As we close the first month of 2012, with plans for the year in progress, I am sure most businesses are undergoing some change. With economic and EU/UK political uncertainly pulling down, developments in technology are continuing to push businesses up into new territories and marketing opportunities.
I am watching with interest, and working with businesses on the impact that mobile technology is having on their brand and marketing planning. The consumer need for full integration of marketing and communication platforms can create its challenges in our ever-increasing mobile world!
Indeed, as I write this, I am sitting on the 6.05am Tiverton Parkway to Paddington train. I have just seen an ad for the new liquid foundation (will explain all in a future blog – but a long overdue launch from a great brand!) in a magazine, use the QR code that is displayed to find out further details on line, then check on comparison sites where I can make the cheapest purchase, and then order the item to be delivered to my home address the following day.
I have a sip of my decaff coffee (milk and a sweetener) and then move onto checking out some of my favourite (in terms of marketing) fashion brands.
I am a fan of H&M at the moment. Typically a high street retail business model, the brand is making giant leaps with digital media to drive sales.
They are experimenting with virtual changing rooms, customer service Twitter feed, linking their e-commerce site to You Tube and blogs. I sit here working out what I should treat myself to, need something great to wear with my new foundation!
Taking it one step further, is Needle. This is great and I am sure will become an essential marketing tool for UK brands.
Needle puts customers who are looking for product information and recommendations directly in touch with product experts. And here’s the clever part. The product experts are other people who use their products – the brand’s most passionate fans, recruited from social media sites like facebook and Twitter. The theory here is that these “fans” who use the products will offer better advice than any call centre. Advice is given through online text, video or voice chats. As a thank you to the “fans,” the brands allow the experts to earn points – which in turn is used to buy more products from the brand, growing their expertise! According to Needle, a chat with a Needle product expert is “the equivalent of having a personal shopper giving real-time reviews and recommendations to your customers based on rich, interactive dialogues.
Catching the train has never been so much fun!