Staying on the cutting edge of marketing means adapting to new technologies. The rise of radio, movies, TV and the Internet show that as new technological stages arise they’ll take the forefront of marketing as well. Of course the process of keeping up to date or even predicting these new developments isn’t always clear.
First, one should give attention to the reasons why new technologies often produce the best results. A large part of it is novelty and uniqueness. When someone is using a medium which has been around for a long time then it’s certain they’ll be a small fish in a very big pond. Additionally, cultures and subcultures alike tend to develop some level of resistance to marketing techniques over time. The resistance is usually not nearly as significant as people believe it to be. But the population as a whole will show more and more awareness of marketing techniques over time.
However, that all changes when using new technologies. A new technology offers a vast number of new experiences. The marketing techniques can easily be one unknown variable among many. When people watch commercials they often think of it as a known psychological assault. They’re gearing themselves to resist whatever messages are coming. But change the medium and the resistance fades. They have to be open to the new environment because everything is unpredictable. This is one of the reasons why product placement has become more common in the past few years.
People aren’t as guarded against product placement as they are against commercials. And this is also why many companies give movies and TV shows free reign to decide how the product will be featured. The focused shot on a brand item as someone holds it unnaturally is starting to become more recognizable. And a recognizable advertisement is a more easily resisted advertisement.
All of this comes together to show the most important things to look for in new technologies. They need to be able to deliver multiple complex messages. But not so disjointed that advertising will be fully buried. It needs to be noticeable, but not too obvious.
One of the easiest predictions to make has to do with the idea of memes. The original term came from evolutionary biology. It’s the linguistic and psychological mirror of an animal’s genes. Just as an animal’s genes replicate, propagate and mutate so does the message of a meme within the medium of language. The term has become more widely known as a reference to still images or shot video with brief embedded messages. But the underlying factor of both is that it’s a short message that influences a recipient to spread it to others. This is the general basis of viral marketing and it’s going to continue to grow in the coming decades.
However, the methods by which that will happen can be expected to change. In particular the rise of always on displays will provide some interesting new areas for marketing campaigns. Smart watches are one of the most recognizable examples of these devices. But so called smart glass is also on the horizon. An argument can also be made that small always on audio receivers will become a norm in people’s ears.
All of these devices point at increased communication between people all over the world. It also opens up the prospect of geographically limited messages. People who wear smart watches are often surprised to see messages from map programs asking them to take a picture of the establishment. The combination of watch, phone and their geographically aware capabilities interact with the business.
In the future one can expect the major mobile operating system creators to seize on that opportunity for advertizing purposes. The methods by which this will happen is unknown, but one can be sure that it will occur. There’s too much potential and too much money to be made all around for it not to happen. But it might well be more subtle than people imagine. Instead of a big message to buy items at a location, the programs might instead automatically search for positive messages or even memes shared by friends and family of the person carrying the device.
This is even more likely as improved visual search techniques are implemented. It’s still primitive, but examples are already in place where a program can tell what brands someone is wearing and then tell them where to find it in a store. This might turn into a system by which a compliment delivered over social messaging applications will be remembered by the system and then matched up to images. Images which will then be matched against inventory at a particular store.
Walk by a clothing retailer and one’s watch might vibrate and display a picture of a friend and a message that the complemented outfit can be found within. Optical recognition can also be used to match people to social networking databases. This can help a store customize deals and options to match buying trends which the person might not even be aware of.
Again, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that someone is best marketed to when their guard is down. Both types of memes demonstrate that people are less on guard against embedded messages when it’s delivered by trusted sources. Also when the message is embedded within a larger and more complex whole. Mixing social messaging and real life interactions can instantly associate brand or item with someone who a person has a close connection to. These techniques are going to be increasingly common and powerful in the coming decades.