Considering that it’s only 2013, we can expect a radically different market in 2020. On-demand marketing will be at the center of the business universe because of its ability to meet real-time needs. Already we are seeing a huge drive toward on-demand marketing: apps that alert us when our bank account is low, customer concerns answered immediately on Twitter and digital cameras that allow you to see what a particular item would look like on you.
An emerging technology that is expected to soar over the next few years is near-field communication (NFC). These chips are embedded into phones to exchange data with items that have NFC tags. NFC tags are economical, costing about 15 cents each, and they can be added to just about any item. Some smartphones already carry NFC technology, but products with NFC tags is still lacking. Yet with the cost-effectiveness and practicality of this technology, the interactive experience provided is bound to evolve and change the way businesses do, well, business.
Even though we are currently setting the stage for what will be, much of the interactions today remain complex and cumbersome. For instance, it’s complicated to track your monthly expenses, keep on top of healthcare claims and finding, organizing and printing off grocery coupons. In 2020, these interactions will be streamlined and offer an enhanced user-friendly experience. Tracking health care costs, for example, you could use visual-recognition technology to scan in health care bills, receipts, statements and appointments. All information would be stored in a central calendar with cash-management services.
Perhaps the greatest improvement will be the way that consumers interact with brands. With NFC technology, companies will be able to interact with the consumer through all stages of the buying process. This will involve a lot of trial and error, as brands will need to know what their on-demand customers expect when they evaluate, purchase and relate to the product or service. Marketing, in a traditional sense, has always focused on making a product look good, but on-demand marketing will delve deeper into the actual motivations that drive buying behavior.
What we must remind ourselves is that on-demand marketing is more than a marketing issue. It’s the very essence of consumer interaction, establishing a brand and having a competitive edge. It will instill the drive in consumers to purchase a product or service and share their experiences with others. Brands that do not cater to their on-demand customers will become invisible because they will have no real way of interacting during the buying stages.
Fortunately, we still have a few years to go before we reach this point, but in the meantime, we can begin implementing on-demand marketing tactics to better understand what our customers want and expect from us. This is all great practice for the inevitable future.