According to CNNMoney, sales of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are definitely still growing — but not nearly at the rate they were just a few short years ago. Does this mean consumers are eschewing the convenience of the mobile platform in favor of the traditional desktop and laptop PC of yesteryear? Absolutely not. PC sales have been on the decline for a while and show no signs of slowing down.
So what’s the next bold frontier in the B2B marketing spectrum?
The answer is simple: wearable devices. According to eMarketer, there will be an estimated 81 million wearable users walking around every day by 2018.
The most obvious question to ask: “Do I need a wearable marketing strategy?” As with most things, the answer is a resounding “maybe.” Your answer should depend on your marketing goals and the relationship you have with your target audience.
The Value of Wearables in the B2B Space
You understand that the B2B market’s decision-making process is much more complex than a typical B2C market’s. Rather than appeal to a single household or consumer, for instance, your brand has to consider the administrative procedures that a business has in place. Multiple experts, board members, and managers (each with their own set of concerns) will most likely weigh in on whether to purchase your product or service.
Therefore, segmenting your audience is a rather complex process. Are you going to segment the companies in which these parties work or the parties themselves? Should you pinpoint one main decision maker per company, or do you categorize the key decision makers?
Once you do make a decision, your job isn’t finished. You then need to gather insights on your unique segments to better appeal to them. Luckily, wearable technologies are about to dramatically increase the volume and quality of data you receive on a regular basis. The key is to actually put the data to use.
Say you know that, statistically speaking, the CFOs you target consume the majority of their content on their way to and from work. In the past, you would have had to guess the approximate time they would be on their commute and send materials accordingly. You’d likely be able to get pretty close, but some days would be more successful than others.
Thanks to wearable tech, however, the geolocational tools built into products like the Apple Watch can show you exactly when that commute is taking place. You can then send those B2B marketing materials at precisely the right moment, thus increasing effectiveness and strengthening your connection.
Two Questions You Should Ask Before Implementing Your Strategy
The volume of data that wearable tech can arm you with is wonderful, but only if you’re willing to take it to the next level and actually use what it’s trying to tell you. So before you decide that a wearable marketing strategy is right for your business, there are some key questions you need to ask yourself:
1. Do I have the infrastructure in place to adapt to the ways in which wearables are about to disrupt marketing materials from just about every angle?
Remember: You can only make one first impression, and launching a wearable marketing strategy before you’re ready to put your best foot forward from a technology perspective stands to not only harm the effectiveness of your campaign, but also to damage your reputation as a forward-thinking company.
An Apple Watch screen, for example, is significantly smaller than the screen on an iPhone and displays less information as a result. Can you adapt your email marketing campaigns to accommodate that shift? Email is still a very important part of people’s lives. Not using it effectively as part of an integrated marketing program means you’re missing out on a channel most people use.
Brands will have to determine how to effectively market their messages in a “wearable” way, which is more personalized, concise, and fast. People need to connect quickly.
2. Will I actually benefit from the influx of data wearables provide?
Take a look at your current enterprise, and see if you can actually handle and leverage the data that will be at your disposal. Further, will the benefits the data provides be useful for your company, and do you have the team in place to interpret the data properly?
For example, if your sales team consistently deals with certain knowledge or communication gaps in its relationship with clients, wearable technology is a great way to plug those holes and strengthen the connection between your business and its customers. Let’s say your brand sells tires to car manufacturers. What if a client walked into your warehouse looking for a particular brand of tires? Your sales rep could look at her wearable device and tell your client exactly where the product is located and whether it’s in stock.
This kind of data could make your sales process much more efficient, but you must ensure you have the proper resources to fully utilize it before you dive in.
Wearable technology is about to spur a watershed moment in B2B marketing. Marketers who understand what wearables bring to the table (and who know how to utilize those components properly) not only widen their reach and strengthen their brand stories, but they also create smoother customer journeys. I fear those who don’t will find themselves struggling to play catch-up for the foreseeable future.
Sarah Clarkis the president of Mitchell, an award- winning public relations firm that creates real conversations between people,
businesses, and brands through strategic insights, customized conversations, and consumer engagement.