No agency can do it all, which is why they partner with outside firms to deliver client services. And a number of shops, including Austin-based T3, invest in startup firms that they believe offer viable marketing solutions.
T3's Ben Gaddis told 4As attendees there are about five firms -- some well-known, some not -- that he believes agencies should get to know, considering the direction the industry is heading.
With drones capturing a great deal of media attention right now -- largely thanks to Amazon’s efforts to utilize them for various business and marketing applications -- Gaddis highlighted a drone-making company called DJI, which he asserts is “revolutionizing the drone space” with low-cost drones and related video camera equipment that will be used in a variety of ways to create content and other marketing services. “It’s changing the photography world,” he said.
The DJI drones have an open architecture that would, for example, enable a user to plot a course on a map that the drone would follow while taking photos or videos, said Gaddis. For brands and agencies, he said, the devices open up a world of new opportunities. (Just watch out for those FAA restrictions).
Another company on Gaddis’ list is Meridian, an app that with the use of beacons helps users find specific locations within large indoor spaces and event venues. At a venue, for example, a user could find his seat and order food delivered to his seat. Shoppers at a big-box store can use the app to locate the aisle that contains certain products. Increasingly, Gaddis said, customers are demanding this kind of navigational/locator service.
There is also a shopper data service called Info Scout that provides information in real-time about particular purchases, where the purchases took place and other products purchased at the same time. Custom information is also available, such as whether a particular item was an impulse purchase or planned.
A T3 incubator startup -- Atlas Wearables, which has raised nearly $3 million in investment funding and is scheduled to ship this spring -- is a wearable physical movement tracker powered by the Motion Genome Project. It can tell if you're driving a car, flipping a light switch or interacting with a brand. It can also detect emotions based on heart rate.
Then there’s a “little company called Google,” Gaddis quipped. But he was serious in noting that agencies need to rethink their relationship with the search giant because now the company is much more than a search company -- it has dozens of platforms that in many cases are converging for new business and marketing applications. He referenced an Allstate Insurance project that created a homeowners quote platform that provided not just a number, but the exact policy a particular home might need based on information that Google and the insurer possess such as such as addresses, geography, weather, flood zones, average claims in the area and other information. “Think of Google as a data company,” said Gaddis, not just a search engine.