‘Marketers must aim for a world where all products are smart devices’

Brands such as Diageo that enhance the shopping experience by launching smart FMCG products will see the rewards in improved brand value and differentiation, according to the founder of internet of things company Evrythng.

Speaking at Econsultancy’s annual Future of Digital Marketing event today (June 11), Evrythng’s Andy Hobsbawm urged brands to produce products that adapt around the consumer. He said marketers must aim for a world where products – from whiskey bottles to household light bulbs – are true smart devices.

He used the example of Diageo, which recently teamed up with ThinFilm Electronics to produce interactive Johnnie Walker whiskey bottles. They piloted scanner tags that interact with a drinker’s smartphone to provide product information and recipe ideas.

Hobsbawm believes this trend will only intensify.

He said: “These items can also enhance the shopping experience for retailers. There’s now light bulbs with microchips which can detect footfall data. We’re heading to a future where the majority of products in a shop will talk to consumers and retailers simultaneously.”

Hobsbawm said smart products expire less quickly than traditional items and will provide brands with crucial data on a consumer’s habits and location.

He added: “If you have a choice of a traditional bottle of alcohol or one with a digital layer, it’s clear you can add a different level of brand value and differentiation to the former.

“In 2015 if a product comes with a big instruction manual then it is a failure, products must adapt and evolve around consumer usage. Smart products are the future.”

Speaking at the same event, Glen Calvert, CEO of Affectv, said personalisation data gives brands a “strategic advantage”.

He explained: “True personalisation is only possible if you own both first and third party data. We are working with a travel brand that has aligned itself with Trip Advisor and that will give it a clear strategic advantage over its rivals.”

A future without screens?

Despite seemingly daily reports talking up the marketing future of screen-based devices such as smartphones and wearables, Golden Krishna of San Francisco-based design agency Zappos urged brands to ignore screens altogether.

Pointing to Lockitron, an app which allows people to use their smartphone to open and lock their front door, he explained: “Lockitron found a solution to avoid the process of checking your smartphone altogether and doors now unlock automatically when a home owner gets close through Bluetooth interaction.

“I think focusing on screens is lazy, marketers and brands have to dream of ways to create a screenless world.”

Hide Comments2 Show Comments
  • Roxanne Chand 11 Jun 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I found this extremely interesting. When you think about the nature of our expectations now as consumers. Are we that advanced that we are beyond the standard product manual? Should everything be so easy? Will we lose the ability to think for ourselves and be challenged? If so, where is the balance.

  • Jerry Arnull 12 Jun 2015 at 8:21 am

    Careful what you aim for. There is a big grey market out there which is growing and has problems reading smart phones……………..

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