Contrarian Marketing
Contrarian Marketing Podcast
Smart devices have no impact on marketing… or do they?

Smart devices have no impact on marketing… or do they?

The Contrarian Marketing Podcast, episode #2

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Will new devices fundamentally change marketing?

71% of Americans say they check their phones within the first 10 minutes of waking up —

While we’re busy being addicted to smartphones, the tech industry is pushing more devices like smartwatches, fitness bands, pods and glasses. Tech research firm IDC predicts that the AR/VR market will grow by 8x to $26b by 2025.

The explosive growth of smart devices raises the question, “will devices fundamentally change marketing or not?”

✅Eli says yes, devices remove friction and make reaching consumers easier.

⛔Kevin says no, the fundamentals of marketing remain the same, only the format changes.

In this episode, we talk about:

  1. the impact of new devices on marketing

  2. whether new devices open new marketing channels

  3. the role of privacy for devices

Vote now and share your thoughts in the comments!


Key Takeaways from this episode

  1. Devices create new formats and channels to reach audiences but change the fundamentals of marketing.

  2. Devices remove friction in performing Jobs-to-be-done. Marketers should think about how they can align their marketing with how consumers use these devices.

  3. Apple’s Tracking Transparency shows devices are gateways to marketing.

Kevin’s take: marketing fundamentals don’t change, only the format.

Kevin's take is the fundamentals of marketing remain the same irrespective of the device used by consumers. Devices have opened ‘new channels’ of marketing rather than changing any core marketing aspects.

Let's look at one of the most popular devices in the last decades, which is clearly the iPhone. It’s probably one of the most successful products out there, period. How has iPhone really changed marketing? It has opened new channels for marketing, right? Like, we can advertise on the app store.

But all these things work after the same fundamental marketing principles, which are about attention, desire, product positioning, placements, getting people to buy in, and all that jazz.

The fundamental way to do marketing to get attention to persuade customers has not really changed.

Eli’s take: devices open new surfaces and remove friction for consumers 

Eli’s take is devices and their capabilities have removed friction, which makes consumers more accessible to marketers.

Imagine a world where the internet was faster, but we didn't have mobile devices. You decide you want to buy something, and you have to take out a notebook, write it down or write it on your hand. When I go home, I'm going to the website, and I'm going to buy it.

But devices have removed that friction. Now you can just go buy it – Or you can take a picture of something.You go to Target and you take a picture of the barcode and decide to buy it straight from Amazon while you're in Target.

So I think that marketing means that now you can target someone using Facebook, and they're in Target, and bring them over to your e-commerce store.

I think that the ability to know where people are, to know what languages people are speaking, to follow them, and know that at any point in time they can respond to marketing. To me, that's the biggest change.”

Voice search - disappointment or opportunity?

Comscore’s prediction that 50% of online searches will come from voice searches in 2020 clearly didn’t materialize. But, younger generations use voice search much more for note-taking, texting and calling than older ones. Is voice still a force to be reckoned with, or has it capped out?

Kevin says voice will always be capped at very basic ad-hoc commands and questions but not be a platform for journeys or complex problems. As such, voice search is hard to monetize and may not truly benefit marketers.

Voice searches have a place, but they're all very simple prompts and questions. They don’t really change how to do marketing, as these are all post-purchase prompts. I already know what I want. I'm not in the decision-making process anymore. I basically just want to get to a destination or exactly what I want. Just help me get there faster. I think these devices are just accelerants.

Eli says marketers need to get creative on how they approach voice-based search for marketing.

Imagine you search for something generic and get an ad before non-paid results. We're not there yet, but I think marketers need to realize that there is a marketing opportunity in the way people search with voice

The contrarian view

“Devices have been disruptive to marketing but not in the way you think. Advertising prices are actually going up because Apple launched ATT (Apple Tracking Transparency) with iOS 14.5 and removed significant tracking capabilities for advertisers.”

“25% of US households have an Alexa device. You can order stuff, but you can also search, which could be a trojan horse Amazon uses to take on Google”

Predictions on the next generation of devices

Eli: “I think that these (voice search) devices are absolutely going to change the way people access information and the way people look for things.”

Kevin: “I think the next big thing is going to be all these device ecosystems work together and you have a seamless experience. No matter where you are, devices understand the situation you're currently in. They will understand what your behaviors are in different locations and make your experience even better. It's not going to be a single device, it's going to be (device) ecosystems that are the next big thing.”


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Thank you!

Eli and Kevin

Contrarian Marketing
Contrarian Marketing Podcast
Once a week, Eli and Kevin share contrarian marketing opinions about the topic du jour to give you ideas you might not be thinking about.