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Are your devices talking about you behind your back?

By The Saint

On Wednesday 15th June, a few lucky Omobonians got to attend the BMC Converge event, organised by the Business Marketing Collective. The event looked at future technology and tried to answer the question we’re all asking: Which piece of technology will be the next big thing and what should we focus our efforts on as marketeers? Whilst there is no definite answer to this question (yes, you should still keep reading), we did get a few pointers.

It seems the biggest advancements in marketing and technology revolve around data. Thanks to wearable tech and the internet of things, we can get discounts on our life insurance based on our level of physical activity, as measured by fitness watches. AI is already part of our lives in the form of the Amazon recommendation algorithm. For the consumer, these advances in technology can be great. According to Dr. Nicola Millard, Head of Customer Insights and Futurology at BT, we will soon be able to tell our inboxes what emails we want, and the rest will disappear in the ether without ever reaching us. Siri will become the next virtual assistant and our devices will generally be talking to each other to make our lives easier. But what does it mean for marketeers? It means a whole lot of data and a whole lot of insights. But is it helping us know our customers better? Can a customer be defined by a number of data sets?

At present, omnipresent technology is fairly young, and platforms aren’t yet talking to each other. My fitness watch data isn’t linking with my online food shopping basket, and my fridge isn’t sending me notifications on what to eat, based on the number of calories I have spent today. So whilst all this data is now available on our customer base, these separate segments aren’t linking and marketeers are only presented with one aspect of customer preferences at any given time.

It seems that whilst new platforms are giving us more access to customers’ insights than ever, we are yet to figure out how to process and action that data effectively. So despite this unprecedented access into the customers’ lifestyle, can we say we are really listening to them? A short discussion around the room brought one clear answer: Yes, but only to find out if they’ve heard what we’ve said.

In summary, whilst the marketing community is getting excited about the arrival of new technology, platforms and their possibilities, we have a bit of homework to do to figure out where these new possibilities fit in and how we can use them to make customers’ lives easier and more simple. Because ultimately, that’s what marketing should be about.

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