Salesforce: 5 Ways New Tech is Changing the Way We Market
OREANDA-NEWS. August 11, 2016. Can you imagine what life will look like after smartphones? One expert says new tech like augmented reality will soon make our once-revolutionary iPhones look like typewriters.
Shel Israel is author of Lethal Generosity: Contextual Technology and the Competitive Edge and the forthcoming Beyond Mobile: Life After Smartphones. He's an expert on how technology impacts business and life.
We interviewed Shel on this week’s episode of the Marketing Cloudcast — the marketing podcast from Salesforce — to hear his expertise on what technologies are growing most quickly, the effects of VR and AR on customer expectations, and Snapchat as a 1-to-1 AR experience.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Shel about the speed of technology and its impact on marketing.
1. Customers, not big companies, have the most influence.
Shel makes a compelling argument that because technologies like smartphones and the internet have opened up more resources to customers, and more technology is developing every day, the way we create successful marketing strategies must change as well. The control is shifting away from organizations and towards customers themselves.
Shel explains, “It seems to me that we’re moving from an era when marketing was based on the premise that the company is in control, or the brand is in control, to an era when smart marketers are discovering the customer is now in control. The customer has influence over other customers. Customers are more responsive to the experience they have in encountering a brand at every touchpoint than they are in responding to marketing messages.”
2. Tech advancements are happening more quickly.
“The important thing I say is that this is all coming very soon," advises Shel.
The rate of change is speeding up. The first iPhone was introduced in 2007, and it only had seven applications. Now, in less than 10 years, we see hundreds of thousands of app developers and 1.2 million applications. This is a microcosm for the speed of change.
Shel puts it in perspective by saying, “I don’t know if my life will change. I’m 72 years old and I have seen many next big things. But when I look at the world and I look at the experience, particularly of younger people — of millennials and the generation that follows them that we call mindcrafters — I see them seeing the phone, the smartphone of today, the way I see the upright standard non-electronic typewriter that I bought when I was thirteen so that I could be a writer one day.”
New tech may not be business-oriented when it's first launched, but all new tech will eventually be business tech. According to Shel, “Right now it’s not a business mecca, it’s mostly happening in games and entertainment. But games and entertainment are a first step into what will eventually and very shortly start impacting every part of our lives, particularly our work lives and business places.”
3. Virtual reality is coming — for everyone.
“The center of people’s lives and of commerce will move from the handset to the headset, and everything we do with a computer today, including typing, will be done with the eyes — not with gestures, grunts, tapping on screens. And the things we look at will not be on screens, either. They’ll be three-dimensional," Shel predicts.
Everything is heading towards augmented and virtual reality. Shel says, “Real things and virtual things will mix together. You’ll be able to touch and feel virtual things." This will change communication styles across all platforms. In turn, software and devices will get better at anticipating the needs of individuals. “These are devices that get to know the users so well they can predict what you want very often before you know yourself what you want, certainly before your spouse or whoever you’re closest with knows.”
That might feel like a big jump, but think about the first time you played with an iPhone or emailed a friend for the first time. Once most people have experienced new technology, it’s only a matter of time before they want it for themselves. Shel explains that for VR, “it’s a quantum leap, because the scale is huge already. Nobody wants to own VR headsets unless they’ve already experienced it. Then after ten minutes, two-thirds of the people that tried a ten-minute demo end up wanting to own the technology they tried. People are that ready to do it.”
4. Product research is peer-centric.
“We are now turning to our peers and previous customers rather than to corporate spokespeople and sports luminaries endorsing products. That is where research begins — it's what our peers tell us is important," says Shel.
Customers want to hear from the people they trust and value the most, and that means other people just like them. With more access to reviews and social media platforms, it takes just a few seconds to get feedback from a friend or previous customers and get first-hand knowledge of any product or experience. This flips the old style of product discovery and research on its head.
Shel confirms, “Traditionally, companies have thought that they could be the source of information about their products and their competitors’ products. They used advertising, marketing, PR, and corporate communications to address these issues. In the last few years, the advent of technology — certainly the mobile phone, but also social media, fluid data, the internet of things, and location technologies — has allowed people to start researching the products they want. Not from what companies have to say, not even what Google has to say, but from what their friends have to say and what previous customers have to say.”
5. Snapchat shows a glimpse into the future of contextual marketing.
“Snapchat has found a way of marketing very specifically to the context of a situation and to make it fun. If every marketer could do that, then marketing would be a beloved profession," laughs Shel.
By now, most social media users have by now seen a Snapchatted image of a friend with a crazy zombie face or a rainbow shooting out of his or her mouth. This 1-to-1 AR experience is all part of Snapchat’s brilliance. And according to Shel, Snapchat has its "fingers on, not just the pulse of younger people — their demographic is reaching out to thirty-five-year-olds. But Snapchat is more in tune with how marketing is going to happen [than other social networks]. It involves peer-to-peer, but more than that, they’re using augmented reality.”
Snapchat uses what Shel calls “pinpoint marketing” that connects who you are, where you are, and what you're doing to what a brand would like to communicate to you. “There are all kinds of highly localized, highly demographic-specific promotions going on. This is how Snapchat plans to make its money. And Snapchat is the only place I know where you talk to users and they just love the marketing. Have you ever heard that about your marketing?” It's true — branded geofilters and lenses are something that garner press and glee from users.
And that’s just scratching the surface of our conversation with Shel Israel (@shelisrael). Get the complete low-down on where technology is leading marketing with a world renowned futurist in this episode of the Marketing Cloudcast.