TV brands must communicate how smart they are

You might think that people would understand the idea that many new TV sets on the market can also be connected to the internet, but research seen by Marketing Week shows that few people know what smart TVs can actually do.

Lucy Handley

Only a fifth of those who have bought the internet-connected devices have done so to go online, the study by YouGov shows. People are also buying them almost by default when their old TV has broken or they just want something new.

New technology will always have its early adopters, those people who want to kit out their homes with gadgets from televisions where they can browse Facebook, to remote-controlled window blinds.

But most of the population will be playing catch up, so this is a chance for marketers to explain what the new technology can do for people, clearly and simply.

But as David Roman, the chief marketing officer of Lenovo points out, many retailers don’t yet have internet connections in-store, so it is difficult to show shoppers what smart TVs can do. There is clearly an education job to be done for the sales staff helping customers navigate the new technology.

Samsung is shown in the YouGov research to be one of the best-known brands to make smart TVs – which coincides with the launch of a campaign to explain to people how they work, starting this week.

The public’s poor understanding of smart TVs is a challenge for manufacturers and retailers but also content creators and distributors.

If people are watching a TV which also happens to be connected to the internet, there is a whole world of shows they could be watching – and a whole world of brands that could be communicating with them. But if they don’t know they can access the internet, they won’t be seeking out this content.

But the good news is that when people were asked about interactive advertising – where they can click on a TV ad and buy directly from it – 42% are amenable to it. So while people don’t yet fully understand smart TVs, a little explanation goes a long way. And once people understand how to use new interactive technology it could really benefit brands.

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