Marketers about the Apple Watch: “Oh Crap”.

Marketers are not ready for the Apple Watch, and it’s about to change mobile marketing.


Many companies are still trying to crystalize and/or validate their mobile strategy. Retail, for example, has struggled to quantify the value of mobile in a world where web traffic has moved mobile while conversion rates haven’t. They probably have people dedicated to figuring it out. Unfortunately for them, Apple’s Watch has kicked off the long-expected era of post-phone connected devices and changed things again.

First, Marketers were desperate to get into your inbox (still are). Then push messaging was proven to be engaging and drive action, so they clamored for a solution to reach the lock screen of your phone. While the Watch will likely pass along an push messages it receives to the wrist of your consumer, expect a very short time to pass before they figure out how to turn this off. See, the Apple Watch just gave consumers a filter — allowing the consumer to determine which things are worthy of making it to the wrist (real time) and which things are likely to stay on the phone and become (very) asynchronous.

There are behaviors that Apple Watch users have already observed, (see Matthew Panzer’s article on TechCrunch). A common aspect of early reviews is that the person checked their phone less frequently.

Within a small sample of time, the Watch is already impact their behavior.

What this means is that app developers and marketers need to be ready for a world where people begin interacting with their phones (and content) differently. For example, I’m not a regular Facebook user anymore. I check it once a day maybe. It’s highly unlikely that Facebook alerts are going to bubble up to my wrist. If I check my phone less frequently, I’m even less likely to be drawn into Facebook.

If you are still wondering why Facebook wants to own SMS 2.0 (WhatsApp, Messenger, etc.) — here it is.

Apple has doubled down on Health Kit and built in the hardware to support health oriented applications. So what happens when users agree to let a device influence their behavior? They become more selective about what behaviors they are willing to allow technology to influence. The good and the bad here, is that marketers need to be prepared to think about the way they leverage mobile and personal technologies to engage users. Users are about to have a Jony Ive designed barrier between what they respond to in real time, and everything else. You want to be on the wrist. Push notifications are about to change. Social applications are about to change (how are you going to tweet from your watch?) Sure it’s early — you have time figure it out, but you don’t have forever. Marketers can’t wait as long as they have with mobile. Responsive html isn’t going to help you on the watch. You need to understand the behavior of your customers, how to build a relationship where they will allow you access to them in real time, and which behaviors you want them to have. It’s time to get TRULY personal with your marketing and understand that you are building relationships.

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