Trademark Owners Just Can’t Win Keyword Advertising Cases–EarthCam v. OxBlue

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I have repeatedly observed that trademark owners routinely lose their lawsuits against advertisers who buy their trademarks as advertising keywords. (This is in addition to the futility of bringing trademark lawsuits against search engines, which almost no one does any more). I can’t recall the last time that I saw a trademark owner win a keyword advertising lawsuit; since the Network Automation case, those wins have been scarce.

Today’s case involves two companies in the security camera business. EarthCam initiated a wide-ranging trade secret, CFAA and copyright lawsuit against OxBlue. OxBlue scorch-earthed its response to EarthCam with a panoply of counterclaims. As an outside observer, it’s always fun to see competitors locked in a death match in court. As one of the litigants, not so much.

Let’s focus on OxBlue’s trademark counterclaim. For a few months in 2010, an EarthCam subsidiary, Work Zone Cam, purchased “oxblue” as part of its keyword advertising campaign. OxBlue’s trademark infringement claim goes nowhere:

OxBlue has not addressed any of these factors, let alone presented any evidence of a likelihood of confusion based on these factors. There is no evidence of the labeling and appearance of Work Zone Cam’s advertisements and the surrounding context of the screen displaying the search results. Nor is there any evidence in the record on how often customers were lured to the Work Zone Cam’s website when they searched for OxBlue on the Internet. See 1–800 Contacts, 722 F.3d at 1244 (holding that there was no likelihood of “initial interest confusion” because an expert report showed that customers clicked on the defendant’s advertisement only 1.5% of the time that an advertisement was generated by an infringing keyword search term). No evidence has been presented that would allow the Court to properly evaluate OxBlue’s trademark infringement claim. OxBlue’s trademark infringement claim based on “initial interest confusion” is required to be dismissed because OxBlue failed to address or present evidence on any of the factors relevant to whether there is a likelihood of confusion.

The associated false designation of origin claim fails along with it.

Photo credit: failure will lead to success // ShutterStock

Photo credit: failure will lead to success // ShutterStock

Here’s some of the several possible contributing factors to this ruling:

* the court granted both defendants’ summary judgment motions, so it’s possible the judge got tired of the competitive sniping in court and the trademark claim got caught in the downdraft.
* the judge was obviously unimpressed with OxBlue’s advocacy of the trademark claim. Would more spirited advocacy have done better?
* the court doesn’t dwell on it, but the court does note OxBlue’s lack of clean hands, an all-too-common situation in keyword ad cases. In 2003, OxBlue had purchased “EarthCam” as part of its keyword advertising campaign.
* trademark owners routinely struggle to find any credible evidence of consumer confusion from keyword advertising. Here, the court generously gave OxBlue the benefit of assuming the initial interest confusion doctrine was viable. OxBlue still couldn’t clear that seemingly low bar. Then again, as I’ve indicated before, the initial interest confusion doctrine is effectively dead. It’s been years since the doctrine actually helped a plaintiff win a case; and to the extent other courts follow the 1-800 Contacts v. Lens.com ruling, we may never see another successful initial interest confusion-keyword advertising case again.

I’m going to give OxBlue the benefit of the doubt and assume it would not have initiated this trademark claim, but instead pursued the trademark counterclaim only as part of a “f’em” response to EarthCam’s initiation of combat. Even so, it was a waste of money.

Case citation: EarthCam, Inc. v. OxBlue Corp., 2014 WL 4702200 (N.D. Georgia Sept. 22, 2014).

Some of my Tertium Quid blog posts on keyword advertising legal issues:

* Want To Know Amazon’s Confidential Settlement Terms For A Keyword Advertising Lawsuit? Merry Christmas!

* Florida Allows Competitive Keyword Advertising By Lawyers

* More Evidence That Competitive Keyword Advertising Benefits Trademark Owners

* Suing Over Keyword Advertising Is A Bad Business Decision For Trademark Owners

* Florida Proposes to Ban Competitive Keyword Advertising by Lawyers

* More Confirmation That Google Has Won the AdWords Trademark Battles Worldwide

* Google’s Search Suggestions Don’t Violate Wisconsin Publicity Rights Law

* Amazon’s Merchandising of Its Search Results Doesn’t Violate Trademark Law

* Buying Keyword Ads on People’s Names Doesn’t Violate Their Publicity Rights

* With Its Australian Court Victory, Google Moves Closer to Legitimizing Keyword Advertising Globally

* Yet Another Ruling That Competitive Keyword Ad Lawsuits Are Stupid–Louisiana Pacific v. James Hardie

* Another Google AdWords Advertiser Defeats Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

* With Rosetta Stone Settlement, Google Gets Closer to Legitimizing Billions of AdWords Revenue

* Google Defeats Trademark Challenge to Its AdWords Service

* Newly Released Consumer Survey Indicates that Legal Concerns About Competitive Keyword Advertising Are Overblown

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September 29th 2014 Marketing

Marketing Software Company Radius Secures $55M in Funding

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Marketing software company Radius announced a new round of funding worth $54.7 million. The company, started by former Facebook engineer Darian Shirazi, takes a "big data" approach to marketing, and uses data science to hone targeted messages for the right consumer groups.

"We believe that the current data and analytics that sits between business transactions is inaccurate, underdeveloped and in need of disruption," Shirazi said in a blog post.

The San Francisco company uses public, government and partner sources to track more than 50 billion data points on 20 million businesses. This information goes into the Radius Index, which helps clients refine their strategies, including scaling a campaign to a national platform, increasing sales, or seeing which customer segments are the most profitable. Radius specifically focuses on b-to-b marketers, and its clients include Adobe Systems, American Express, PayPal, Capital One and Gannett. 

The new round of funding will increase Radius's 50-person team and expand on its mission to improve data science in marketing. The funding comes from a wide range of groups and individuals, including Founders Fund, Glynn Capital Management, Formation 8, Yuan Capital, former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, ex-Microsoft head of corporate strategy Charles Songhurst, actor and entrepreneur Jared Leto, BlueRun Ventures, Dave Morin, Kevin Colleran, and Western Technology Investments.






September 24th 2014 Marketing, Technology

A Story about the End of Storytelling: The Short Story

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Depositphotos_25178623_s

It’s been a big month of storytelling about the end of storytelling. I previously shared my presentation about the end of storytelling (complete with dozens of illustrations), and a related version then ran in Ad Age. The Ad Age story’s a bit different, with a focus on how Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign with the cans with names on them exemplifies what marketing should be like in the post-storytelling era.

Let me know what you think. I will probably have some new stories to share that don’t keep beating this drum, but there should be more chapters to come.

The Beginning of the End of Storytelling

Once upon a time, an industry became obsessed with storytelling. Everywhere these industry people went, they said storytelling was the most important thing they all had to do. Then a mean dragon of a columnist said storytelling was evil, and the industry people slew him so they could go back to enjoying their jobs. The end.

Or consider a different version of this story.

Once upon a time, an industry became obsessed with storytelling. But it gradually came around to the idea that no one listening to those stories could remember anything about them, so the industry people found a more meaningful way to connect with their audiences. And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

These stories are mutually exclusive. One will be fiction and the other nonfiction. In this unofficial edition of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, which path do you want to take? That path can have profound consequences for all of our jobs.

How many conferences have you been to about storytelling? How many articles have you read on how marketers can tell better stories? Given the obsession we have with storytelling, it seems like few people appreciate the dark side of it. I didn’t appreciate the drawbacks myself until a conversation with my wife shifted my worldview. Here’s the story of what happened.

One day, my wife and I were venting about a few insufferable people we know. They didn’t seem to take an interest in us or anyone but themselves. Exasperated, my wife lamented, “All they do is tell stories!”

It was one of those lines I’ll never forget. Given that our industry is all about storytelling, I’m used to storytellers being the heroes. Yet here she was revealing the negative aspect of the craft. Stories are often used as crutches that cast light on some trait or moment, rather than opening up a path to understand people more deeply. It’s the story that gets in the way of the relationship. Tell the story with its beginning, middle and end, and your work is done.

To make matters worse, do you think people really get brands’ stories? Think of a brand you love: Apple, Tide, Gucci, Hyundai, or any brand that you identify with. Do you know what its story is? I just paid way too much money to get the new iPhone, but I can’t tell you Apple’s story.

 

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I asked my wife about this, too. Cara loves Diet Coke, so I asked her, “What’s Coke’s story?” The next thing I knew, I was living in a real-world version of the “carousel” moment from “Mad Men.” She started telling me about when Coke came out with cans with red tabs, and all her friends used to collect them. And then she told me about the games she played with her friends in sleepaway camp, where they’d break off tabs from Coke cans as a way to reveal which boys they liked. Thanks to this brand, I was learning more about the person in my life I have been the closest to for nearly a decade.

Interestingly, Coca-Cola is currently running one of the most radical campaigns that pushes back against storytelling and addresses the future of marketing. The “Share a Coke” campaign with names and relationship descriptors on cans and bottle labels empowers people to create their own stories. I see these moments happen all the time with colleagues and friends, where the brand is the catalyst for the stories they are making about themselves.

One small but striking moment I witnessed was when my teammate Kate wound up with a bottle labeled “Adam,” and she saved the bottle for my colleague Adam, who was all too happy to have it. Before the campaign, they wouldn’t have even valued the empty bottle for the recycling refund. Instead, what would have been a piece of trash wound up strengthening their relationship in some small way. And that story of Kate saving the empty bottle for Adam is a story all three of us remember. Perhaps you will remember it, too.

The future of storytelling isn’t about telling anyone anything. It’s about storymaking, where the brand facilitates and taps into the stories people are creating and sharing with each other. Storytelling is the epitome of the old one-way, broadcast mindset that so many of us in marketing are trying to leave behind. Storymaking, by contrast, is far more fulfilling, and exactly what will matter to the people all of our brands are trying to reach.

 

September 23rd 2014 Marketing

A Story about the End of Storytelling: The Full Story

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At HubSpot’s Inbound 2014 conference this week, I had the honor of giving one of their Bold Talks, which meant 12 minutes to talk about anything I wanted, as long as it wasn’t a typical presentation about my day job.

I used the time to pick apart a word I find so overused: “storytelling.” You can see the presentation below in its entirety (complete with dozens of illustrations), and I’ll share more soon. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

 

September 20th 2014 Marketing

#EatAdWaffle Illustrated

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Slang, jargon, waffle – whatever you want to call it, colloquial language is rife throughout the advertising industry. While its use can be very effective at communicating meaning amongst like-minded people, the terms used by advertisers are occasionally so obscure they even confound their peers in the business!

To help address this situation, we launched the #EatAdWaffle campaign, an effort to crowd source all of the good, bad and crazy words and phrases to infiltrate the advertising lexicon. We asked the social community to post suggestions – a request that generated in excess of 200 entries – before selecting the ten we believe best represent the jargon experienced across the industry every day.

Part of the campaign saw these ten examples converted into graphics in an attempt to simplify and make sense of ‘ad waffle’ that I want to share with you today:

#EatAdWaffle: But is it hashtagable?

#EatAdWaffle: Can you have a think about the art of the possible?

#EatAdWaffle: We need to start from the ground up on this one

#EatAdWaffle: Shareable, snackable, sticky content

 

#EatAdWaffle: Aim for a media first

#EatAdWaffle: Gamification

#EatAdWaffle: We need to make it more mocial!

#EatAdWaffle: Hopefully we find a cookie-cutter solution in our post campaign deep dive

#EatAdWaffle: Guarendeavour to deliver that

Drop by again next week for an update on all the key insights to come out of the #EatAdWaffle breakfast events held earlier this month.

Leena 

Leena Shah,
Communications Marketing Manager, Microsoft

September 19th 2014 Marketing, News, Social Media

A Glimpse Into Marketers’ Social Media Strategies

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Almost every company puts much money and effort behind social media strategy, with goals ranging from enhanced brand awareness to direct leads or sales. But while 97 percent of those surveyed said they use some form of social media marketing, only 37 percent reported being able to measure ROI—and this problem extends to even the largest marketers, 78 percent of whom said they struggle with this measurement.

Infographic: Carlos Monteiro






6 of the Top 10 Brand Posts on Facebook Are About Sports

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While Facebook’s controversial algorithm changes late last year have given marketers migraines, a few heavy hitters have powered through and scored huge numbers.

Social vendor Shareablee reeled in stats for the top 10 branded Facebook posts in terms of total actions—the combined number of likes, comments and shares—so far for 2014. Sports-driven efforts make up more than half the list, with four of those revolving around one mega event: the FIFA World Cup.

The Super Bowl also ranked high, thanks to Anheuser-Busch’s endearing “Puppy Love” Clydesdale spot. But more than anything, the chart reveals that Facebook has become a TV-events-driven marketing vehicle to rival Twitter.






September 16th 2014 Facebook, Marketing, Social Media, Technology, video

Anonymous Apps Like Whisper and Secret Have a Dark Side

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An increasingly popular category of social media presents an enticing but potentially risky proposition for brands eager to reach teens and young adults. Services such as Ask.fm, Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak let individuals communicate anonymously, boasting millions of highly engaged users, many in the 18-24 sweet spot for brands.

Marketers are putting their campaigns on these “anonymous apps” but proceeding with caution given the potential downside of appearing on platforms associated with cyberbullying, abusive content, teen suicide and, in the case of Ask.fm, reported recruitment by radical jihadist group ISIS. “As an advertiser, you always think about that kind of thing,” says Megan Wahtera, svp of interactive marketing at Paramount Pictures. Last month, the studio launched its first ad campaign in an anonymous app, tapping Whisper to help promote Men, Women and Children.

“The safety of our community is always a concern for us,” says Tom Fishman, vp of content marketing and social media at MTV, which has used Whisper to hype its quirky Virgin Territory.

Fishman notes that MTV has a long-running effort against abuse via digital media—dubbed AThinLine.org—so the network is sensitive to the issues swirling around anonymous apps. “Sadly, bullying seems to be an endemic social media dynamic regardless of the level of identity or anonymity,” he says. “It’s up to community managers and the platforms themselves to create safe spaces for conversation and engagement.”

But critics of anonymous apps say that’s exactly where they have failed to step up their game. They contend that such venues have been slow to address safety issues and believe that the category continues to pose a disproportionately high threat for bullying and malicious communications.

While each of the services is different in design and functionality, the most popular share similarities that give critics cause for concern. The apps largely serve as digital confessionals, encouraging users to share information they’d likely keep private if their identities were known. Users can share secrets on Secret, trade whispers on Whisper, yak it up on Yik Yak, or ask and answer questions on Ask.fm. Regardless of the format, they’re having conversations with other users, and the range of topics is broad. Trivial exchanges about clothes, cars, food, friends and entertainment abound. Discussions about sex and drugs are also fairly common. But troubling observers is the fact that abusive language and bullying behavior, while relatively rare, are persistent problems.

“My ethical compass is very uncomfortable with the anonymity,” says family therapist Karren Garrity, author of the book The Tool Box: Tricks of the Trade for Raising Teenagers. “While the intent may have been to create a place for personal expression, the way it is often being used is extremely harmful.” Garrity believes such apps “can be more problematic than the traditional, nondigital forms of harassing and taunting others. Once bullying becomes digital, it follows you everywhere—there is no sense of safety or protection.”

The Secret’s Out
Critics maintain that anonymity is a double-edged sword. While it lets the public frankly discuss issues they might not otherwise in an open forum, cloaking one’s identity leads some to believe they can tease and troll others at will.

This is especially true among kids, teens and adults in their early 20s—groups not known for their restraint and self-control. (The penetration of these apps is high among young people. Nine percent of Internet users ages 10-18 in the U.S. use Ask.fm on a daily basis, while about 5 percent utilize Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak every day, according to research data from McAfee.)

“They may be feeling power for the first time,” says anti-bullying activist Mike Dreiblatt, co-author of the book How to Stop Bullying and Social Aggression. “For some young people, that can be intoxicating. They don’t know when to stop. Cyberbulling and anonymous apps go hand in hand.”

As we all know, the ramifications can be devastating. The advocacy site NoBullying.com has linked seven teen suicides to bullying endured on Ask.fm. One highly publicized case involved 14-year-old English schoolgirl Hannah Smith, who hanged herself in August 2013. Her father blamed abusive posts on Ask.fm for driving his daughter over the edge. British Prime Minister David Cameron publicly lambasted the company, advising it to “clean up its act.” In an odd twist, a police official said at an inquest that Smith probably trolled herself, but the episode cast anonymous apps in a very bad light. The story resurfaced with a vengeance last month when Barry Diller’s IAC surprised industry watchers by acquiring Ask.fm. IAC now operates the service under the aegis of its Ask.com property.

The Ask.fm purchase came two months after a Daily Mail story alleged that a British ISIS fighter was using Ask.fm to promote recruitment. The paper reported: “A man calling himself Abu Abdullah Al Brittani gave detailed information on how Iraq-bound Westerners can exchange currencies to an Ask.fm user who described himself as ‘underage,’ said he had never traveled alone before, and expressed concern about his mother and father finding out.”

Ask.fm management told the Mail at the time that such usage violated its terms of service and that it would cooperate with law enforcement on the case.

MTV used Whisper to promote Virgin Territory. A network
exec calls the app 'a unique space' for personal conversation.

But the episode proved to be yet another strike against Ask.fm in particular, and further sullied the anonymous apps category in general. Ask.com CEO Doug Leeds, who oversees Ask.fm for IAC, insists that he will do whatever it takes to make the service as safe as possible. He concedes that the acquisition carries risks, but says adding Ask.fm gives the company “a meaningful foothold in both mobile and social.” Ask.fm tallied almost 105 million mobile uniques in August; 45 percent of its active monthly users on mobile log in every day.

Along with the Ask.fm acquisition, a flurry of coverage about Secret last month put the anonymous app debate back on the front burner. Secret co-founder and CEO David Byttow was taken to task by news site PandoDaily for what its editors perceived as an uncaring attitude toward cyberbullying. Secret was also scrutinized by Fortune and Wired, while a Brazilian court ordered Apple and Google to remove Secret from their app stores in the country, where the product had been enjoying phenomenal growth.

Secret quickly implemented changes. Now, if the system detects suspicious keywords or images, the app gives users a chance to “re-think” posting that material. Its software also blocks posts that contain specific names. Byttow declined Adweek’s requests for comment, but in response to Pando, he said: “Suicide prevention is something we take very seriously,” adding, “We provide resources for users to either contact help via phone or online.”

Also last month, Whisper relaunched Your Voice, its nonprofit digital platform which will now serve as a means for users to share stories about their struggles with depression and other mental illnesses and, Whisper hopes, support each other with advice and information. The app’s founders have invested$1 million to support that mission.

Broader App-eal?
Despite their risky rep, these apps present opportunities that are simply too irresistible to marketers. “It’s a way to access the millennial audience, and that’s a very difficult audience to reach,” says Eric Yellin, svp, content and distribution at Whisper, which, he says, boasts 6 billion monthly pageviews, with “a vast majority” of its audience ages 18-24. (Yellin says Whisper employs 130 content moderators and does not hesitate to delete posts or ban users if things get out of hand.)

Thus far, ads in the space are in the experimental stage. Yik Yak runs no ads at all. Gap ran a test on Secret in February. Ask.fm hosts banners, placed programmatically, from Allstate and Converse, among others.


Paramount’s Wahtera believes Whisper, meanwhile, was the perfect vehicle for promoting Men, Women and Children, which deals with the complexity of personal relationships and emotional isolation in the digital age. Adds MTV’s Fishman, “The target audience for us is young millennials, which Whisper attracts in droves. Whisper offers a unique space to engage in a conversation that’s very personal. People have outright thanked MTV on Whisper for airing a show so relatable to their experiences.”

Many expect anonymous apps to gain popularity as ad vehicles. Despite their flaws, they argue, the apps provide a needed outlet for honest conversation, especially in an era of more surveillance and political correctness. “There’s a sense of liberation and freedom that comes from expressing yourself openly and honestly, without judgment,” says Brad Kay, president of marketing agency SS+K. “As more people discover this, they’ll contribute more and more often to these platforms.”

David Chao, co-founder of VC firm DCM, chalks up the current controversy over the apps to growing pains, predicting “a handful of winners” will come to dominate the market. (Yik Yak, which launched late last year, has received an additional $10 million in funding in a DCM-led Series-A round.)

“These apps are demonized because they’re new,” adds Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that supports digital rights. “There’s a tendency to blame the technology or the modality.” Working through issues like bullying and abuse, he says, “are part of the free-speech bargain. Those costs are something that we deal with. No right-thinking person says free speech has no cost.” 






September 16th 2014 Marketing, Mobile, Technology

Tumblr’s Top Draw as a Marketing Platform Is Its Wealthier User Base

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Sure Tumblr has an artsy, hipster appeal, but its users are far from starving. In fact, and perhaps surprisingly, it caters to the wealthiest social media set of any of its rivals, according to recent data.

If Facebook is the blue-collar everyman network, Tumblr is more of a luxury destination. Niche yes, but lucrative for retailers. The high-end crowd is one of its top draws as a marketing platform.

The median household income of Tumblr’s users is $80,075, ahead of Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook ($79,562, $78,967 and $70,124, respectively), according to data provided by Tumblr. (Meanwhile, LinkedIn claims its users achieve an average household yearly income of $83,000.)

The relative wealth of Tumblr users has translated into dollars for retailers who attract traffic from the site. An Adobe report said that a retail referral from a Tumblr link is more valuable than a referral from Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

“Tumblr is small but mighty and offers retailers a visually stimulating environment,” said Tamara Gaffney, Adobe Digital Index’s principal analyst. “The fact that it produces the highest revenue per visit from mobile devices is likely due to its user base, which is skewed to young, trendy and well-educated urbanites with a greater affinity for online purchases and the disposable income to spend more.” 

The average revenue per visit generated by a Tumblr referral to a retail site is $2.57 on tablets and 67 cents on smartphones, according to the latest Adobe Mobile Benchmark report.

The next valuable mobile social media referral comes from Facebook, where a visit is worth $1.55 on tablets and 42 cents on smartphones. Twitter is No. 3 and Pinterest is No. 4, per Adobe.

Tumblr’s impact on sales is one of its selling points to marketers, as is its high-end user base, which is relatively small when compared to the 1.3 billion on Facebook and 271 million on Twitter. Tumblr has about 14 million registered users in the U.S., reports eMarketer, which represents only a fraction of traffic to its site because not all visitors are logged in.

A brand report compiled by Tumblr in August shed some light on how its users make purchasing decisions from their dashboards, which are the hubs that display all their Tumblr content.

More than half of Tumblr users purchased something found on their dashboards, the report said, and 90 percent “have been inspired to buy something.”

They also tend to come back.

“Not only do our users have the greatest spending power, but they also spend the most time on our platform,” said Lee Brown, Tumblr’s global head of brand partnerships. “They are both engaged and active, taking that next crucial step to buy what they discover on Tumblr (and then post about it).

“The customer journey begins on Tumblr with prepurchase aspiration and ends on Tumblr for postpurchase celebration, making Tumblr the ultimate destination for shopping,” Brown said.






September 15th 2014 adobe, Facebook, Marketing, Social Media, Technology

3 Trends That Make the Apple Watch Important for Marketers

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In June 2007, Apple changed its name from Apple Computers to Apple, a small change in wording that signified a vast shift in focus.

Distancing itself from the world of computing and productivity, Apple became a consumer-focused electronics company in entertainment, music and fun. With the launch of Apple Pay and the Apple Watch this week, we see another leap toward bridging the Internet and the real world—a very lucrative place to be.

We may think Apple’s game-changing quality comes from the products it makes, but the real profoundness comes from the new behaviors it enables and makes acceptable. Even the company's latest offerings—from phones to watches to payment services—are by any rational measure equal to the best of what’s out there. Apple, be it through its size, popularity, design or corporate power, dominates by changing how we all behave.

While not the first to imagine, design or create touchscreen technology, it was Apple alone that created a new behavior, leading to a generation of kids to gasp in horror if they can’t swipe, pinch and zoom on a TV or microwave screen.

Interestingly, Apple is very late to near-field communication, but it could unleash a new era in tapping where we expect the real world and the Internet to connect in a tactile way in key moments around us.

Now, marketing people may think that Apple Watches are a wonderful new playground for digital agencies and for app developers and mobile advertising agencies to get stuck in. They may expect a new breed of ultra mobile agencies to cram yet smaller ads onto the smaller screen, but that would be a big mistake for everyone. This affects all of us.

Marketing made huge mistakes around 2000 when we coined interactive agencies (later named digital) and kept creating new units as distinct verticals within our business. When social media followed, we did the same and replicated the approach again with mobile and content. It’s now likely that a small client may have 11 vertical agencies, from PR to content, advertising, digital, social, CRM, media and more.

What we should have done is consider new technology and new behaviors as horizontals that sweep across marketing, as digital becomes the oxygen that breathes life into ideas in all marketing channels. Social and content become a tool that can aid PR, CRM and advertising, while mobile also becomes a key horizontal to work across all channels.

The announcement of Apple Pay, the iPhone 6 with NFC, the Apple Watch and the soon-to-launch iOS8 holds meaning for everyone in the industry because it affects all marketing channels. It brings about new platforms, NFC—a new(ish) way for brands, retailers and people to connect and witness entirely new behaviors.

Consumer behavior is the bedrock of marketing, so it’s essential that we all understand what will be changing and how to explore it.

Here are three trends to consider:

A smaller focus: In the past 200 years, we’ve shifted from massive displays to ever-smaller devices, from movie screens to TVs to computers, smartphones and smart watches. Our vision narrowed down to a hyper-focused viewpoint, and from a “lean back" environment to a “lean forward,” and finally, to the “look down." We’re rapidly going in a direction where ads become more and more unwanted, so we need to move away from the interruption and engagement approach to adding value. How can brands add value in this new world?

Predictive approach to advertising: Increasingly, devices are recording more and more personal information, from our heartbeat to our locations, movements and intentions. Devices can now make more accurate predictions than ever about our known and unknown needs. How can brands find ways to use that information in order to provide value and service to consumers?

Gateway between the digital and real world: The smartphone and Apple Watch aren't about making calls or telling the time, but about connecting the real world with the Internet and all of our personal information that exists in the digital realm. Our focus now needs to be on how brands can explore this interface. How do we become more useful in this layer? Do we allow our rental cars to be picked up with a tap, do we apply a useful layer to payment data, and what do we do with coupons and ticketing?

We may not all care much about technology, but every marketer should be obsessing about what these new behaviors mean, what threats they create and what opportunities they open.

Tom Goodwin (@tomfgoodwin) is the CEO and founder of the Tomorrow Group






September 13th 2014 apple, Marketing, Technology