The Most Important Tech Trend You Need to Understand Now

Sara Steever
February 24, 2016

Invention and innovation in technology will never be as slow as they are right now. As savvy marketers, we see opportunities for our clients, even as the pace of change accelerates.

Where’s My Phone?

Just reading that statement probably gave you a knot in your stomach. And guess what, there’s a syndrome for that – it’s called NoMoPhobia. Mobile devices have changed consumers. And if your business model is committed to customer experience, it’s time to understand this.

The average smartphone owner interacts with their mobile device 150 times per day. It’s not just NoMoPhobia that afflicts us, but a hunched posture from texting and phantom vibrations when it isn’t even being worn. As crazy as that seems, our real challenge is how mobile has changed customer behavior and expectations for brands.

Do you remember the character Veruca Salt of Willy Wonka fame? “I want it now!” Well, meet Veruca, your new customer. Mobile is creating a very demanding consumer.

If your mobile website takes more than three seconds to load, you’ve just lost 40 percent of your visitors.

Too long in the latte line? Pre-order your venti latte on the Starbucks app and you can cut in line at the store. Can’t take the time to type, touch or click? Ask Alexa (Amazon’s Echo), and she’ll find the answers on Wikipedia, then dim the lights and turn up the music.

What’s a Marketer to Do?

  • Do now: Your website must be responsive and programmed for speed. Get your Wikipedia page up to snuff.
  • Do in the future: Use technology (like apps) to speed up customer service response time.

Access and Control

Pandora and Spotify are training a generation that pays for access to everything without the hassles of ownership. Multi-screen, binge-watching cable-cutters are changing business models for broadcast and cable – if they survive.

  • Do now: Are there opportunities where renting makes more sense as a way to manage risk?
  • Do in the future: Invent products with flexibility of ownership baked in.

Context is the New Content

Content may be king, but content out of context is spam. Devices know and respond to your location and the time of day. Apps like Waze route drivers faster because the community provides context (like traffic reports) to the map content. Beacons in airports work with apps to customize your experience. Proper context will become an expectation.

  • Do now: Start with your marketing. Segment audiences, build in a layer of technology that gathers data on customer behaviors and automates your marketing.
  • Do in the future: Build systems that consider time of day, seasonality, location, speed, weather and other factors of the customer experience.

So Many Channels

Customers expect to interact in a store, through a catalog, on a website, via an app, on social media or on the phone. And they expect their experience to be consistent across all platforms. This is a huge challenge for businesses that use multiple agencies or in-house marketing groups.

  • Do now: Social media monitoring is essential – consumers have been trained to forgo the phone and tweet or post their complaints. It’s an opportunity to publically provide a positive brand experience and solution.
  • Do in the future: Map the customer journey with a goal of integrating all touchpoints under a common brand experience.

To Know Me Is to Love Me

Hyper personalization will become the norm, with not just content, but products themselves. It’s happening already with products that learn your preferences (Nest, Netflix) or are created for an individual (3D printers).

  • Do now: Customizing content through marketing automation is a realistic goal because the technology is within reach of most companies. The real challenge is committing to ongoing efforts to create compelling content.
  • Do in the future: As the price of technology drops, prepare for opportunities to connect at a one-to-one level through data and innovation.

Genius Is in Simple

Companies will be rewarded for making the customer’s life easier. Apps that allow you to deposit checks from your phone, pay with a click or text an emoji to order a pizza are examples of simple genius.

  • Do now: Audit processes with an eye to removing friction from the users’ experience.
  • Do in the future: Build a company that continuously looks for those opportunities.

Anticipation

Artificial intelligence (AI) will help us wrangle the data that lets us predict and anticipate customer needs. Smart TV predicts and loads your content ahead of time. IBM’s Watson takes unstructured data like newspaper articles, business data, research reports and training using natural language to provide insight at a human level for even small and medium sized businesses.

  • Do now: Audit and secure your customer data – it will be one of your most valuable assets. Review what you are collecting now, and what you might be able to begin collecting, even if you are not using it yet. Purchase patterns, demographics, behavioral inferences, seasonality, etc. are all possibilities for collection.
  • Do in the future: Patterns in data are predictors of future behavior. Data visualization tools are more user-friendly and affordable than ever. Universities are training for smarter use of data, and entrepreneurs will bring predictive modeling within reach.

In future articles we’ll cover emerging individual technologies. We would love to know what trends you are seeing, too. Email me at sara.steever@paulsen.ag.

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