Mobile has driven the biggest change in marketing in the past decade. Device adoption has grown at an incredible velocity, from the always-on, always-connected personal smartphone to shopping- and media-focused tablet. The share of time spent interacting on these devices has grown exponentially in parallel to this mass-market usage, at the expense of other media.
As marketers, our response to this mass adoption, usage and media transition has rightly been to create and promote mobile-first experiences that are consumed on the device itself, through self-contained apps and mobile sites. Integrating mobile into the product and marketing fold has been challenging, as the device’s consumer usage contexts are radically different to existing desktop-targeted digital strategies, and this has led to developing consumer engagement focused solely on the mobile screen itself.
These standalone mobile experiences will always be an essential component of a mobile strategy. At Somo, we are focused on solutions for the connected world, which is where we believe the future of mobile marketing is headed. Seamlessly integrating the real world with the digital world, while taking advantage of the velocity of innovation, marketers will be able to wrap an experience around a consumer based on their context, location, profile and the task they want to achieve.
Today, the majority of mobile experiences pay little or no attention to the user’s real-world presence. At best, a user’s location is used as an input to provide navigation tools. The future of mobile marketing revolves around the ability to interact with the physical world, from simple triggers based on location or augmentation of dumb products or devices, to the burgeoning world of connected smart devices powered by the ‘internet of things’ (IoT).
In this connected world, it is the mobile device that becomes the digital remote control for the real world, providing the ability to interact with smart and dumb objects, and processing and visualising data provided through these interactions.
Augmenting the real world
The first way mobile acts as a digital remote control for the real world is through the augmentation of dumb objects or locations. Scannable triggers, from the humble QR code to advanced image recognition, drive this interaction where the physical object – a product or an ad, for example – can deliver an interactive digital experience through the mobile device. Marketers will continue to integrate technologies such as image recognition, as used in augmented reality, as long as it delivers a high-quality experience to the user across mobile, and increasingly they will deliver them through wearables such as Google Glass.
A further interface with the real world takes place at the interaction of physical location and mobile devices through the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), also known as iBeacons in Apple’s world. The application of this technology when combined with the mobile device provides the opportunity to triangulate a user’s physical location, their customer profile and a specific marketing message to create a contextual experience for the user. For example, when a customer walks into a grocery store, through BLE and their mobile device, their app becomes an in-store navigation system, drawing on customer loyalty data to provide a personalised promotion for the customer.
Useful, informed and contextual, this experience shows the theoretical benefit of integrating digital experiences with the real world through mobile.
Driving the connected device world
Mobile will play the central role in a world of connected devices by acting as the remote control for the IoT. Gartner predicts the IoT will facilitate 26 billion connected objects worldwide by 2020 (not including PCs, smartphones and tablets), and we believe that mobile will be the primary device for interactions between users and these connected objects. In a world where everything will be connected, we will need a single device to help us navigate and control the myriad of opportunities to interact.
Somo anticipates four principle connected device sectors that will have the most immediate short-term impact on marketers:
1. Connected shopping
This involves the intersection of navigation, promotions, loyalty, and payment in an omnichannel world, showing how a digital experience can enhance the high street experience.
2. Connected health
Building upon the recording of fitness activity on connected wearables, we see a move towards increased monitoring and visibility of fitness, especially with regard to our individual health, covering vital signs and disease signifiers through connected pills and implants.
3. Connected home
This provides ability to remotely automate our home through security, lighting and heating, both to save energy and to provide convenience through mobile devices.
4. Connected car
Bringing together ‘telematics’ for servicing and integrated navigation, as well as entertainment, the connected car can be envisaged to become safer, more contextually intelligent and even autonomous through self-driving.
Marketers will need to predict the opportunities that mobile and the IoT will provide, both to protect existing businesses and to innovate with new opportunities presented. You should not just consider the impact that connectivity will have across primary industries directly related to the connected devices, but also understand the disruption that will be created within secondary industries that are related to that connected device.
For example, the connected car has a direct impact on the primary navigation and entertainment industries, but will have a significant effect on secondary industries like the financial sector in areas such as insurance, since underwriting will be informed by real-time connected telematics data. The connected home will have a primary impact on the security industry but also on logistics and delivery companies, for example mobile facilitating – allowing delivery men into your house to avoid missed deliveries.
The future of mobile marketing is far bigger than banners, apps or m-commerce. The future of mobile marketing is about contextual integration and interaction with the connected world, facilitated by mobile devices that act as the remote control to aid us.
Are you ready for 2015? Have a look at our predictions for mobile trends in the year ahead in our latest infographic at somo.co/2015.