Gmail Motion: Was Google On To Something? Marketers Take Note.


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Earlier in April I saw a banner ad for a new product, Gmail Motion. Excited at the prospect of how this exciting new technology could enhance my computing experience, I quickly clicked the link to the product page. The new product, which allows consumers to use their own bodies to control Gmail, promised to be one of the most significant innovations since the keyboard and mouse. Describing how the new product would change the way humans interact with computers, one of the “experts” on the Gmail Motion product page said, “No longer will people be required to bend to the will of technology. Instead, technology will now bend to our will.” Unfortunately, I was one of many people fooled by Google on April 1st.

With this experience fresh in my mind, I recently attended Forrester’s Marketing Forum 2011 in San Francisco. The conference, which focused on “Innovating Your Marketing for the Next Digital Decade,” kicked off with presentations from Forrester analysts about myriad technological advancements that seem to be coming to market almost daily. These advancements are changing the way that people engage with companies, brands and products. Going beyond “established” technologies like Facebook and Twitter, new innovations, such as location-based mobile applications and gaming consoles that enable users to interact through motion rather than a controller, are catching on. Maybe the Google folks, whether playing a joke or not, were on to something important.

The message from Forrester during the opening presentation was clear: marketers need to embrace the next digital decade and the channels that customers and prospects will use to interact with companies brands and products. Customers and prospects are finding new ways to interact with organizations, which is creating an abundance of new sales opportunities, including cross-sell and up-sell.

Despite this opportunity, Forrester stated that chief marketing officers are facing a confidence crisis. Research shows that 84% of CMOs have inadequate budgets for experimentation, 67% have inadequate marketing technology, only 17% have an interactive marketing team and just 10% have automated multi-channel campaign execution. It’s clear that marketers need to embrace new channels and accept that clients and prospects are demanding you interact with them through their chosen method. Though Google was having fun with us, they captured the sentiment of what customers require: “technology will bend to our will.”

Several companies at the Forum discussed how they are tackling these new demands. L’Oreal found that its best product manager wasn’t an employee. Michaell Phan, a woman that used, reviewed and endorsed L’Oreal products on YouTube has more than 350 million video views. Using Michelle’s story as an example, L’Oreal discussed how the future of marketing will entail a company setting the brand standards, then empowering brand evangelists to promote products even though they will not necessarily be employed by the company.

Kraft Foods’ Dana Anderson presented how experimentation through pilots is integral to understanding and utilizing new marketing channels. According to Dana, the only way a company can embrace new technology, channels and tactics is to do pilots. She went on to say, “a pilot means if it fails, I can’t get in trouble.”

While that’s true, the more channels marketers have to experiment with, the more difficult it is to create and maintain a 360 degree view of the customer. Successful pilots can result in separate silos of data. It is important to remember that when embarking on a pilot project, the program should be future-proof. If the project is successful, it will need to be integrated into a global, unified conversational marketing strategy so that marketers can track interaction and progress against goals.

What do you think? Are marketers prepared for the next innovative technology or channel? Have you successfully integrated a pilot project into your ongoing marketing efforts?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mathieu Hannouz
Mathieu Hannouz is the senior product marketing manager at conversational marketing technology provider Neolane, Inc.. He is responsible for driving the launch of Neolane's key product features across North-America including identifying target markets and opportunities, the creation and development of messaging, positioning and launch materials. Mathieu is Neolane's resident expert on Social Marketing. You can follow him on twitter @repackaged.


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