Marketing Technology

Wearable Tech – A Marketer’s Wet Dream

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The emerging market of wearable tech presents opportunities for marketers to collect personal data. And I’m not just talking Google Glass and Smart watches here, I am talking full-body clothing.

Scientists have discovered how to thread conductive fibres into fabrics. The Smart clothes are capable of collecting data from the human body such as pulse rate and dehydration levels.

Using flexible strips of metal, a power supply is woven into materials and can be used as a portable heater or a heart monitor which digitally communicates data to a third party. It could prove pivotal for people with vital health issues.

The nanotechnology has also been used by the military to power the bulk of technological equipment soldiers carry. Textile electrodes have been used to fashion lightweight aprons for X-ray technicians to provide more protection from gamma rays.

How long will it be before heads in the fashion industry are turned toward tech-textiles? Credit Suisse has already forecast a $50-billion docket will be splurged in tech-wear designs.

Next-generation tech

Sports companies have already adopted the technology to manufacture the next-generation of sportswear – training shoes and tech-vests that can monitor heart rate, breathing and perspiration levels.

Adidas is already testing body sensing textiles on athletes by using a Bluetooth strap to wirelessly transmit heart rate and breathing to a portable device. A vest with textile electrodes stitched in would not require you to carry a phone.

The idea of sending information about how your body is performing to a company might sound a bit creepy. But it could actually provide vital benefits we don’t currently have.

Food and beverage vendors for example, could inform someone their blood sugar is low and invite them to eat cake at a reduced price. Or maybe your body needs vitamin C and your local grocer can let you know about a deal on Seville oranges.

You can’t get a personal or better service than that surely.

Improve customer retention

A national survey found that 96 percent of consumers receive ads that are not relevant to them, and 94 percent of them cut off further communications. Mis-targeted ads create dents in the customer data base.

Consumers are growing increasingly frustrated by the number of advertisements that flood their inboxes, social media accounts and text messaging. But the problem is being created by companies not using consumer marketing data effectively.

In order to keep customers, companies are challenged to deliver relevant ads consumers have a personal interest in. Wearable technology can bridge the gap and make your marketing personal.

There are still hurdles to overcome, however. Consumers should have the right to choose if they want to share their information with you, but the good news is that attitude toward data sharing is mostly positive.

According to a report, 58 percent of consumers in the U.K. are comfortable sharing information with brands and only 13 percent confirmed “they don’t like receiving personalized content from brands.”

Furthermore, it is the youngest age group of 18 to 24 year olds that are most comfortable sharing personal information with companies with 77 percent believing more people will recognize the benefits of providing data in the future.

Compare this with the 4 percent of consumers aged 55 who are not comfortable with providing personal information and it is easy to see how the mind set of consumers is changing in a big way.

How can wearable tech be used in marketing?

Prototype wearables are already in use and early signs suggest there is potential for users to benefit from Smart clothing – and smart companies can take advantage of the technology to offer further benefits to individuals.

It is not much of a stretch of the imagination to see that clothes will have the technology to download files and apps. Luxury fashion label, Hermes are experimenting with a transparent leather jacket which uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

Light.Touch.Matters, a company funded by the EU, is developing touch sensitive piezo plastics and OLED bulbs to develop kinetic garments which mimic sound through a computer-generated hologram. Users can recover phone messages or pre-record voices of their friends and family so that when they receive a text, the 3D hologram reads the message in the sender’s tone of voice.

This may all be way off in the future, but some Smart clothing designs are already in the medical testing phrase.

German firm, Fraunhofer Institute is developing textile electrodes that can be stitched into garments and record stress levels in the neck and shoulders. It can even differentiate between physical and mental stress. How will that go down with your boss when your shirt tells you to take a break?

But for marketers with holidays, spa days, weekend breaks and energy drinks to sell, this type of information is priceless. Providing the content is relevant, personal and of value, wearable tech could tick all the right boxes.

Nike’s recent “Your Year” campaign uses data collected from users wearing their FuelBand line-up to monitor their performance. Participants are sent a one-minute video recording their achievements which they have the option to share on social media networks.

The company then sends video content to the individual. Their personal marketing is spot on, and because the receiver is given the option to share, no privacy laws are breached.

Furthermore, athletes love to boast about their achievements and will probably share their personal video which raises brand and product awareness for Nike. Can you get a more fully-rounded marketing campaign?

Smart clothes requires smart marketing

For consumers to allow companies access to the type of deeply personal information Smart clothes can produce, marketers must be highly sensitive and understanding.

There is potential for wearable tech to be used for commercial gimmicks and marketers will need to recognize their campaign must appeal to a customer’s actual needs rather than what you think they will benefit from.

Consumers drive manufacturers to design products that improve their lives. With wearable tech, we can also look to company to make valuable suggestions how we can feel better as well.

About the author

avatar

Richard Oldale

Richard Oldale is a freelance writer and SEO expert. With a vision for the future of online marketing he founded johnaudreyjones_productions to provide SMEs with proven SEO and social marketing strategies that will improve their online reputation in the short-term and retain it in the long-term. To find out more visit his website.

2 Comments

Click here to post a comment