The annual gathering of the world’s consumer electronics innovators was held last week in Las Vegas. And contrary to the famous tag line, what happened there definitely won’t stay there. Many of the new products will have a significant impact on how people engage with information and entertainment. This in turn will have an effect on how marketers engage with consumers.
Here are my top three trends to project from this year’s product introductions.
1. Smarter, smart phones on faster 4G networks. Information will be at your fingertips, no matter where you are. Websites will soon be accessed more frequently on smart phones than on PCs. This has a huge implication for website design to deliver a great user experience on a small screen. And since information is instantly available, consumers will increasingly use it to make real-time decisions. This is leading to the desire for locally relevant content. Where is the best place to get a good burger? Where is the latest blockbuster movie showing? Is this the best price for the item I’m about to buy? More and more of the content used to make these decisions will be provided by other consumers. So I believe this year will be the tipping point for mobile accessible, locally relevant, social media marketing.
2. Pads! The iPad is getting some serious company from Samsung, Dell, Lenovo and others. The ultra-portable touchscreen devices will see rapid adoption because they are lighter, last longer and are a better experience for viewing video and “print” content (iPad’s lack of Flash support being the exception). Users will demand more engaging content from your website and publishers will begin to figure out how to create pad-optimized content, which means you should figure out how to do pad-optimized advertising. Static print ads and conventional banners just won’t cut it in the pad environment. This is the year to begin experimenting with new forms of advertising.
3. Smart TVs. While Internet-connect TVs were announced last year, they have advanced significantly this year. Samsung, Sony, Vizio and others now have large libraries of TV apps for content services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube; single and multiplayer games; photo and video sharing; and Web access. The living room is increasingly becoming the center for on-demand content and it’s coming on the big screen (and in 3D!). How will you engage with consumers in an environment that is not commercial-interrupted? Will branded or sponsored content be the future? While it’s still too early to know, if TV advertising is a part of your media mix you should consider testing some new methods this year.
Were you at CES? Or maybe followed the news via one of the great blogs that provided non-stop updates? What were your highlights? And how will they impact marketers? This is one time you can actually share what you did in Vegas so please do tell!