2013 Digital Predictions: Digital integration with offline channels

2013, a New Year and what can we expect it to bring? In my previous two blog posts we saw predictions about how tablets will revolutionise the web and how targeted TV advertising will start to take off. Both of these predictions reflect the last year in digital media and how it will change even more this year. This post will look at what 2013 will hold out for integration between experiential and digital. One of my clients is an experiential marketing agency called iD Experiential and I asked Claire Hutchings, marketing manager at iD, what she thought 2013 would hold for experiential marketing.

One of the first aspects of experiential marketing Claire talks about is social media. 2012 was a huge year for experiential marketing with social media and it is set to continue in 2013.

“Most of our experiential campaigns contain some form of digital integration, whether that is a photo mechanism via Facebook or a bespoke Twitter hashtag to amplify the experiential activation.”

Claire then makes a prediction that 2013 is the year where we will see truly experiential campaigns that are activated on social media platforms rather than being the other way around. An example of a recent experiential campaign is the Marmite Christmas lights campaign on Facebook. The concept was that you could upload an image of yourself via Facebook after choosing whether you love or hate Marmite and then out of all the entries, the best ones would be projected on the Oxford Street Christmas lights. They then ran a campaign for people to vote on the corresponding love or hate Facebook pages as to when the lights should be switched off. This idea really did put the consumers right at the very centre of the product despite the fact they could have hated it. This campaign really steps out the box of having an average Facebook fan page and aims to make an impact on the fans so they will remember the brand through their wider marketing strategies.

Claire then goes on to talk about how “an explosion” in new technology is set to change the way we activate our experiential campaigns. 

“A few brands have already dipped their toes in the pool of Augmented Reality and I hope in 2013 we will begin to see some really intelligent use of this technology, allowing consumers to genuinely connect with a brand.”

The importance of the relationship between the brand and the consumers is a constant in effective marketing, and through this burst of new technology we can expect to see a rise in experiential campaigns that will use technology to strengthen this bond.

DOOH (digital out of home) is one of the biggest growth areas of advertising spend. DOOH benefits location owners and advertisers as they are able to interact with their customers and extend the reach and impact of marketing messages. Claire’s view on DOOH is that she would love to see greater integration with experiential through this popular platform.

“It is about time we all began to think of this as another avenue to truly interact with consumers as part of integrated campaigns with experiential at the heart.”

The last point which Claire makes is about what she expects to see fade in 2013.

“My top thing to bin in 2013… QR Codes! Let’s be honest no one really knows what they are! The pixelated barcodes were billed as the next big thing but NFC (Near Field Communications) and other technologies will (if they haven’t already!) totally take over.”

QR codes which is abbreviated from Quick Response code is a detected as a 2-dimensional image which is made by a semiconductor image sensor. It is then digitally analysed by a programmed processer. QR codes were common in consumer advertising and Smartphone users could install an application which would scan the code and then convert it into a URL which would generally be a website of a company. Claire however feels this hasn’t been as successful as anticipated and that NFC could be the way forward.

“NFC has the potential to be incredibly powerful and once again change the way we activate experiential campaigns and enable consumers to interact with a brand.”

In today’s multichannel world digital integration has become very important. With the rise in the popularity of tablet PCs, many people now own tablets as well as also owning a laptop and a Smartphone. ‘It is estimated that there are 5.87 million tablets in UK households, with individual ownership of tablets now reaching the 10% mark of the population. This is likely to increase to just over 10 million tablets by August 2013.’ (YouGov, Harris MacLeod) This represents the vast amount of tablets that have been sold and shows how tablet ownership is still increasing rapidly. Smartphone sales worldwide rose to 169.2 million units in the third quarter of 2012 (Gartner) with Smartphone penetration also rising to 70% in the third quarter. This once again demonstrates just how many people own a Smartphone and are now more likely to access data from multiple devices.

This is why it is so essential to have the ability for data to be read on a variety of different devices using a standardised format. For companies to exploit this, it is vital to have easily accessible data that can be utilised across a variety of different devices.

I’d like to thank Claire for her valuable insight into the integration between experiential and digital. These views have given us all a glimpse of what we can expect to see throughout 2013 and what we will see a lot more of in the future.