14 Jun Is it time to invent something new?
Is innovation still happening at the same speed?
In the last 15 years, we got accustomed to innovation to surprise and challenge us via new technologies and trends. We are now at a stage where we may feel it is constantly happening but is it really? Is it time to invent something new?
Since the invention of the Internet in 1974, we have seen the rapid acceleration of tech and tools. In 2017 Artificial Intelligence entered our world, terrifying and inspiring at the same time. The experiences are slowly starting to blend and promise to deliver a unique, easy, and enjoyable customer benefit from smart thermostats and intelligent fridges to new media. We have difficulty distinguishing between various media channels, such as Instagram and TikTok. All the big tech now owns the small tech, which is starting to mimic the general corporate world of business monopoly.
The overwhelming tech giants’ desire to cover it all is blending the experience. We used to be able to distinguish a technology and speak to it, whereas currently, it seems that more and more people are confused. We have experienced first-hand some confusion between virtual reality vs augmented reality, virtual vs hybrid and the lack of understanding amongst marketing leads of how to utilize these technologies to offer rich and unique experiences to their customers. Such a trend is prevalent in general business categories, where marketing has a support and reactive function rather than a front seat. Nevertheless, this is a large margin of the economic pie in North America. Such reality is concerning since the forecast is that the market size of AR and VR will hit $269.9 Billion in 2024, which is nearly ten times the current market size, according to Statista.
A possible decline in social media usage?
It is undeniable that anything new will include technology, but the key to success will be bringing the good old excitement of live events as part of a marketing strategy. There is still a strong resistance in Canada to experiment with hybrid events and explore the power of merging technology and live experiences into marketing activations. Unfortunately, our Canadian market is on the conservative spectrum, and this is a well-known fact amongst marketers, art directors and producers in the country. We have more prescriptive marketing rather than conceptual. The hybrid events might be just what we need to shake up the market from its stagnation and devastating shadow of COVID’s restrictions and the catastrophic reality of small business bankruptcies.
Technology and good old-fashioned experiences
Bridging the use of technology to attract people back to live venues will be a must. Uniting efforts for cross-promotional opportunities will be the strategic survival move different industries can make. It is no longer just a nice addition to your media mix or a brave badge of honour. We are now communicating with a constantly plugged society that craves innovation and combines brands natively to satisfy their needs and wants. Furthermore, blended experiences prevent consumers from experiencing brands, so whoever manages to build a clean and exciting strategy will be an undeniable winner. The responsibility of marketers will be to deliver a new type of experience at the right place and pace with the assistance of new kinds of technology that will keep engagement high.
Experience as part of your product or service
It is no longer enough to offer just a product or service. The abundance of options for consumers is pushing brands to innovate, and if they don’t, they will be left behind. The experience is becoming a tangible benefit for brands, and there is no room for conservative moods or fear of failure to try.
Giants like Ikea tested virtual reality for their kitchen experience in 2016. AT&T and Lowes were not behind with similar applications. Most recently, Cadbury’s augmented reality campaign Worldwide Hide allowed customers to place an augmented reality egg anywhere in the world and ask their friends and family to find it. They have tried interactive hybrid events back in 2012 with large digital screens in London and displaying augmented reality objects live. The UK retail giant ASOS launched a virtual catwalk in 2019, embracing the challenges posed by the pandemic as a unique opportunity to push innovation forward. Most recently, Chipotle, hands down, delivered a fun and exciting blend of virtual and real experiences during an NHL game. These are just examples of testing the market and gaining valuable insight and data while others are still thinking about it.
Marketers need to accountably brave up to test new realms and utilize technology to its highest potential. This approach will pave the path to possibly creating the next new thing and technology that will shape our experiences in the decades to come. Innovation stems from authenticity and experimenting, and well-informed marketers have the potential to shape the following medium and trends.