Mobile, social, gaming, data, special offers — all converge in new and creative ways. As the big online players acquire technologies that broaden their eco-systems and enrich communications, marketers are seeing tremendous opportunities to augment their messages and capture customer loyalty through digital. In the year ahead, digital marketing budgets are expected to increase by 50%-150%.
Here are some of the trends that will drive their activities in 2013:
Near Field Communication: According to Juniper Research, half of all mobile devices will be NFC-enabled by 2016. Powered by this technology, consumers will be able to view customized rich media, receive targeted special offers, share their experiences and most importantly, make purchases, via their devices. For marketers, NFC holds promise because it can directly integrate promotions at point of sale.
Gamification: To make campaigns more interactive, marketers will continue to turn to gaming, which offers consumers a fun, memorable and sometimes educational way to immerse themselves in a brand experience. Per Gartner, more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application by 2014. The best will reward consumption and loyalty (My Coke Rewards), feature game winners on brand properties (Domino’s Pizza Hero) and drive even more online word of mouth as winners promote themselves (Ben & Jerry’s Capture Euphoria).
Second Screen: More than 80% of people use second screens while they watch TV, with 30%+ using them to delve deeper into content related to the first screen. As laptops, smart devices and tablets become even more pervasive, expect to see marketers leverage this trend to engage viewers in real-time conversation, deliver behind-the-scenes peeks and push bonus content that links directly to retail.
Wearable Tech: Miles walked, calories shed, even hours of REM sleep – if humans do it, apps and devices can measure it. The wearable technology market is expected to exceed $6 billion by 2016. Used mostly now for health and wellness applications, expect to see more devices for entertainment , like Google Glass. lMarketers will use this technology to acquire rich data on customer habits and goals, making it easy to target deals: “You’re not sleeping well! Test-drive our mattress today – here’s your closest store.”
Cineprint: Amid an ongoing debate over “the death of print,” technologies like CinePrint will breathe new life into the medium. The most popular example of CinePrint was executed by Lexus this October. In the future, we can expect to see CinePrint used for products with features enhanced by a virtual tour or motion.
Geofencing: Retailers are welcoming geofencing as they look for new ways to convert window-shoppers and those who visit their stores to check out products they plan to buy online. Brands can partner with retailers to “close the sale” by providing rich mobile content and deal notifications whenever a consumer walks through their store’s door or visits a specific aisle. About one-third of Americans use location-based services. In a recent survey, many said they would exchange privacy for discounts.
Augmented Reality: Use of Augmented Reality ("AR") has been forecast to grow at an impressive rate. Although fairly new and still developing, AR can offer consumers a wealth of reality-bending experiences. One might involve a shopper who wants to try on a dress from the comfort of her home. Through an app (or even her Webcam), AR can show her if it’s a perfect fit before she buys.
Most of these tools will require some work by marketers, which have to make the experience compelling enough for audiences to opt-in. Once they do, the payoff is a wealth of data and point-of-sale opportunities that can take consumers beyond likes to loyal.