Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Marketers – Wearable Tech is the Future so Prepare Now or Perish!

        As a marketing manager, you are beginning to see the use of wearable tech and know it will soon become embedded in the culture of your high value markets. Because wearable technology field is fast evolving and is increasingly relevant to consumer groups, it is a puzzle for all of us to solve. The key is to find the right pieces at the right time.  As a graduate student in Integrated Marketing Communications program at Northwestern University, I found two articles to help clarify wearable tech challenges and bring the pieces of this puzzle together.

      The recent Nielsen survey, Tech-Styles:Are Consumers Really Interested in Wearing Tech on their Sleeves? touches on both the research about the existing wearable customers and the consumer insights of potential users.  “Seventy percent of consumers are already aware of “wearables,” and about one in six (15%) of them currently use wearable tech—such as smart watches and fitness bands—in their daily lives” which is the reason why as marketers we have to keep an eye on this market. “The majority of wearable owners are young, with nearly half (48%) between 18-34 years old.” And   "what motivates consumers to purchase wearable tech depends largely on the type of device and the benefits each offers for their everyday lives" proving that marketers need to deliver the beneficial content that they are looking for in these devices.  Overall, this survey helps determine the relevance of wearable gadgets in your target consumer groups.
        Christianna Giordano’s article WearableTechnology at SXSWi: Every Brand’s New Best Friend? points out the important future sales opportunities for brands through new wearable products.  "Consumers are beginning to see the benefits of wearable technology and will start purchasing and that there are so many models coming out that avid fans will want the latest and greatest" and seeing this trend lead to the future expectations as mentioned in the article; “Juniper Research has predicted that worldwide spending on wearable technology will hit $1.4 billion in 2014 and $19 billion by 2018.” These numbers are similar to the smartphone market, so no one would like to miss such an opportunity.  

When considering the wearable tech puzzle, we have to first think about consumer insights and the benefit to us as the marketers. Based on these two articles, here are 3 action items you need to implement:

1. Understand Your Customer’s Wearable Interest - Does your target audience match with the existing or potential wearable device users? If you understand the similarities and differences, you can know whether you need to compete in this market or not.

2.  Find the Right Wearable Content - A common mistake is to duplicate the same type of content to various platforms disregarding the fact that consumers are using different gadgets for unique experiences.  Your consumers want to see something that fits in with their wearable device experience, not the same mobile content squished into a smaller device.

3. Get Ready To Empower - Wearable devices won’t help you if you still have a traditional marketing mindset of pushing the message out. Instead, look for ways to engage with your audience. Let them create their own content via their wearable device and share it with you.  Most importantly, use your content to empower the consumers leading them to their goals. 

Wearable devices will get you as close to your audience as possible, so use this chance to connect with them.  The key is not only to be at the right place at the right time, but also to be there in the right way.  Don't miss the wearables party, all the cool kids will be there...   

Burcu Agma
M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications
Northwestern University
Digital Marketing | Content Marketing | Media Management

Contact me on Twitter @BurcuAgma  

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