Adobe Summit 2016, an annual digital marketing conference, wrapped up on Thursday with an array of intriguing speakers, sponsors, and attendees. This year, Summit was moved from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas in order to accommodate the growing number of attendees, made up of digital marketers, product managers, data scientists, designers and developers.
The overall theme of this year’s Summit was Experience—and much of the content at the event centered specifically around Connected Experiences. Throughout the week, connected experiences were showcased in the digital marketing space to prove just how important they are, and how they will become the future of digital marketing.
Some of you may be asking what is a connected experience?
Connected experiences are engagements in which users/consumers are invited to digitally engage with a brand, which leverages data to make that experience even better. From watches, to cars and thermostats, people are consuming more connected experiences now than they ever have before.
According to Adobe, by the end of 2016 there will be 4 billion connected consumer devices, and by 2020 that number will reach up to 13.5 billion.
At every speaking engagement led by the Adobe marketing team, a prominent theme was their strong belief that the digital marketing of today is about selling an experience, and not just a product.
Some of the compelling connected experiences that were showcased at Summit, included the following:
Adobe Smart Bag
Just launched at Adobe Summit 2016, is the Adobe Smart Bag. The Adobe smart bag keeps an inventory of what is inside the shopping bag, and makes the product information instantly available on the consumers connected device.
Here’s how the new connected retail experience works–when the customer arrives at the store, they will be given a Smart Bag that utilizes Beacon technology and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to keep a digital inventory.
As the customer walks around the store and adds items to the bag, the items are also added into their online shopping cart. When the customer walks into the dressing room to try the items on, their app will bring up the items they have in their bag. When the customer wishes to check out, they must simply click a button on the app, and they’re ready to walk out of the store with their new items.
Alternatively, if the customer wishes to check out, they may simply walk out of the store—the app will detect that the customer has left the geofenced location, and will automatically check them out.
According to Capgemini Consulting Research, in-store shoppers spend an average of 39 billion hours every year waiting in line. With Adobe’s new Smart Bag, retailers are optimizing the shopping experience to eliminate lines and ultimately streamline the physical journey of shopping to make customers happier.
The Adidas Smart Ball MiCoach was showcased at one of the larger booths at Summit. When the Smart Ball is charged and connected to your smartphone, complete information about the way you play a sport is at your fingertips, on the MiCoach application.
Both soccer balls and basketballs were being tracked as they were being shot into the hoop, and kicked into the net, giving analytics on the balls MPH, RPM, and spin type, all while showing the ball’s exact flight path.
The application also aggregates the data to show your progress over time, and allows you to save your favorite kicks, to check them out in the future. Adidas is not just selling a soccer ball anymore, but the experience that this soccer ball brings to the consumer.
They are merging both digital and physical experiences into one.
Connected Car: Ford
Rich Strader, Director of Enterprise and Emerging IT at Ford Motor Company sat on a panel at Adobe Summit 2016 to discuss tangible products and IoT. He stated that Ford, which used to only be a car company, is now becoming a car and a mobility company.
Yes, their core services may always remain the same: cars, utilities, trucks, financing, and parts & services, but in order to keep the customer experience as robust as possible, they must keep up to date with the emerging opportunities in the technology, and specifically the smart mobility space.
This is what Strader and his team are responsible for doing: supporting the IT services that enable the Connected Vehicle and the Connected Consumer Experience. In order to stay on top of competition in the space, they are experimenting with Ford’s connected cars all over the world to fit their broad range of consumer and user types.
Straders favorite smart feature is the ‘vehicular infotainment system,’ which allows the user to control their navigation system, phone & music with simple voice commands. Getting the customer to interact with the Ford brand, and getting to know their customers are two of Ford’s upcoming goals.
Why do these connected experiences matter?
To stay on top of the competition, companies must become ‘experience businesses’, because offering your customers an innovative mobile app as a stand-alone experience just won’t cut it anymore.
In a world of the growing IoT, you must be able to offer a consistent, compelling, and personalized experiences in order to continually engage your customers.
Knowing your customers has never been as important to marketers as it is now. Knowing your customer in the digital marketing era allows more opportunities to deliver personalized messages to them, and ultimately sell an experience, and not just a product.