We might sleep with our smartphones today, but tomorrow we will eat, work, cook and play with a family of connected devices. That’s forcing marketers to quickly move beyond mobile, and address a new set of challenges implicit in communicating with a consumer who moves between devices as frequently as he or she moves between places.
The close of 2013 brought an important milestone for the so-called “Internet of things”: for the first time, the number of connected devices exceeded the number of people on earth. And by 2017, Cisco projects that the number of connected devices will nearly triple, with nearly 5 devices per internet user. For Neo@Ogilvy’s Sean Muzzy, the marketing industry is quickly entering a post-mobile world. Muzzy took the helm of North American operations at the marketing agency, which serves as the digital wing of WPP’s Ogilvy and Mather, in 2011, and manages accounts for companies like New Balance, Caesars Entertainment, and MetLife, among others.
Street Fight recently caught up with Muzzy to take his pulse on brand marketers’ interest in local, and explore how an explosion in connected devices might shape the way businesses communicate with consumers in the real-world.
When your team sits down with a brand, how does location fit into the larger mobile strategy?
When you start to have a conversation with brands about location, and everything you can do with it, there’s a lot of interest. But we’re still seeing this range of reactions. For some brands, location targeting has become a standard tactic — it’s sort of mainstream, and it’s just another tool in their arsenal. But there’s still a good amount of brand folks who are just sort of blown way that you can you do stuff like that.
What we’re also continuing to do more and more of is connecting a location-based strategy [across platforms] — it’s not just the mobile device anymore. It’s what else can we do in that geographic area? What can we do to surround the customer? We’re really looking at the next frontier in understanding the cross-device journey, and, not just tracking it but how do you create experiences that might start in the home and end in the store?
Talk a bit about some of the emerging technologies that might help push this shift along.
We’ve had a lot of conversations with Qualcomm, and we’re very interested in some of the R&D work they’re doing with LTE direct technologies, which help nearby devices communicate with one another. That’s very interesting for us as marketers. But it’s not even an advertising conversation yet; its a technology conversation. The closest thing we have in place today is some of the work folks are doing with Bluetooth beacons. But we really believe that this other technology, LTE Direct, will transform the way we as marketers are going to be able to identify and understand at the devices and data that are around you from different users.
The easiest use case for us is from an application standpoint. I’m going to be able plug into all of the various devices that are around you, and based upon other aspects I’ve learned around your data, make recommendations to you directly. Imagine, if I’m in Times Square, and if there was a way to access pricing from all of the POS systems around me, and I could go there and get the data on pricing for every store nearby.
We’ve seen a handful of mobile-local advertising specialists pop up over the past few years. As we move into a post-mobile world, what does that mean for these mobile, and particularly local, firms?
What’s important, is that companies like xAd and PlaceIQ grow outside of the mobile world. Ultimately, it’s not just going to be about mobile only. Just like we’re seeing now in the online space, these media are converging. That’s a big challenge for everybody. The companies that mobile specialists are going to have to not just be specialists in mobile.
Thanks to some less than flattering press coverage, in-store analytics companies have garnered a lot of attention over the past year. There’s obviously a pretty clear use case around operations, but what’s the opportunity for marketers?
We’ve been a big proponent in trying to push our clients to look at some of that data. There’s still challenges with what you’re able to do with it and the benefit marketers can get from it. Right now, the only way to services that are really valuable are the types of technology that can look at the real-time data. The mobile data is often dependent upon applications being opened at a given time, and being collected correctly.
Today, brands are mostly using it from a strategy and insights perspective, and less from a communications perspective. The larger retailers are definitely doing that and seeing what they can identify in terms of who’s in their stores. There’s just not much more you can do right now from a targeting and messaging standpoint.
There’s been a lot of interesting experiments recently around digital signage, with some companies piloting Minority Report-like tests. Where does digital-out-of-home fit into your strategy?
Its been an industry that’s changed dramatically over the past few years. It used to be very narrow in terms of what you could have had access to. We’re more and more interested in the sense that its more targeted, and we don’t need to make as heavy investments in out-of-home, in order to do out-of-home. It’s just a lot more flexible of a medium today than it was five years ago.
For instance, in recent campaign with MetlLife, where couldn’t target people who worked at companies digitally, we ended up buying out-of-home placements right by their offices instead. Again, it’s really about surrounding the customer whether that’s on a phone, at your computer, or on a billboard.
Steven Jacobs is Street Fight’s deputy editor.
Find out more about how big data can be used in local context at Street Fight’s Local Data Summit, taking place on February 25th, in Denver. Learn from and network with some of the top local data experts in the country. Reserve your ticket today!