Warc, 23 June 2014
NEW YORK: Brands must prepare for the era of the "internet of things" if they wish to understand the future of digital marketing, according to a leading executive from Visa.
Shiv Singh, svp/brand and marketing at the financial services group, told delegates at the M1 Mobile-First Summit that smartphone penetration may be booming, but the longer-term picture will be far more complex.
"The next big thing is truly about the internet of things, where everything around us is connected,” he said. (For more, including how brands can improve mobile marketing, read Warc's exclusive report: Visa's Singh: Why mobile marketing is broken.)
As a result of this trend, the requirement for individual connectivity through devices like mobile phones and tablets could well diminish, as objects from cars to home appliances offer immediate digital access.
"We need channels, we need technologies, we need tools, we need ways to reach consumers. Those ways are getting smaller and smaller and smaller," said Singh.
"It's getting harder and harder to penetrate. It's no more about wonderful, emotive storytelling that happens on the big screen. It's being reduced to a mobile device. In a few years, it won't even be on that mobile device."
"In such an environment, what does marketing mean? How does a brand communicate? How does a brand build relationships? How do you do even direct response?"
Answering these questions, Singh suggested, will involve a major shift in mindset away from looking at what existing technologies can do for marketers, and instead beginning with expectations of what lies ahead.
"We have to start from the future: imagine a world where we wouldn't even have mobile devices, then think about what kinds of experiences a brand can create, and then work our way back into, 'Okay, we have this device: what should we do with it? How do we reach people through it?'
"We have to think from the future and then work our way backwards, versus thinking about what we have today, what the technologies are like today, and then force-fitting a language and a way of being into that."
Embracing a future-first perspective, according to Singh, may also enable brands to improve their mobile marketing efforts in the present day, as they are often based on legacy thinking and practices.
"The sooner we move to that paradigm, versus a traditional paradigm, the better we will be," he told the conference audience.
Data sourced from Warc