Magazine article Marketing

Technology Helps Brand Promotion

Magazine article Marketing

Technology Helps Brand Promotion

Article excerpt

A free event showcases a wealth of high-tech marketing solutions.

Whatever a company thinks of to promote its brand, the chances are it's been done before. Marketers are subsequently turning to technology-based solutions to help their brand standout from the crowd.

Colin Lloyd, president of the Direct Marketing Association, sees three factors driving the increasing use of technology in marketing. One is the simple fact that it is all around us. The average car, he points out, has more technology in it than it took to first put man on the moon. The second factor is a shift away from mass-market television advertising toward more targeted marketing campaigns, using personalised mail-outs, e-mails and SMS text messaging.

Lloyd says the third factor is that marketers are obliged to turn to technology in order to meet customer expectations.

"In the old days companies used to keep people waiting 28 days for delivery, but no one's going to put up with that any more, they want it the next day," he says. "Consumers' time expectations have been compressed and companies need technology in order to meet those expectations."

This rush for technology is pushing marketing services suppliers to develop innovative solutions, many of which will be showcased at the Total Marketing Solutions (TMS) exhibition taking place at the NEC in Birmingham from September 11 to 13 (see panel for full details).

Refining data delivery

Experian, the global information solutions company, has developed an online version of its direct marketing tool, Prospect Locator, which enables marketers to select from 36 million UK consumers in under half a minute. Prospect Locator contains summary financial information on 4.1 million UK households and lifestyle demographic data on 20 million.

Marketers can select their prospects geographically, and then refine their choices by gender, marital status, age and length of time at residence. They can also use key financial indicators, such as mortgage, insurance or pension information to identify new leads quickly and efficiently.

Because it's online, marketers can also view a sample of the data they are interested in before they buy. "Data is delivered within hours rather than days," says Prospect Locator product manager Patrice Bendon. "And you can buy data whenever you need it."

The 'try before you buy' ethos also features in technology company Retec's Digitrax and MovieWatch devices. These allow shoppers to sample CDs and DVDs in retail outlets. Consumers can enjoy a preview of the album or movie in question simply by scanning the barcode of the jewel case containing the disc. The clip is drawn from a database stored on a hard drive built into the unit. Retec can update the clip archive over a broadband digital subscriber line (DSL) connection, or by burning new clips on to a CD that is then sent to the outlet.

It has taken a while for the devices to come to market, due to the time needed to secure permission from copyright holders to create the preview clips. But the units are finally starting to appear on the high street. They are on trial in Blockbuster, Tesco, Safeway and the new Virgin Megastore in Camden, London. Retec managing director John Cole says he expects the first national rollout to take place early next year.

"The beauty of these devices is that they can play anything in the store," says Cole. "If you have 20,000 CDs, we can put in a device with a big enough hard drive to handle a preview clip from each one. And it's instant. As soon as you scan the barcode, the video or audio clip starts playing. …

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