2015: Possessed by Digital Storms


Resource: www.iphonehacks.com/2014/02/amazon.html (Tide, Up)

www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2114156/Try-buy-21stCentury-style- Now-theres- mirror-tries-clothes-you.html(Image Recognition, Down)

www.firebox.com/product/2312/iREMember-Dream-Recorder (Dream Recorder, Middle)

With spring’s arrival as of today, a quarter of the year has passed. What has awed consumers in the last three months are undeniably the varied payment options brought about by Apple Pay, the increase in the tendency to open digital racks in retail spaces instead of brick-and-mortar pop-ups, and the rise of mass customization. What remains to be expected from the rest of the year may still remain a mystery for many, but such a mystery may be nerve-wrecking for those too curious to wait for something to happen. The brief research conducted out of curiosity below may provide the impatient with a glimpse of the top three marketing surprises winking at the horizon.

1) Memory Mirrors

The idea may sound utopic, but utopic does not necessarily mean impossible. Many luxury apparel brands are paving the way to create additional customer perceived value by offering Memory Mirrors.[1] Such a strategy is apparently intended at improving the in-store shopping experience at branded stores by facilitating the purchase decision of indecisive customers.

To specify, according to www.psfk.com/, consumers will be able to take their full-length pictures through standing in front of the Memory Mirror (a mirror with a high resolution camera) placed in the fitting rooms of luxurious brands.[2] Then, the consumers will be able to post their photos in question on their social media accounts to collect the opinions of key influencers such as friends and family members in real-time.[3] Yet, the pictures will also bear the store’s name and location, promoting the branded store.

Apparently, the digital mirror will not only create additional value for customers, but it will also help brands generate buzz and increase their exposure levels on social and digital marketing platforms. Thus, the magic mirror on the wall will literally be the fairest of them all!

2) Image Recognition

Any consumer must have had, at some point in his/her life, wished that he/she could drag a picture to the Google search bar to find the product/information he/she is searching online. Such wishes are probably more common when the consumer knows neither the brand name nor the price of the product he/she likes. To absolve consumers of the after-guilt such situations bring up, some (especially online) retailers have announced that they will shift to image recognition technology in their stores and branded apps towards the end of the year.[4]

In other words, consumers will be able to take and upload pictures of the products or barcodes of the products that they see (in stores, at friends’ houses, in outdoor spaces, or online) on online retailers’ search tabs, search engines, and branded apps (assuming that they know the brand name).[5] Thereby, the consumer will be able to locate the product he seeks, learn its availability, investigate its price, and compare prices in multiple retailers through just a photo or barcode.

Such a change will undeniably increase mobile’s role and importance in shopping. Yet, the scary point for marketers is that image recognition will make consumers more knowledgeable and demanding than ever by giving them additional power to evaluate alternatives. Undeniably, the change in question will increase the unbearable competition in retail industry and donate online retailers with an additional competitive advantage besides their low fixed costs.

3) The Big Data Pillow

When it comes to collecting insightful data, marketers truly do not know any boundaries. As their latest attempt to decipher the unfathomable black box of consumers, market analysts and consumer behaviour specialists seem to have resorted to dreams. Although imagining dreams’ utilization for marketing purposes could be a little hard, the strategy makes perfect sense given that dreams are one of the most vulnerable paths to the subconscious mind and unexplainable preferences.

Rumour has it that consumer goods manufacturers intend to follow a differentiation product strategy by donating their products with the ability to record Big Data.[6] For instance, through its rumoured Dream Pillow, Ikea plans to offer interested consumers the ability to track their sleeping patterns, record brainwaves during sleep, and even control dreams (with some help from sleep specialists) through downloading an app on pillows and sleeping masks that contain a small computer recording dream/sleep data.[7]

Obviously, the value proposition the augmented pillow/sleeping mask will appeal not only dreamers, but also sleep specialists, astrologists, and marketers. Just imagining how a marketer could exploit the psychological insights provided through such Big Data to segment, target, and profile customers can by itself leave one sleep-deprived because of excitement.

All in all, the three examples above illustrate that digital will serve to create additional consumer perceived value, augment products, and collect insightful data it the rest of 2015. Digital marketing will, without a doubt, keep making the dynamics in the industry evolve throughout the rest of the year. Witnessing how much how much of these highly ambitious steps do take place in the upcoming six months will be beyond exciting.

[1]Please notice that the information provided is with reference to http://www.psfk.com/2015/02/neiman-marcus-memory-mirror-online-shopping.html.

[2]Please notice that the information provided has been derived from http://www.psfk.com/2015/02/neiman-marcus-memory-mirror-online-shopping.html.

[3]Please notice that the information provided is with reference to a brief reading of the following source: http://www.psfk.com/2015/02/neiman-marcus-memory-mirror-online-shopping.html.

[4]This future strategy has been derived from http://www.psfk.com/2015/02/braintree-mobile-commerce-target-in-a-snap.html.

[5]How image recognition technology will be utilized in marketing has been learnt through briefly reading the web-page on the following link: This future strategy has been derived from http://www.psfk.com/2015/02/braintree-mobile-commerce-target-in-a-snap.html.

[6]Please notice that the information provided is with reference to http://www.psfk.com/2015/03/ikea-announcements-2020-retail-hololens-google-cardboard-jawbone-withings-aura.html.

[7]Please notice that information about the Dream Pillow has been derived from the following resource: http://www.psfk.com/2015/03/ikea-announcements-2020-retail-hololens-google-cardboard-jawbone-withings-aura.html.



Quote on the Yogi Tea tag: “Love has no fear and no vengeance.”

“Once upon a time, there were people who would call themselves as ‘the smartest’ on Earth. They could market anything to anyone without exerting much effort. Believe me, it was magical. Nobody knew how they could do it or how their ‘campaigns’ worked. These guys would just throw a fabulous ad or a fascinating TV commercial, and they would attract people regardless of age, gender, and psychographic distinctions.”

The statement above would be the perfect introduction of a based-on-a-true-story type of movie plotted in the 70’s and 80’s. Yet, dictating the scenario in question in a marketing-related movie that is set in the contemporary 2000’s would be impossible unless the scenarist intended to compose a science-fiction drama whose tragic end features the suicide of a time-travelling perfectionist marketer who, despite trying everything, can not satisfy today’s consumers. Having evolved in line with the opportunities technological developments have generated, the contemporary consumer can not be satisfied with the mainstream mass marketing efforts romanced in the quotation above.

Undeniably, consumers of the past did not have the right to expect additional value or effort from brands because not many brands, and consequently, not as much competition as today, existed (Rust, Moorman & Bhalla, 2013). Yet, the consumer today is aware of the competitiveness in markets, and he/she knows that brands competing in the same product category have to satisfy his/her need for the basic functional benefit offered by the product category in question. Indeed, the consumer knows that these competing brands will eventually need to offer a complimentary unique and unexpected benefit to make him/her opt for their products over contemporaries’. As a result, taking advantage of the ferocious competition among brands, today’s consumer wisely waits until brands compete and show their best. Then, he/she chooses the brand which exceeds (not only satisfies) his/her expectations. The demand for brands to offer additional consumer value seems to have forced marketers to give emphasis to creativity in developing strategies.

However, many can suggest that not every market offering is augmentable, and they would not be completely wrong at first sight. Some brands that are concerned with generic consumer goods such as tea can not be expected to offer additional benefits or to achieve more than line extensions (white tea, black tea, digestive tea, blueberry tea, and so forth) to win the preferences and hearts of consumers. However, despite the limitations posed by their products’ nature, truly consumer-centric brands seem to have somehow found a way to create additional customer perceived value by identifying what their consumers appreciate beyond the core benefits of their products. Below is Yogi Tea’s outstanding example of how marketers can justify ‘if there is a will, there is a way’ when creating additional consumer value.

Yogi Tea, an Oregon-based tea company, seems to have found one of the most cost-efficient methods to create additional consumer value: creating and altering product messaging. After analyzing the research on the behavior of the tea person, the brand simply prints brief messages that relate to its target profile’s psychographics on the tags of its branded tea bags. As highlighted in the research by Tetley Tea Academy (2014)[1], tea people are actually not attracted to the boiled tea product itself but to the soothing effect, comfort, and mental relaxation experienced upon holding a cup of hot tea.[2] Likewise, ‘tea people’ are more likely to blog, tweet, or keep diaries, a point which implies that they are highly emotional.[3] Probably considering these points, Yogi Tea has leveraged the importance consumers give to the psychological benefits of tea by adding emotional and relaxing messages on its tea bags. Through this augmentation, the brand offers consumers two additional psychological benefits: First, it helps consumers find more meaning and emotional satisfaction in tea cups. Second, it reinforces consumers’ mental relaxation through visual messaging. As a result, the brand qualifies in creating three things at the same time: relevant additional consumer value, improved consumer relationships, and a highly distinguished positioning at a pretty low cost.

As the Yogi Tea example above illustrates, even brands concerned with generic product categories can create additional consumer value and, thus, distinguish their supposedly generic products. Inferably, there seems to be no reason for brands to not be able to trigger a creative approach to strategy unless they forget that they themselves need to have a heart first if they seek to win the hearts of others.[4]

[1] Please notice that this information is with reference to http://www.tetleyteaacademy.co.uk/index.php/serving/teapersonalities

[2] Please notice that the information is with reference to the following resource: http://www.tetleyteaacademy.co.uk/index.php/serving/teapersonalities

[3] Please notice that the information provided has been derived from http://thoughtcatalog.com/chelsea-fagan/2013/02/tea-people-vs-coffee-people/

[4] Please notice that this statement is with reference to the quote “You can not win the heart of customers unless you have a heart yourself” by Charlotte Beers, J. Walter Thompson on page 54 of Aaker on Branding: 20 Principles That Drive Success by David Aaker (2014).