Disruption Yet Again: 3 New Technologies That Will Transform Marketing

Smart devices give access to new sources of data that can be used to enrich relationships with customers.

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By Joe Davis

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Over the last decade, the art of marketing has become incredibly complex, largely due to the number of touch points across which marketers must relevantly engage the modern-day consumer. As technology evolves, however, and brings new and ever-more enticing gadgets to market, so grows the set of tools with which to spark conversation and build long-lasting consumer relationships.

This past year, the launch of several new devices has inspired yet another wave of transformation that will further alter the way people communicate. Regardless of a company's size -- be it startup, small business or enterprise brand -- every type of marketer will need to learn how to effectively communicate via these new and disruptive mediums. Here, three cutting-edge technologies that will impact the way marketers engage with the consumer in 2015.

Related: Steve Wozniak: The Future of AI Is 'Scary and Very Bad for People'

1. Wearables

The growing array of wearables in the market brings many new considerations for marketers. Marketers must consider new questions such as, "what style of ad or marketing content should be displayed on such a small screen?" or "how many notifications are considered too many?" When it comes to effective brand engagement via wearable devices, the most important thing that marketers will need to learn is the fine line between providing content that is relevant and personalized, rather than intrusive and out of context.

Although these devices challenge existing marketing strategies, like those used via email or display advertising, wearables provide greater opportunities for targeted marketing, across every industry. For example, pharmaceutical marketers can utilize physiological data captured via the wearable to identify and target users who are most likely to purchase certain over-the-counter medicines. Travel marketers can leverage historical and location data to offer real-time and personalized deals for last-minute airfare deals. In finance, marketers can learn about people's spending behaviors whenever and wherever consumers pay using their wearable devices.

The possibilities are endless, and regardless of the industry or use case, wearables will become a key resource for rich consumer data.

2. Internet-connected cars

The era of the connected car is on the horizon, particularly with the increasing number of brands racing to create the most innovative model of one. Some are designed by the manufacturers themselves while others are enabled by software developed to integrate into a car's navigation and entertainment system via smartphone.

This has fantastic implications for proximity marketing. While it would be unsafe to create a video ad that plays on a car's display screen when the driver passes a storefront, a marketer could instead prompt a tone or brief message to alert the driver of a personalized promotion. In effect, marketers can use connected cars to geo-target their advertisements for restaurants, health-food shops or department stores.

The possibilities are endless in this new territory, and trial and error will be the key in determining the differences in effectively engaging the consumer in their car versus in the home.

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3. Smart devices in the home

Who would have thought that in the 21st century we'd actually be able to ask our mirrors, "Who's the fairest of them all?"

It's happening.

In fact, Panasonic already previewed the technology earlier this year. The potential marketing applications here, as with connected cars, virtual reality and wearable technology, are vast. The interactive mirror, for example, enables its user to view what they would look like wearing different styles and shades of makeup, jewelry or clothing -- all from the home.

Beyond the mirror, even something like an Internet-connected refrigerator has significant marketing applications. For example, if a refrigerator can identify that consumers typically drink beer at 6 p.m. on Fridays, then marketers are provided with relevant and contextual information to better understand the needs of their customers. An appliance repair shop, on the other hand, would be able to monitor Internet-connected appliances for service needs and alert the customer when maintenance is required. In summary, all of these smart devices in the home give access to new sources of data that can be used by marketers to enrich existing relationships with their customers.

While marketers may not see an immediate need to create strategies around these cutting-edge consumer products, the takeaway is to keep our fingers on the pulse of these innovative technologies.

Some may say that these products are too expensive to leverage for customer engagement, but history proves that as new technologies become more and more popular, they decline in price -- recall compact disc players, smartphones and flat-screen TVs when they were first sold. It won't be long before marketing strategies around wearables, connected cars and smart devices become a must in the brand marketer's arsenal.

Let the disruption begin anew…

Related: Mercedes' Self-Driving Car Says Hello to San Francisco

Joe Davis

CEO of Webtrends

Joe Davis is chief executive officer of Webtrends, based in Portland, Ore. Webtrends helps companies make sense of their customer data to drive digital-marketing success. As CEO, Davis leads the company’s business strategy and worldwide operations.

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