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Why Marketers Shouldn’t Dismiss Wearable Technology (Just Yet)

Posted on the 18 September 2014 by Marketingtango @marketingtango

Why Marketers Shouldn’t Dismiss Wearable Technology (Just Yet)

Get ready marketers, because here we go again.

Just when you were getting your arms around SEO, social media, video marketing and mobile, a hot new hoopdie-doo comes along imitating that it is the next big marketing thing.

Given all that small businesses already contend with daily–sales, service, staying competitive — it would be easy to dismiss wearable technology as the harmless but impractical fascination of starry-eyed engineers — the far-out stuff of science fiction rather than, as the Content Marketing Institute suggests, the inevitable, game-changing confluence of mobility, personalization and location-based data capturing.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Wearable technology, as described in this fascinating whitepaper on the subject, is technology that A) is worn for an extended period of time, resulting in some enhanced user experience and B) features advanced circuitry, wireless connectivity and independent processing capability.

Today’s most-popular examples include smart watches, fitness trackers, eyeglasses, pedometers, wearable cameras and sleep monitors. And if forecasters are right, and big fashion brands like Barneys and Michael Kors have their way, a glitzy new wave of smart bracelets may join the current stable of wearables as soon as Christmastime 2014.

What Marketers Should Know Right Now

Yahoo! Small Business recently identified market conditions that smart marketers (even those who poo-poo the notion of wearable smart gadgetry), should be aware of:

  • Consumer interest is surging — Awareness is rising and early adopters are intrigued; Yahoo! reports that more than 75 percent of adults have heard of wearable technology and the ranks of the curious is rapidly increasing; analysts at the NPD group predict that wearables’ current annual sales of $475 million may double in the next 12 to 18 months to nearly $1 billion.
  • Purchase intent is on the rise — Consumers say they are more likely to increase spending on wearables than any other technology; more than half say they are open to purchasing wearable gadgetry in the future, with nearly 30 percent indicating a “significant” purchase intent, according to Yahoo!
  • Not everyone is buying in — Although 82 percent of current wearable technology owners say the gear enhances their lives, cautious non-users still have concerns over cost, privacy and hassles of integrating yet another electronic device into their busy lives.

Peek or Pass?

As wearables proliferate, the CMI article points out, they and those who wear them will become absorbed into the vast interconnected universe of “smart” devices known as the “Internet of Things (IoT).”

This is where the true promise of the technology lies for marketers, by “combining the refined knowledge of both location and emotion with the IoT to make life so easy and convenient that users don’t even perceive that they’re being marketed to.” (And you, still wrestling with Page Titles…)

So, should small-business marketers care about wearable technology? It’s a good question and a thought-provoking subject, which you can explore in greater depth right here.

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