If you think the state of marketing, including product recommendation engines and concepts like snapchat social media marketing campaigns is bizarre, wait until you hear about some of the technologies featured at Mobile World Congress (MWC 2015) last week, as well as recent technology conferences like SXSW. Held in Barcelona, Mobile World is among the world’s largest technology gatherings, and drew a reported crowd of 70,000 in 2015. And let me tell you, some of the concepts that premiered this year are nothing short of shocking.
This year’s star “weird” technologies? Even professional technologists were shocked to see 3D printable selfies, improved virtual reality technologies, more wearable smart technology and viable competitors for Apple Pay. That’s right, 3D printable selfie apps. Imagine a world where you can print a copy of your own head for your crush or best friend instead of just Instagramming your face, right?
Why Marketers NEED to Care About “Weird” Technologies
It’s no secret that many marketers are pretty much hard core technology nerds. Many digital professionals and web workers are right about tied with the IT crowd when it comes to our enthusiasm for the latest smart phones, apps, and gadgets. However, there’s a lot more reasons to care about technological advances than the “that’s really cool!” factor. The cutting-edge of technology can often define the way sharp marketers will engage with their customers in the future.
In honor of the recent Mobile World Congress and the idea of a 3D selfie, this blog is dedicated to exploring some of the strangest ways the latest technology could shape inbound marketing in four or five years. While some of the following could seem a little far-fetched, remember it’s all just speculation (and be sure to add your own thoughts and ideas in the comments, too!).
The Technology: 3D Selfies
There’s just no question that one of the biggest shocks at Mobile World was the 3D printable selfie. Essentially, lucky users who download a (not yet available) app have the option to 3d print the results. Truly. A video of this mind-blowing demo can be viewed below.
However, consider the possibilities. 3D printing is relatively cheap compared to many hard materials for product-based organizations. Customers using this app could literally be provided with the opportunity to engage with product prototypes before making a purchase. The ability to quickly print out customized prototypes and samples means a new era of customized services for clients.
And regardless of what anyone else says, great marketing has always been about prospect and client satisfaction!
The Technology: Telltale Games’: Minecraft Story Mode
A video game with no story? Sounds boring. However, it’s a great deal more engaging if you consider Telltale Games’ Minecraft Story Mode, which is an entirely user-dictated game experience. That’s right, user-created characters, spaces, and places will dictate each member of the game’s experience.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Minecraft Universe, understand that it’s become an enormous phenomenon among youth for the fact it’s an all-encompassing universe with enormous potential for player control. Even individuals who rarely or never play video games can appreciate the concept of choosing your own adventure, which is part of the appeal behind video games. However, the concept of a game without an overarching narrative is absolutely unprecedented.
What does this mean for marketers? Well, running out and writing a “choose your own adventure” content marketing campaign or infographic certainly isn’t a terrible idea. However, it definitely could be a predictor of a future where consumers demand more engagement, autonomy, and control than ever before. The lines between brand and user-generated content will probably become increasingly blurred. It could dictate a demand for content marketing or even client experiences that are entirely user-dictated.
The Technology: Click’N’Pizza: Pizza a Click Away
If you ever needed indelible proof that Amazon has spoiled consumers completely and forever, consider Pizza Hut’s upcoming “Click’N’Pizza,” which is scheduled to go up for sale this summer. Another technology that’s not especially complex, it’s literally one-click ordering for Pizza Hut pizza. In the form of a large, red button, which can magnetically be stuck to your fridge. Once you’ve clicked, you can view in real-time the progress of your pizza, and receive an estimate of how long until your food arrives.
While it’s unlikely that anyone other than pizza chain fanatics will actually invest in this technology, it’s a fascinating barometer for 2015 consumers. Less than a decade ago, most of us ordered pizza via a phone call. Most of us order food through apps currently. However, the concept of one-click service is fascinating, and it’s pretty safe to predict that consumers will someday demand that level of service. Even if your organization doesn’t have Pizza Hut’s budget to fund the development of a one-click ordering button for consumer homes, you can still forge ahead. How can you make your business, marketing, and web presence friendlier to consumers who aren’t used to cumbersome processes or having to wait long at all?
The Technology: Squirl Location-Based Knowledge for Bibliophiles
There’s nothing truly technologically profound about Squirl, which is basically just a location-based app that sends push notifications. However, the difference? Squirl is a niche service for bibliophiles. Each time you pass a location that was featured in a book, you receive a push notification with a little context. “Visit 221B Baker Street in London, and Squirl will alert you that "A Study in Scarlet," the first Sherlock Holmes novel, was set right where you're standing,” according to Marshall Honorof of Tom’s Guide.
What does this mean for marketers? Well, it means that users are willing to receive disruptive notifications about things they’re deeply interested in. It’s a foreshadowing of a future where consumers can expect - and receive - deeply relevant content marketing that’s social, local, mobile, and deeply integrated into their day-to-day lives. Content marketers, take heed; campaigns of tomorrow are more likely to resemble niche interest apps than broadly-focused blog articles or campaigns!
What are some of your latest technological obsessions and fascinations? How do you think these could affect the future of enterprise inbound marketing?
image credit: katerha/flickr/cc