Besides the predictable onslaught of product announcements and amazing trade show booths, many discussions around the needs of future customers took place recently at the Consumer Electronics Show, the behemoth of tech conferences, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Many of the trends emerging, though not terribly surprising, call for a unique kind of marketing strategy. Marketers need to position products and the behavior around them for consumers who don’t necessarily know they are ready for the next innovation.
Case in point:
Wearable technology dominates many of the”what’s next” conversations, but studies show users often tire of actually wearing these products within just a few months.
How can marketers speak to their next customers, who don’t know what they don’t know? Here are a few ideas.
1. Tell consumers what THEY can do, not what IT can do.
Lowe’s has revealed more technology around a big topic at CES this year: the connected home. Technology and data are critical to achieve a truly connected home, but customers don’t want to concern themselves with such things. In an interview at CES about this, Lowe’s Anne Seymour described it this way:
It’s about education of the consumer and taking the technology out of it from their perspective. It’s not about worrying what the technology background is. They should care that it is an easy experience for them.
2. If consumers aren’t ready, your product isn’t either.
MakerBot, a leader in 3D Printer technology, announced a variety of exciting innovations at CES. Printing filament in highly stabilized materials like metal, wood and stone will soon be available. And while most regular consumers think this technology is amazing, they don’t yet have a real use for it. It’s a great investment, but it needs some time to mature.
MakerBot is working with university design students to explore potential uses. We’re seeing some interesting and innovative things like 3D printed clothing hitting the runway, but marketers would be hard-pressed to make the technology appealing for home use quite yet.
— Robert Schmid (@roberteschmid) January 7, 2015
3. Consider the entire customer experience, beyond the sexy demo.
While the media covered lots of impressive and sexy demos at CES, there were a few products receiving accolades for what the customer can actually do with them.
A really interesting transportation example is Gogoro, which is part product, part service, and all kinds of awesome!
Users would drive a space-age looking electric scooter, then access a network of stations to swap spent batteries for full ones as needed. What amazes me is how thoroughly the customer journey was considered. While it’s important to make it work and look cool, it’s more about solving problems for customers before they know they will have them.
Future marketing requires a push to gain knowledge and access to more of the entire customer experience. Customer expectations set the stage for how they will feel about products and services. Marketers set these expectations and should feel confident in the experience exceeding those expectations. If not, it’s time to ask for me.
It’s not just homes that are more connected, it’s the customer journey- from awareness to exit for customers of all kinds.
Image via CESweb.org