Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Challenge for digital marketers to keep up with innovation

Norbert Sagnard, a lecturer in the current Belfast Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, looks at the changing face of this fast-evolving industry.

At the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, I was reminded how digital innovation is impacting the practice of mobile marketing. What to do with 'cameras without lenses', or with 'proximity sensing' that allows you to move content on a smartphone screen without actually touching the screen, or with paying your retail purchases from a nod of your head?

Such new techniques always seem outlandish at first, yet they become the new normal for billions of smartphone users around the world rapidly.

Technology breakthroughs are coming thick and fast, thanks to crowd-funding and angel investment, and accelerators like Wayra, where founders set up and grow their tech business and launch new products within a few months. The challenge for marketers is to stay up-to-date on new digital technologies, to engage and communicate with the billions of smartphone users – the general population in developed economies – who watch more video every day and adopt new ways of communicating through apps like Snapchat, Whatsapp and Telegram, ever faster.

The complexity and plethora of mobile technologies like augmented reality, frictionless payments, wearables, NFC, smartX – watches, fitness trackers, houses, cars – forces creative professionals to adapt brand stories leveraging the technical capabilities of the moment. This begs the question, can marketing innovation only be subordinate to digital innovation?

Over the past decade, marketing has evolved into digital due to web innovation and is now exploding into a myriad of combinations in the mobile space, where both real and virtual worlds blend. Sci-fi movies seem to precede our reality with ever less delays, tricks from Star Trek and Minority Report are here today, but the fundamental question for marketers is which communication tools and style to use, in order to address the fickle mood of their audience, or to devise mobile commerce journeys that make shopping effortless and enjoyable from a mobile device.

The quickening pace of technology innovation sets us all, marketers, the challenge of dedicating ourselves to continuous learning, trialling, refining, adopting or discarding in weeks rather than months, new mobile technologies. We must make decisions fast, yet achieve the objective of raising brand differentiation, brand value and customer satisfaction, those timeless marketing values.

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