CES. As if Las Vegas didn’t always have enough of a whizbang quality to it, it’s that time of the year when the international technology community descends on Sin City to showcase the latest and greatest gizmos, gadgets, and doohickeys to an audience of almost 200,000 people. Seriously, just look at this curated collection of items debuted at the recently concluded CES 2016 show, as presented by Shawn DuBravac during his follow-up webinar, CES Topline 2016: What Marketers Need to Know.
The Internet of Things is Becoming a Real Thing
In total there were about 20,000(!) new products launched at CES this year by big national corporations all the way to start-ups. Shawn highlighted everything you see in slide above: Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigerator complete with wi-fi touchscreen and a camera inside so you can see your inventory from your smartphone whilst in the store; a FitBit for your dog, PitPat, that tracks its activities and suggests exercise guidelines based on your best friend’s age and breed; Lily, the drone camera that just requires a toss in the air to then follow and record your adventures; a myriad of thinner, higher resolution, app connected TVs such as Sony’s XD93 which is mere centimeters thick; and even an app controlled robotic bartender called Somabar that can mix you the perfect cocktail in seconds, to name just a few.
For consumers — remember, CES does still technically stand for Consumer Electronics Show — this all means more options for cooler/faster/sleeker/insert-your-adjective-here electronics that promise a more connected and personalized world. Only 10 years ago, who could have imagined that from something as boring and bespoke as a refrigerator? The Internet of Things is gaining steam and collecting more…well, things.
What Does This Mean for Marketers?
Actually, I believe CES 2016 paints a similar picture for them, too. It points to an ever-increasing ability for marketers to deliver cooler/faster/sleeker/insert-your-adjective-here experiences that are ever more personalized to the consumer. Imagine instead of running Facebook ads targeted to broad groups sliced by the usual demographics of gender, age, income, and so on you could instead target the specific individual user via their own wearable device that’s overflowing with information about that person’s activities. Instead of general ads during a television program, marketers could soon deliver hyper-targeted ads to the homescreen of a specific prospect’s smart TV.
Soon that robotic bartender will know your drinking habits and when you’re running out of booze sooner than you will. A treasure trove of data about a specific family’s cooking and nutritional habits could more directly connect the family with the next super food they don’t know they’re missing out on if they use something such as the Philips Connected multicooker: it’s only a wi-fi connected device that can suggest and find recipes, provide nutritional information on every meal, and cook 21 different ways (including bake, boil, fry, grill, etc.) all while you monitor every step from your smartphone in the other room.
Exceptional Experiences, Sensational Storytelling
But it’s not just about ads; it’s about experiences. And that’s where I think creative marketers can really take advantage of these new electronics. With drone photography and video becoming more common, virtual reality starting to hit the consumer market in earnest (the Oculus Rift debuted at CES 2016 and more than 5 million Google Cardboard units have shipped), and wearables providing more information about how humans move about the world, the opportunity for brands to create truly immersive experiences is growing.
Rather than looking at still photos for your next Airbnb rental, why not walk through the apartments you’re considering and really check out every nook and cranny for a full 360 degree view, right from your own living room? What if your next whitewater rafting adventure offered drone footage of your trip? You could relive the rapids to laugh at how your mother got bounced from the boat and send her a great framed photo of the bald eagle you saw fly overhead (a first for you both).
CES 2016 Offers Scalpels Over Sledgehammers
As high-end gadgets like the ones showcased at CES 2016 continue to become more ubiquitous, with wi-fi connections and personalized experiences becoming the norm, there will be an ever increasing number of access points for marketers to reach consumers in a more targeted way. Rather then use blunt forces instruments, marketers will more easily be able to craft and shape storytelling in a more natural and interesting way. Instead of the traditional one way monologue, true dialogue is becoming possible. Doesn’t that sound nice?
What do you think? How do you envision the latest consumer electronic trends to alter the marketing landscape? What possibilities are you dreaming about?