Physical Fights Back: HOW THE MOVE TOWARD BLENDING DIGITAL WITH PHYSICAL WILL IMPACT THE MARKETING INDUSTRY

By Curtis, Mark | ADWEEK, December 4, 2017 | Go to article overview

Physical Fights Back: HOW THE MOVE TOWARD BLENDING DIGITAL WITH PHYSICAL WILL IMPACT THE MARKETING INDUSTRY


Curtis, Mark, ADWEEK


Each December, Fjord nails its colors to the mast with a report detailing what we predict will be important in the year ahead. Our new 2018 Trends report (out on Dec. 12), includes a focus on why forward-thinking organizations are blending digital with physical--and why those who aren't should be. But what does this mean for the marketing sector?

THE INVISIBLE ENABLER

In the 2000s, mobile phones greedily consumed other technology--cameras, speakers, screens, high-quality microphones--and now they've started spitting them back out. These components are popping up in our immediate environment on their own or in different combinations. Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the forthcoming Apple HomePod's comprehensive offering use just speakers and a microphone, and Canary's smart cameras are exactly that--and no more.

This disaggregation of core technology components together with people's angst around their own screen addiction is prompting a big shift: the blending of digital with physical. The spotlight is no longer trained on digital as the main player in brand experience--emphasis has moved toward working out how best to use digital as an invisible enabler of physical and sensory experiences.

OPPORTUNITY AND CHALLENGE

For the marketing industry, there will be yet more touchpoints to which experiences can flow, and the task of determining how best to engage the right audience will be a delicate but exciting one.

Some of those touchpoints, however, don't naturally lend themselves to an intrusive demand for attention. Not long ago, the advertising model involved brands buying up 30 seconds of users' undivided attention, in a visually and aurally rich medium. Now, interfaces are getting smaller--or disappearing--and the battle is raging for attention from an over-stimulated audience.

WHO WINS?

It's likely that new entrants to the market could struggle to make themselves seen, heard and understood, while established brands could take the competitive advantage. Verbal interaction without visual backup will favor brands that are easier to say and memorize at first introduction.

Fortune will favor the brave retailers. As consumers become accustomed to physical devices with a digital layer in their homes and cars, they become conditioned to accept revolutionary ideas in retail. For instance, people who confidently use a digital assistant at home will be among the first to accept a checkout-free shopping experience that uses digital technology to monitor their actions in-store--and automatically bill them. …

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