Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Answers to questions from my Warc Webinar

Last week I presented 5 of my 10 digital trends at a webinar for Warc.  Over a thousand people registered to listen to me, and in addition to answering some questions from David Tiltman from Warc there were lots of questions from people listening in.

The 5 trends I looked at from my main presentation of 10 were:

Smart Devices
Bluetooth Beacons
Location & Local
Actionable Intelligence, and

I didn't get time to answer all of these - and some needed me to do some more research - so here are the answers in italics to the other questions:

Smart devices
Do you think things like google glasses will be embeded in new prescription glasses where there is already a customer base?
Not sure – I think ‘smart glasses’ may turn out to have a pretty small market size
Which company is looking into grafting the technology into the body? – This came from chart 6 of this presentation from PSFK: .  One of the companies they mention is Proteus Digital Health, which is developing technology that can be swallowed in pills:
There is also quite a lot of writing about biomedical engineering, for example using technology harnessed to the human body, but a lot of this seems very theoretical at the moment.

How about fridges that tell you when you're out of certain products?
There are lots of examples of companies proposing things like this – I’m told that every year at CES there’s at least one.  (See this blog for examples: )   I’m pretty sceptical in that I think people like their kitchens to be quite low tech, but if someone makes one that works automatically without people having to scan things in and out, then maybe…

Bluetooth beacons
Beacons at the moment are OpenSource. Do you anticipate any co.s spearheading ad solutions with Beacons, or can we expect a huge slew of ad co.s to be born offering similar solutions?
Maybe.  I don’t think that Apple’s will be, or at least they will retain a lot of control over how people use them

Is this the same as 'bluecasting'?
Yes, similar, and also BlueJacking

How would a "Wowcher" or a "Groupon" type product interact with a bluetooth beacon?
It could work by interacting with an existing Wowcher or Groupon app on your phone, and offering you a very location-specific deal.  The company offering the deal would be able to see redemption in real time, so could turn it off if it became too popular.  Maybe something like ‘First 5 people to get to the store get 50% discount’

If there will be beacons everywhere, won't it become like the email direct marketing? i.e. in the end, people will simply ignore them?
Yes, that would be one danger, and that’s why companies like Apple need to be able to control them, or no one would ever turn their Bluetooth on

What are the advantages of bluetooth beacons over WiFi/geofencing?
I think it would be easier, and more accurate in terms of placing someone in a location

How could a "Wowcher" or a "Groupon" type product best maximise the concept of local?
One example is that a local or national chain could have different offers at different locations, based on its specific sales patterns and types of customer.  E.g. Starbucks in suburb is going to have a different type of customer to Starbucks in a city centre.

In your opinion, does this trend actually provide more interesting opportunities for x-media comms of local-based-services and out-of-home advertising?
Yes, potentially, but it will also involve more work.  Whether the extra work leads to a greater ROI is down to the skill of the marketer, and the quality of the data

Local could be corrupted into not being local any more when one of the big players gets in and dominates. It has happened with radio. The big players will bully their way in as they always do.
I think there will always be small differences between areas, although I accept that the world is more homogeneous than it was 20 years ago

When it comes to strategy for mobile presence most brands hesitate between native apps and web apps. Pros and cons of both? What are the trends on this front for 2014?
It’s a long question!  I can’t really do any better than the pros and cons given here: 
In terms of the trend, I think that for the time being native apps are the best option, given the consolidation into two main operating systems, but in the long run I expect web apps to be best

Actionable intelligence
Simpler question for the blog: are there any examples where actionable intelligence has been able to track cross channel journeys - so you can gauge the ROI on different media in the plan that influenced sales?
Google have done a lot of work on attribution across multiple channels, for example this case study with MAAF in France in 2012 - 
But it’s still very hard, and involves a lot of econometric modelling.  I haven’t seen a follow-up study to show how what they learned improved performance over the next x months!

The dating app Tinder builds on this, it makes it very easy to gain users by allowing them to sign up via facebook. Will we see more companies like this?
Yes – signing up via Facebook is much easier than keying in your own data to set up an account, especially on mobile.  There’s also a dating app, that is trying to use Instagram in the same way

Polarisation suggests aggression. Maybe diversification is a more neutral term?
I don’t think so – polarisation (to me) suggests grouping into different areas (expensive, cheap; long, short), while diversification suggests lots of variety

Can you throw some light on trends related to emerging markets like India ?
I think India’s very interesting because you have a very well educated workforce, and strong links to silicon valley,  but also a very low average income, and so there is lots potential for interesting things to happen.  I’m really not an expert on India though, so I’d recommend following sources like

Have we started moving from the age of multi-channel marketing to the age of multi-eco system marketing? If by this you mean moving from marketing through TV, mobile, web and so on, to marketing through Google, Facebook, iOS and so on, then yes, but we’re probably not quite there yet. 

I choose to deny many requests to allow me to be tracked and wonder if I am missing out on certain useful applications?
I think it depends on how curious you are and how willing you are to compromise your privacy to experiment with things.  I know I’m too lax - [example redacted to stop myself compromising too much more of my provacy] – but I think there’s a happy medium.  I think in this industry you should be willing to play with things, and that usually involves a degree of openness.  You can always put fake details in for things though.

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