpoints and improved marketing integration is even greater than before.

So to help kick start your 2014 (q4) and 2015 planning, here are some common themes from some of the most successful integrated campaigns.  Take a leaf out of their book and you will be on way to making your marketing as smart as your product.

Have one clear Uniting Idea – This stops every agency re- inventing the wheel, it helps ensure that every touchpoint is clearly delivering the right message in a consistent way.  It saves money and time whilst delivering better results.

Do not talk about the technology – talk about its benefits.  If you want a mainstream product you  should avoid anything too technical.  This may seem a bit of an obvious comment but just looking at a lot of communication from technology products they still do not do this.

Develop flexible plans – Things are almost always never as straightforward as they should / could be.  Always build in a bit of room for manoeuvre.  A little flexibility will help you tailor your campaign and ensure that it remains relevant and topical.  This does not mean ditching all the hard work and the central idea, just ensuring that you have the capability to adapt if it is necessary. With a flexible, agile structure and process you will have the capability to deliver fast turnaround tactical, relevant smart marketing activity – the type of activity that consumers admire and talk about.

Align all your agencies – You need agreement and understanding from all key agencies.  Objectives must be agreed, everyone must know exactly why they are doing what they are doing it.   Land grabs,  overriding agency objectives and creative preciousness should all be off the table.  All necessary processes to encourage collaborative working must be in place and an open and honest working environment should be positively encouraged.

Personalise as much as possible – one to one conversations are now the norm, the expectation of consumer is that brands should understand them and tailor activity to suit their individual needs.  With the ever growing number of personalised products, personalised marketing is expected particularly from tech companies.

Testing – this should be a key part of your plan, test, learn and then test some more, be prepared to change if you need to.

Overall technology and marketing are both evolving and developing at dramatic rates, it remains to be seen whether most marketing departments can keep up with their colleagues in R&D.  So if you are looking for a little support to generate a big idea, with an agency pitch or to develop truly integrated marketing campaigns, give us a call as we would love to help.

 

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