5 ways sensor technologies will transform marketing

Marketers are ever hungry for data; their appetite for this extremely valuable commodity is never satiated. Rightly so, they would argue; as they cannot target their ads and promotional material unless they have lots and lots of data to run their psychographic analysis on their targeted audiences for marketing purposes. The million-dollar question has always been how to collect timely data that is relevant and ‘right on target’ for an enthusiastic marketer.

Technology has always been at the forefront when it comes to fulfilling needs of literally all human endeavors. Marketing is no exception. We are already aware of the great contribution of Information technology towards marketing, however, till now it was mostly linked to target audiences’ feedback through surveys etc. Surveys have their own limitations in that they relate to the audiences’ well thought out response to various survey questions. We also know for a fact that sometimes not everyone fills out the survey forms with the fullest of truthfulness or the required concentration.

Interestingly, we are now entering a new era whereas in the future, the target audience would really not be required to go through the tedious process of filling informational feedback forms in most, if not all cases. The technology that is set to revolutionize marketing and produce raw data for marketers to crunch and analyze would be coming from a new source – sensor technology.

We all know that we respond to every event in our life including our reaction to the products and services we encounter with at least some level of emotion. Emotions are important for marketers as they are considered as a pertinent reaction to each and every product or service. Human emotions, in turn, affect our heart rate, body temperature, and even our skin. Marketers would love the idea of relating these reactions to their products or services. They would try to ‘read’ them through a combination of the various bodily responses. If they can properly analyze this data obtained, their brands can be related to these responses and then can be properly tweaked to target the desired audience.

Ben Waber, an innovator at Massachusetts institute of Technology’s Media Lab has researched on ‘People Analytics’ as they are called, using sensor technology. The research has been on how sensors and analytics give the data collector an insight into how people work and network together, and provide them with actionable intelligence for creating a productive, effective, and a more positive organization. Sensor data can go a long way in helping you to discover who the real experts in your organization are. It would help you in identifying workers who possess “creative” behaviors and who would be more ‘innovative’ for your business. Not just that, it would help you to mitigate the level of stress among your employees while at the same time help them improve their performance.

Here, we identify at least 5 ways sensor technologies will transform marketing in the near future:

Biometric cuffs
At the 2015 Wimbledon event, Jaguar distributed these biometric cuffs to a select group at the event. The sensor was designed to measure the target’s heart rate, motion and sound levels. The data was measured every 1/10th of a second and was forwarded to Jaguar’s control room where specialized software produces an ’emotional snapshot’ of the response of the crowd every fraction of the second. Jaguar in consultation with Mindshare and other technology companies then transmitted these ’emotional snapshots’ to multiple video screens across the UK train stations which acted as brand advertisements for Jaguar. The images were also shared with social media live. Thus biometric cuffs are one great piece of technology to monitor emotional response.

Conductive threads in woven clothing
Touch screens have something in common with fabric. Both are woven similarly. Instead of regular strands, if the cloth can be woven with microcurrent conducting strands or fiber, our clothes can act as sensors and relay valuable data to brand manufacturers who can then convert it to ‘people’s analytics’ and make use of it in marketing their products or services. Google’s Project Jacquard intends to do exactly this. This project gives the capability to any textile product manufacturer to weave their cloth with a braided and conductive colored thread. This effectively acts as the ‘required sensor’ and acts in conjunction with a Bluetooth device and battery in the target’s pocket to collect and transmit valuable data.

Location-based sensor technology
Estimote is one such company producing location based sensors called ‘beacons’. They transmit the target’s physical location to the marketer enabling the marketer to push information and alerts on their cell phones which are dependent on and are useful at the target’s location. This enables the marketer to send the right info relevant to the right location. The location of the target from the beacon is calculated through RSSI (Received Signal strength indicator) as the nearer the target to the beacon, the higher the strength.

Wrist Watch
An excellent wearable which a lot of people are already used to wearing, watches are great piece of equipment that can act as sensors. Apple watch is a perfect example of wrist watch and it uses photoplethysmography technology to monitor heart rate which is based on principle that blood reflects red light and absorbs green light. Together with other data, apple watch can be used to estimate the calories that a person has burnt during a period of time. Of course, there are other factors that a wrist watch manufacturer has put together to get a more accurate information for indoor and outdoor activities.

Virtual Reality in marketing through sensors
In collaboration with Microsoft’s HoloLens glasses, Volvo is building a sales strategy. They want to innovate the sales process as car dealers would be able to present to their customers the entire range of Volvo products via Virtual Reality. This tremendously cuts costs in terms of presentation of material to the potential customers and gives them an exciting and enjoying experience as well.

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