The best marketing strategies are inspired by technology. Great marketing leaders recognize how new tech can propel a true lifestyle brand. If Pokémon Go taught us anything, other than that the 90’s are back, it’s that consumers are game to connect with brands through real-life experiences. So, consider how today’s tech can help you connect with your customers:
- Where they watch: Provide an experience that feels first-hand. Rather than walking outside bleary eyed to pick up a dew-soggy copy of USA Today, Millennials and Gen Zers roll over in the morning and get their daily news from Snapchat’s Stories and Discover sections. Aer Lingus was the first airline to sign up for Snapchat and share live content from exclusive flights. While enjoying their morning coffee at home, viewers get a glimpse of the cockpit and new cities. Snaps and stories are low-production but personal—seen through the eyes of flight attendants, pilots, and ground crew. Build a brand story while events are unfolding, and more customers will wake up and take the journey with you.
- Where they play: Get your customers moving. Gamifying your brand experience requires little more than Photoshop. Draw consumers to an event by designing a Snapchat filter that appears only to those nearby, making it more exclusive and more fun for consumers to highlight your brand via social media. Over Labor Day weekend, Bloomingdale’s used Snapchat geofilters to attract shoppers to products only available in retail locations, and then provided them with gift cards for the merchandise. Just don’t ruin it with old ways of thinking—including hashtags or contact information in your filter shows you’ve failed to understand that Snapchat is the mode of communication.
- Where they ask: Give them an always-on personal assistant. Chatbots can precede or work with your mobile app to enhance the digital/physical experience. BloomThat and Bouqs might be Silicon Valley favorites, but 1-800-Flowers continues to be at the vanguard of companies using tech to drive efficiency in the floral delivery space. They were the first to take advantage of Facebook messenger’s 900 million monthly users, and provide consumers with an easy way to order items, receive updates, and get coupons. When every conversation is recorded, you can collect data on what your consumers ask for, as well as how and when they ask, helping you improve customer service by more effectively targeting customers with suggestions, discounts and promotions.
- Where they go: Don’t just reach a consumer—connect with them when it matters. That’s the motto of PlaceIQ, a tech company that provides brands with a detailed understanding of location and consumer activity to target audiences in the right way at the right time. The new shopper journey is simultaneously online and offline. And location-based coupons are increasingly seen as helpful aids rather than intrusive nuisances. RetailMeNot took advantage of this trend, and now sends their mobile app users push notifications when there are deals near them. When you communicate with shoppers in the right context, you create more meaningful relationships.
- Where they hang: Let apps handle the logistics, so customers can get to know your brand’s fun side. Hotel, banking and air transportation are just a few of the industries that are saving money and creating better customer experiences with the help of mobile apps. Apps remove the frustration that is too commonly associated with these types of companies. Capital One has discarded the corporate branch model in favor of a mobile app and 10 national cafes, where customers can hang out and take advantage of free Wi-Fi, an ATM, and associates who compliment the app by answering questions and providing advice. They’re building loyalty by providing a space that promotes good conversation and productivity.
If you’re reading this and wondering about ROI, the truth is that it’s too early for many brands to measure the impact of these initiatives beyond awareness and consideration. For now, brands are focusing on prioritizing consumer centricity over easy money. They’re betting that the integration of online and offline experiences will attract more consumers and set up the brand for long-term success.