Hey Google, “What’s the age of assistance”? When I first heard the term “Age of Assistance” I instantly thought of assisted living facilities and at-home care services. Although our senior population is tapping into these services at an expanded pace, the term actually refers to digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.
These digital assistants are great examples of new channels that marketers must consider when creating their digital strategies. Marketing channels continue to splinter at an unmanageable pace with the rapid introduction of new devices to the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is growing and expected to be $11 trillion by 2025 so this is a challenge marketers can’t ignore.
Wearables & assistants know the owner
These new channels, wearables and assistants, know the individual owner. They are learning devices. They create relationships and familiarity with the users. This familiarity creates and expectation leaving consumers believing brands should know them wherever they are. They want information, when they want it, where they want it and how they want it. It is ushering us into this new era dubbed the “Age of Assistance”.
Understanding how individuals want to interact with brands in each channel is critical for marketers. This isn’t a new concept. What is new is that marketers are expected to be aware of all the new technologies hitting the market, how they work and have a profound understanding of how the consumer interacts with the technology. Each time a new technology is adopted in the mainstream, marketers have to rapidly learn the technology and shift the way they market to support these new channels.
Marketers are expected to know technology
Marketers are expected to be early adapters of technology. They need to consider all of the touchpoints with consumers to provide the best customer experience. During the age of assistance, we will see a more rapid shift from CMO to CXO and from marketing tactics to true relationships with consumers. The age of assistance will further blur the lines between marketing, IT, customer service and culture.
Companies that get a jump on the age of assistance are going to be winners as consumers will build deeper relationships with those brands because those brands will know them intimately.
Although it just got more complicated, don’t fret, marketing principles haven’t changed even though we entered this new era. Whether you’re just starting your digital transformation or well underway you have to remember the basic marketing principles remain the same. Brands must be relevant to audiences, engaging them with the right content in the right channel at the right time making it easy for them to choose them over another brand.
Now is a great time to go back to basics.
- Know your customer – who are they, what do they care about, what are they shopping for?
- Understand why and how they are buying – is it in the store, online, through a partner channel?
- Learn how they learn about products and services– do they research, ask friends, sample products?
- Create content they want to consume – do they listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, follow bloggers?
- Be honest about your value proposition – what do you offer that the competition can’t?
Once you’ve taken the time to review these basic principles take a look at marketing strategy. Is it taking into consideration all of this information? Is it tailored to your brand? Are you spending time and money on things you no longer need to be? Remember, just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it. For example, having a voice strategy for digital assistants isn’t necessary for everyone – yet. And just because a tactic isn’t digital, doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. Many traditional marketing tactics are making a comeback – like billboards and direct marketing. Do what’s right for your brand and your audience.