For those who attended the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, it was apparent digital health took center stage. While this might otherwise be a footnote for marketers, it could reveal one of the biggest opportunities to capture new data. The real movement afoot is called “quantified self,” the ability to measure our lives through sensors and turn what has historically been unusable exhaust into a structured set of data that is actionable for consumers and marketers alike.
Millions of consumers are already equipped with health tracking devices and downloading apps so the drive toward mass market appears inevitable. You are probably familiar with devices from Fitbit, Jawbone, and Nike and mobile apps from the likes of Runkeeper, MapMyFitness and Runtastic. It is expected that there will be 170 million health and fitness devices on the market by 2017 according to ABI Research. With all of this activity, where is the opportunity for the marketer?
Unlocking Brand Ambassadors
Wearable technology allows marketers to achieve digital nirvana: Appear in the right moment while immersing your brand into the life of a consumer, not as a distraction but as a partner in helping them reach or acknowledging their goal.
Unlike search marketing and social marketing, lifestyle based marketing takes it to a new level. It allows marketers to identify consumers based on what they are actually doing in their lives versus their interest or intent.
Here are the top five ways marketers can benefit from “quantified self”:
1. Don’t be an ad. Be a reward: An advertisement that appears when someone completes a run or has logged 10,000 steps for a day isn’t immersive. It’s an ad. Consider how you might transform your ad into a reward or recognition that a consumer can not only redeem effortlessly but also amplify to their social graph.
2. Delightful and Unexpected: Show up unobtrusively to align with an action that you want to support or encourage. It’s not about your product. It’s about how your product will inspire and motivate toward something more relevant in that person’s life…their health.
3. Be the Journey, Not Just the Destination: Create purpose for the consumer where they look to you as a partner in their goal and you will have a long term ambassador. Encourage, motivate and create purpose for the journey, not just the destination.
4. Make it Personal: Local/Social/Flexible - The beauty of quantified self is it focuses on an individual person. Find ways to connect with “Paul” because Paul lives in Seattle, has two kids, uses a Fitbit, runs three times a week and works for Microsoft. Yes, it can be that good.
5. Analytics Rocks: You’ll be able to learn a lot about consumers when you marry their day-to-day tasks around healthy activity and their association with your brand. This data has implications that can and should inform your broader marketing strategies.
Where does this all fall apart? You have to respect an individual’s privacy in order for them to invite you into their experience rather than barging your way through the door. Quantified self is a movement around consumer empowerment, that theme must be maintained in all touch points and if it’s abused, it will be abandoned.
An exciting movement is on the horizon, a revolution in consumer driven health that is changing the way consumers interact with their own lifestyle data. A huge opportunity exists for marketers that want to penetrate this channel but the road must be well respected.