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This week’s guest blogger is Slaton Smith, Chowbotics Vice President of Marketing. He’s a restaurant marketing whiz who led key programs at Arby’s, TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s and Denny’s. An accomplished writer, you can find several of Slaton’s books on Amazon.  

Brands strive for a bond with their consumers. That bond leads to loyalty and enhanced top of mind awareness.   Historically, brands look for partners or media vehicles that target a specific audience. Not that long ago, there were only a handful of television networks and brands paid big dollars to be on the best show that hit the most people.   In the 1950’s, brands sponsored entire programs, ensuring that all of their targets eyeballs were on their product.   Again, the notion being that this association lends credibility to their product and begins creating emotional connections.

Likewise, endorsements by celebrities, athletes and sports teams are employed in much the same way. Local teams and celebrities have a connection with their fans. With an endorsement, brands hope to share a little bit of that connection.

Recent media history has seen a proliferation of media choices for consumers and as a result it’s more complex than just sending the bulk of your media budget to NBC. ABC and CBS.   To add to the complexity, consumers’ attitudes have changed. Everyone wants something customized for them. They want personalized messaging. If it’s not relevant, they tune it out.

If you’re tuned out, developing that connection is even harder and without that connection, your sales will more than likely suffer.

Technology has become the marketer’s best friend. It’s now possible to pinpoint the people you want to see your product. The Internet of Things (IoT), a connection between all of your devices, now gives marketers a gateway to personal messaging.   Take a look at the Fitbit on your wrist. That Fitbit connects to your Dick’s Sporting Goods app on your phone. Dick’s can now track your activity and can send you relevant messages and reward you for running that extra mile. That’s a connection.

The most powerful tool in the marketer’s arsenal is the smartphone. Think about it. Do you ever have your phone more than a couple feet from you? Your phone acts as an identifier and tracking device. Via mobile apps and machine learning, brands can send you offers that are not only personalized, but timely and based on where you are. Brands can now accurately predict your behavior and have the right offer ready for you – in the right place and at the right time.   With each relevant message delivered with the help of technology, emotional connections grow.

With a mobile app, brands can connect to other IoT devices, beacons, kiosks, screens or more complex technology such as robots. Think about visiting a robot like Sally the Salad Robot in your office or in an airport lounge and having Sally remember your name, your favorite salad topping and dressing. Pretty cool, but also an effective sales tool.

Consumers continue to be fickle and always will be. However, technology has evolved to the point where brands can now be ready for the evolving tastes and trends of their consumers.