The Hottest Issue in Mobile Today
If you follow the tech/advertising space closely, one of the things you’ll quickly pick up on is that the industry embraces narratives. Whether the topic is Marissa Mayer, Bitcoin, or the perceived lack of recent innovation at Apple, news outlets often seem to jump on the same theme as a group, and once these narratives are developed, you’ll start to see the same type of stories appearing everywhere
In the last three to six months, one story in particular that’s stood out to me is the importance of connecting the mobile/online world with actions taken in physical locations. From TechCruch and Business Insider, to MediaPost and Ad Age, news outlets are embracing this idea, and for good reason too. It seems that almost all of the largest tech/advertising companies in the world are thinking about it (Amazon, Groupon, Google, Apple, eBay, etc.).
Seeing the coverage around the issue has made it incredibly exciting to work with a company like Sparkfly, which has the sole focus of helping brands, retailers and tech companies connect their digital efforts to what happens in the store.
Sparkfly is integrated with point-of-sale vendors, and they allow brands to run campaigns that contain digital/mobile offers and track those deals all the way into the physical store. This not only means seeing if a deal was redeemed (in real-time), but also seeing what the average basket size was, what time of day people were redeeming, how redemptions varied by different retail locations and more.
Because Sparkfly fits so perfectly into an already established narrative, we’ve encouraged their CEO, Catherine Tabor, to add her own .02 into the conversation, and share her viewpoints from the proverbial “trenches”.
Over the last few months, Catherine has written some great articles, and I’d encourage anyone interested in the space to check them out. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Business Insider – The future of the loyalty card
- Adotas – How brands and retailers can work together
- iMedia Connection – Multiple blog posts
When it comes to narratives in the news, there is always a finite lifecycle. There’s no direct answer for why they end, but in the case of connecting digital/mobile advertising to in-store purchases, I believe that the narrative will stay alive until the problem is essentially figured out.
This is a space with a lot of innovation (and a lot of M&A deals), and it wouldn’t surprise me if we look back at this in a year, and see the narrative change from “the potential of connecting the digital/physical worlds,” to the “impact of connecting the digital/physical worlds.”
p.s. If anyone reading this is attending the NRF show in NY next week, Catherine will be speaking about the future of retail payments on a great panel that has the VP of Retail at PayPal speaking, among others. Check out some more info here: www.bit.ly/1fgG2eO