The next generation of digital marketing is becoming primetime. It is based on digital being integrated into and enhancing the physical world rather than providing an alternative to it.
Recently, I came across three great transformational marketing ideas based on this principle.
First up: Tesco in Korea. (Courtesy of Retailwire)
Thinking about how to grow sales without establishing more stores, Tesco’s research showed how Koreans are a hard-working, commuting culture. So they came up with the idea of creating very realistic virtual supermarket store displays in subways. A commuter would use the smart phone to scan the QR code of any item they wish to buy, which then goes into their shopping cart. The groceries are delivered to their home within an hour of when they are scheduled to arrive at home.
Second initiative: How Hallmark uses Facebook Connect.
The integration is brilliant. When you sign into Hallmark.com with your Facebook account, it accesses your friend connections. Part of what Facebook does well is to keep track of birthdays, so that means that you get reminders for sending cards to friends as their birthdays are approaching. This is integration of digital and physical worlds because you get the option of sending a physical card (free postage promotion codes available) where you can customize the card to a friend (change the song, message, upload a photo, etc.).
Third: Google + circles
Google is going to make a very serious run at the social space with Google +, currently in final beta testing. They state: “You share different things with different people. But sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle. Circles makes it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself, just like real life.”
As a marketer, what I see is that the social media advertising is about to be taken up a notch, because presumably, a marketer will be able to direct messages about music to music friends, about business to business colleagues, about sports to my fellow Yankee fan friends, etc. This has been a shortcoming of Facebook and is one reason why research shows that Facebook has a weaker relationship to the path to purchase when people are actually in a shopping process.
When digital is integrated into physical, it breaks the physical rules and marketers will have to work hard to remove the blinders they probably aren’t even aware of. For example, “proximity” matters less when you can be standing in a Best Buy and do price checks in all local competitors and in Amazon who, because they are in the cloud, are actually everywhere. TV advertising used to be separated by place and time from purchase; we can imagine a future where that will not be the case.
At Social Media Week in NY, Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare said their mission was to change the way people experience the physical world. Put that thinking into your digital strategy and it will take you to new marketing activation ideas.