When Two Worlds Collide

Source: Google ImagesThis has truly been a very exciting week in digital marketing. I could write ten separate posts on the videos from the Web 2.0 Summit alone (see below). I have decided instead to focus on something that is truly going to change the way we interact with objects (primarily ads or other marketing materials like product packaging) in the physical environment.

Earlier this week, Google announced a marketing experiment. If you haven’t heard about an app called Google Goggles or seen it in action, please take a look at the link and watch the two minute video, it is seriously amazing. There was also a demonstration of this and other new Google technologies at the Web 2.0 Summit given by Susan Wojcicki (VP of Product Management). The presentation was titled, "The Perfect Ad" and primarily discussed how Google is making the offline experience of a customer better via an online experience. After watching this presentation and viewing the blog post, I’ve come up with three things that marketers should consider:

  1. From a consumer’s point-of-view, a mobile phone is increasingly becoming a brand-interaction tool: Picture this... if a consumer is out at some social event and a friend happens to mention a brand that the consumer knows nothing about... what is likely to happen? He or she may whip out his or her mobile phone and begin searching for the brand via the phone’s browser. You can imagine a similar situation even if the consumer was alone and happen to come across an interesting product that he or she had never seen before. The key point here is that the consumer is now choosing to experience the brand via a mobile medium and so marketers should consider how they would like to shape a consumer’s experience. A website experience on a computer and one on a mobile phone are two different things and should be treated as such. Source: Google Images
  2. The need for instant interaction: The beauty of a video ad on the Internet is that a consumer can interact with a brand instantly. The same goes for the service that Google Goggles is offering a consumer. Marketers must realize that having an ad that does not allow for instant interaction will actually put them at a disadvantage. This applies not just to standard print or TV ads but also to product packaging in stores. The use of QR codes or Google Goggles IDs should be something marketers consider placing on all their products just so consumers can fulfill their need to instantly interact with a brand.
  3. With all this movement to consumers controlling an experience via their mobile phone, what happens to salespeople? Picture this... a female customer walks into Best Buy wanting to buy a digital camera for her husband for Christmas. She walks over to the area with all the digital cameras and happens to notice they all have QR codes attached to them. She takes out her iPhone and scans a few of them. Through Facebook connect, she happens to notice that some of her friends happened to like (and recommend) this one particular brand of digital camera so she decides to buy that (end of transaction). Notice, the entire time there was no need for a salesperson. Salespeople are some of the most important assets a company can have, they are living, breathing, brand advocates. When developing a digital strategy (especially if it involves consumer interaction in a retail store), It is vital for marketers to consider the role that a salesperson is going to play. Overlooking this would result in the waste of a truly valuable asset. 

Final Thoughts: “The future of online is in offline” - Cyriac Roeding, Co-Founder and CEO of Shopkick. This is quite a profound statement. It is no longer a theory but a fundamental truth that these two worlds are colliding and it would be wise for marketers to prepare for it.