Finding Potential in Wearable Devices

allbodyLast month’s Consumer Electronics Show gave us a preview of how people might embrace wearable technologies in the future, including web-connected watches, bracelets and eyeglasses. The big question is, what opportunities can marketers uncover in all that personal data?

It’s a great time to start thinking about how to engage customers who adopt wearable technology. According to Forrester Research45% of adults in the U.S. are “intrigued” by the idea of wearing a connected device. Analysts expect devices like the Apple Watch and Google Glass will go mainstream this year, with one firm predicting that sales of wearables could top 480 million by 2018.

“What we’re seeing now is this proliferation of different devices that are moving out from cell phone and onto our bodies and out into the world,” said Sean Follmer, a researcher at MIT Media Lab, in a video interview.

So there’s a tremendous opportunity here, waiting to be puzzled out. On one hand, wearables could offer CMOs highly personal and persistent behavioral data from a significant portion of the population. On the other, they give end users new choices to interact with brands within a given context, activity or location.

Deepening the Connection

Wearable technologies promise a deeper connection to the people who make purchasing decisions – for their homes or their business. How can you prepare for a coming wave of these devices? Forrester offers this piece of advice: Get ready for “micro-moments,”or quick- reaction mobile moments triggered by messages, sounds or even tactile sensations.

It’s all about getting real-time insight into what people are doing, how they might feel and they might want, in any given moment. With access to location and behavior data, marketers can tailor their offers and services to match customers’ desires based on their patterns of movement and past behaviors.

Simple Actions, Simple Devices

So how can a CMO get started? Forrester discourages marketers from designing a wearables strategy independent of an overall mobility approach. Instead, analysts recommend keeping a tight focus on the customers themselves – their behaviors, preferences and track records – rather than plan around the specific devices they may choose.

When planning how to add wearable devices to the overall marketing mix, you can use these three questions as guideposts:

  • How interested will my customers be in adopting wearable technology?
  • How can organizations use individuals’ behavioral data to improve sales and marketing?
  • What is the competitive risk that another brand will interrupt my customer relationship?

It’s early days, and still a new frontier for computing. No one can predict how widespread wearables will become, and to what degree individuals will choose to share their personal information. But the potential is there to build relationships that span moments and travel with individual customers everywhere they go. It’s worth keeping a close eye on this space, because whoever wins it, wins big.

Image credit: Forrester Research

Posted in Sales & Marketing by Lisa Petrucci

Lisa Petrucci is Vice President of Dun & Bradstreet Global Alliances and Partnerships.

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