Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a more bipolar consumer market than wearable technology. Devices like Google Glass and smartwatches tap into the most idealistic parts of our imagination when it comes to picturing impossible technologies that resemble blockbuster sci-fi films. Yet, much like hovercars or personal jetpacks, the final products tend to be met with mixed emotions, leaving many companies wondering if such moonshot technologies are even worth their time.
Time, however, is always on technology’s side, and as these devices grow out of their awkward adolescence and into the mainstream, experimenting with how these four trends in wearables might fit into or even change your marketing strategy could lead your company from pioneering to dominance.
In a recent fireside chat with Google’s VP of design, Matias Duarte dropped a bombshell in his speech when he discussed wearables from a design – and marketing – perspective.
In the announcement of Android Wear, Duarte discusses the use of “just in time” notifications, a revolutionary system that alerts users with small yet potent information that aids them in a specific moment. For Google, this means travel time changes and flight delays at just the right moment for users. For marketing, this means introducing the holy grail for content delivery.
This concept of location-based marketing has already gained traction in traditional mobile devices such as Apple’s iBeacon technology. Consumers walking through a store will receive product information, reviews, or promotional coupons based specifically on products in front of them.
This is just the beginning, as similar products move closer to mass production and wearables enhance the experience. Marketing guesswork will be virtually eliminated as consumers will view location-specific content at the exact moment it was intended – and with the introduction of wearables, content viewership will be as effortless as checking the time.
If your company isn’t in the medical marketplace, news of health tracking apps certainly isn’t causing any waves, but this increasingly fertile ground leads to a variety of opportunities that could bear fruit. The latest updates for both Apple and Google will be released this fall, which include health kits for app developers. Previously siloed health applications will be unified under analytic standards for tracking information, creating enough comparable data for the development of health “profiles.”
For marketing gurus, envisioning strategies from health apps becomes entirely possible. Profiles lead to consumer predictability, which ultimately leads to customized content. With the addition of Apple smartwatch rumors hinting at possible weight, sleep, and even sweat tracking, there will be an ocean of marketing data available. And when people discover their health problems, you can ensure that their next discovery is your solution.
Wearables aren’t primed to revolutionize the world as much as they are set to make existing systems more convenient. With smartphones alone, electronic banking companies like PayPal are increasing their influence by partnering with cities that allow users to pay securely and effortlessly via mobile.
On the surface, this may appear to be nothing more than a new coat of paint on electronic payment systems, but the devil is in the details. PayPal and participating businesses draw in new users by providing monetary promotions and coupons that are only available when paying through the mobile system.
As wearables make electronic wallets more mainstream, a new marketing channel opens, allowing content to be delivered literally to consumer wallets when they go to pay for products. For marketing, this means a total elimination of human error when remembering coupons and sales.
Wearables have an ace up their sleeve that traditional mobile devices can’t play: flexibility.
Smartwatches and glasses provide a true variety of options for augmenting, not distracting, users as they go about their routines. With this in mind, content marketing can not only be targeted, but device-specific in order to maximize impact. For example, if users can’t imagine how a product could benefit them, allow content to visualize it for them by creating content “triggers” that appear on Google Glass when certain items, locations, or actions come into view. While many of these ideas are still months, possibly years away from fruition, starting early safeguards your company from being undermined by competitors.
For the wearable skeptics out there, consider an early story from Steve Jobs. When developing the next generation of Macs in the late 80s, developers of touchscreens pitched their technology. The system at the time was clunky, unreliable, and quickly rejected by Jobs as a contender. Even the visionary Steve Jobs didn’t see the potential of an awkward tech that most of us now can’t imagine living without. Given the chance, let your content become the next something that society can’t live without.
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