Key Marketing Trends for 2012: Part Two
Written by Robert Passikoff
Last month, in our July issue, we brought you the first six of Robert Passikoff’s 12 key marketing trends for 2012. Now, we present you with the final six. These trends will have direct consequences to the success or failure of your branding, engagement and marketing efforts this year.
7. Mobilized Money
Handheld technology and smarter-and-smarter smartphones will increase opportunity for more mobile monetary transactions. Brands that do not facilitate small screen transactions will find consumers hanging up on them. Watch for increased credit card and promotional outreach, especially if the brand can customize the small screen experience.
8. Real-Time Branding
As brands like Amazon and Zappos taught, and consumers learned—fragmented lifestyles and increased expectations could be better serviced by the near-instantaneous availability of products (and their return). Consumers will expect brands to respond with the click of a “Send” key, no matter in which category they compete.
9. Innovation is Sincerest Flattery
Given increased consumer expectations and decreased brand differentiation, brands will need to understand what really drives their categories and where to innovate against consumer pain points. Zappos sells shoes—but their brand equity lies primarily in the emotional driver of “service” and how they quickly they process both delivery and returns. Consumer irritation is erased by innovative, painless, free delivery.
Creative response to consumer expectation will become de rigueur for brand leaders. But the brand party many of us attended before the economy called the police has left a hangover that is not going away any time soon. Sure, Apple sells phones and mp3 players, but they leverage engagement and loyalty—not by delivering “communication” or “entertainment,” but by delivering products that are beautifully, creatively and organically designed. Look for a desire for the coolness of beauty—whether a graceful delivery system or a gorgeous product—to escalate.
Increased consumer desire for simplicity is a strong trend as complexity pushes on people. Look for smaller, higher-quality products and ease-of-service delivery methods. This will result in the convergence of complex services and products into simple, expectation-exceeding solutions, but only if brands know where to look in their own categories for the "wow" button to press.
12. You Need to Be Aware That Engagement is Not a Fad
Engagement is the way empowered consumers do business today, period. Marketers can and should plan with engagement methods like the right platform, program, message or experience, but out-dated awareness models will continue to be ineffective and there should be only one objective for these engagement methods: Brand Engagement.
Accommodating these trends will require a change in the ways companies measure, manage and market their brands. And, yes—change is often a scary proposition, but the key is focused changes, which are always easier to make when you have the consumer telling you exactly where to focus.
How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans
AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”
AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”
Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”
Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”
Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”