Last week the Mumbrella conference bunkered down in the Hilton Hotel for two days of jam-packed sessions on everything under Australia’s media and marketing umbrella. I was lucky enough to attend the session The Future – And What You Need To Do About It by CEO of Mnet, Travis Johnson who raised a lot of questions on how we as marketers can harness technology. In an industry where innovation and predicting the future is the key to success, this was one session not to miss. Plus, there is nothing better than listening to futuristic ideas.
The session explored the coming digital trends and what they mean for marketing. To begin, Travis posed the idea, imagine a house where everything connects. He questioned, why can’t we have a future where your tooth brush monitors your daily usage with your brush stroke data fed back to your dentist?
For those that haven’t already seen it, Libelium World have a list of 50 top sensor applications that can make a smarter world. Travis referenced this as the key to how we can create much smarter ideas, from the retail space to cars. Libelium explore intelligent shopping applications that provide advice at the point of purchase to intelligent highways which provide in car warning messages according to climate conditions and unexpected events. A world of connected devices according to Travis isn’t as far away as we think. He references the recent investment of 1 billion dollars by The Walt Disney Company into wearable technology as a key reason behind his opinion. The Disney MagicBands will track guest’s movements as well as the ability for custom notifications to guests. Personally, I agree with Travis that this particular news highlights the practicability of wearable devices. The current perception though of wearable technology is a little off the mark. Wearable technology won’t be the geeky gimmicks we see today, but subtle and beneficial additions to our everyday lives.
On a more basic local level, the session got me thinking on how we can be smarter with how data is used on something as simple as transport (Sydney’s Opal Card). Going beyond just personalised offers based on your historic travel habits, imagine the data the company can utilise to be able to monitor and change service timetables to better serve demands.
Being a CEO of a mobile company, Travis also had a few things to say about how marketers are currently utilising mobile as a platform. Travis believes we need to rethink the role of mobile as a platform for referral and more as an aid. This point was particularly stressed to retail businesses. I do think we are seeing progress in this area (using data from free Wifi), however retail businesses that marry up the physical retail experience and the digital mobile experience will set themselves apart.
But what does all this future talk mean for us? Put simply, it is the relationship of the CMO and CIO becoming even closer. The session stressed the importance of today’s CMO’s needing to become tomorrow’s CIO’s. Travis warned that marketing innovation can quickly be killed by an app that doesn’t work, a website that goes down, or videos that won’t stream. I couldn’t agree more. A marketing idea is only as good as its execution.
So what’s the future in your eyes? Keen to hear your thoughts.