The mobile phone looks like being the first truly successful convergence device since the Teasmade. The killer application combination will be location tracking (through GPS or similar), high bandwidth and new services. Don’t underestimate customers inventing uses either, like using Bluetooth to see who is up for flirting on the bus, in the train carriage, or in the bar? Or using your phone to scan food products for nutritional info (MacDonald’s in Japan) .
Google will continue to offer new opportunities. Anyone for Counter Googling? This is where you find out about new customers’ preferences and them offer them a more personalised service. The Bel-Air Hotel in Los Angeles Googles first-time guests to find out which of their services might be of interest when the person arrives.
Transparency Tyranny. The more opaque the transaction the less chance to build customer equity, The opposite is also true, the more the customer can ‘see’ behind or ‘into’ the product/service the greater their trust and connectivity. Transactions become experiences. Anybody who has ordered on-line and used a product configurator linked to a production management system (Dell for instance) will have experienced this. A product becomes your product. Bookshops will pile stock on the floor, not out the back, creating a different, more informal atmosphere. Garages who let you see into their workshops where your car is being fixed, reducing anxiety.
Demographic changes. We have more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 16 – for the first time in our history. Marketing to these aging Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1960) will become huge. Some estimates say half of this generation could live to be 100. Money, plus time, plus curiosity equals people who will voraciously consume technology driven services, on their terms.
Social networks delivering user controlled intimacy. You decide how much to reveal about yourself, who you let read it and how widely you allow its distribution. We are close to also allowing it to be marketed (for a fee). Imagine your preference profile (still under your control) being shown to companies who want to sell to you, and you being paid for it.
There is now an alternative to the physical world. Second Life gives you the chance to live in a virtual world. How much this will turn into 21st Century CB Radio we don’t know, but how many CB millionaires were there? Second Life has already chalked up its first. Should you or your business be on Second Life?
The line between production and consumption is blurring. Google’s purchasing and monetising of YouTube is all about creating an earning opportunity for the millions of people who post their videos. User generated content through blogs, networks and personal web space is creating a completely new market-place.