Is Your Brand Ready for Wearables?

Is Your Brand Ready for Wearables?

With many marketers still struggling to come up with a mobile strategy, recent consumer technology developments have added a new wrinkle: wearables. From Fitbits to Google Glass, Pebble to the Apple Watch, 2014 will be known as the year that all of the major tech players unveiled their wearable strategies to the world.

Below are six things to consider for your wearable tech strategy (and your overall digital strategy).

1) Don’t Worry about 2015 – Plan for 2016
For those going into panic mode about their 2015 budget, relax. You have plenty of time on this one. Budget allocations for 2015 should be the minimum amount of resources needed to get your marketing/communications team casually familiar with the concept of wearable computing. It will be six months before the early adopters of wearables chime in on the latest wave of devices just entering the market, and another 12-18 months before we see massive adoption across large swaths of the U.S. consumer population.

Spend this time to observe the broader consumer trends in this area, pay attention to what early adopters are doing, and develop a feasible strategy and framework that makes sense for your brand.

Maybe subsidize a few smart watches and fitness trackers for your team members to help them get up to speed on opportunities and challenges with the devices and platforms. (Worst case scenario, your employees will be in better shape, well rested and on time.)

2) Location is Key
Location-based marketing will see an increased demand as more and more people adopt wearables. Customers’ devices will provide real-time pinpoint location mapping as they navigate through retail spaces, giving advertisers the ability to serve up relevant advertising based on the customers’ current and previous locations.

In a less intrusive manner, customers who search for nearby facilities on their devices, and then make a selection, can receive a unique coupon or special offer (one that expires within a few hours) displayable on their wearables.

To help plan for this convergence, marketers can start today to make sure their location-based marketing efforts are ready to go when potential customers start searching. Make sure your addresses listed via all the major search engines are up-to-date and correct. Also make sure your website includes relevant scheme microdata, making it easier for customers and search engines to find the right content on your site correctly and quickly.

3) Make Content Glanceable
The old rule of thumb that you have only 10 seconds to communicate online marketing messages will soon be cut down to two seconds with the coming proliferation of wearable devices. In regards to smart watches, people are accustomed to spending only a couple of seconds glancing at their wristwatches, usually without interrupting what they are doing. Forcing people to spend more than those few seconds trying to decipher your content on-the-fly will only annoy them.

New services, like Wearably, that will syndicate your content for any wearable device are already popping up, giving marketers an opportunity to tweak and adapt to another medium if they want to engage with customers there.

Related: Digital Strategy for B2B Brands


4) Experiment
As with any new, emerging product category, everyone is still figuring things out. So now is a great time to experiment with new ideas in a very low risk/high reward environment. The rules are still being discovered, but like most such conventions, they will be deeply rooted in social cues and human behavior.

Brands willing to experiment with wearable marketing over the next 12-18 months will be able to glean real-world feedback and experience before their peers, thus positioning themselves at the forefront of their field.

5) Strive for Convenience
Consumers will opt-in for wearable location-based advertising and/or services only if it makes their life more convenient. When developing campaigns and content strategies for wearable devices, take into consideration how this can make your customer’s life easier.

6) When in Doubt, Keep it Simple
With many CMOs still acclimating to a post-PC marketing landscape, adding yet another fragmented device category and potential brand touch points to the marketing mix can be a very intimidating prospect for many marketers. For those operating more towards the B2B side of the equation, it might seem like fanciful sci-fi from the pulp fiction era.

Even so, projected spending on wearable devices is anticipated to reach $30 billion by 2020. Also, the emergence of mobile payment and digital wallet platforms like Apple Pay will create a huge transactional ecosystem, which means customers and retailers will find additional opportunities to engage with and grow the service. A lot of infrastructure groundwork has been laid to get to this point. Now it’s up to manufacturers and app and content developers to help connect the dots.

Have additional questions about your brand’s wearable tech strategy? Contact Taylor Dodds at (713) 523-5711 for more information.

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