Uber. Airbnb. Facebook. Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, you’ll know about the sharing economy and how it’s disrupting business models. The big names in tech no longer own the content, services or products that their multi-billion pound businesses revolve round. But how has mobile and this ‘digital layer’ transformed our role as marketers, and how can we prepare for increasing disruption over 2015 and beyond?
First things first. With this disruption comes a huge influx of big data. Consumers are sharing an unprecedented amount of personal data which is only growing with the emergence of wearables, the Internet of Things and location-based tech. Our challenge as marketers is to find more and more sophisticated ways to collect, interpret and analyse this data and then to use it to provide consumers with more personalised, seamless brand experiences.
Personalisation is not a new concept. As marketers, we have always strived to target the right person at the right time in a way that makes them feel valued. But mobile is revolutionising how we approach personalisation. Yes, we are more informed about our consumers than ever before and with the right tools, such as Localytics or Intercom, are able to target very specific demographics. But at the same time, we need to be careful about how we approach messaging. Mobile devices are a very personal space, so a solid, agile content strategy is essential.
Call me a cab
Beyond personalisation, the disruptive economy is changing customer experience by taking physical processes and enhancing them with a ‘digital layer’. For example, the physical act of hailing and paying for a cab has been disrupted and improved upon by Uber’s mobile platform. And as user experience changes, so does user expectation. Consumers expect seamless, integrated and innovative brand interactions; our job as marketers is to both prepare for and predict how consumer experiences and expectations will continue to evolve as this disruption spreads into different markets beyond taxis, accommodation and eCommerce.
This is a challenge that Ampersand Mobile is tackling head on with the launch of Splyt, a revolutionary rideshare platform that is set to disrupt not just the taxi sector but public transport as a whole. With Splyt, we’re looking to define a whole new market. Our challenge as technologists and marketers is to create and source the right tools to make this happen. To engage and connect a whole new audience who intersect the public and private transport domains.
Content and ownership models are particularly tricky within the context of disruptive businesses such as Splyt, Uber and Airbnb. “We don’t own a single minicab,” Philipp Mintchin, founder of Splyt, told me. “Instead our unique offering lies in our platform which disrupts the whole transport system by providing semi-private rides from point A to B for the price of public transport. Our whole business model is based around sharing – both the drivers and the rides. It is the first rideshare platform of its kind in London, and we are working closely with Ampersand Mobile to tackle the inevitable challenges of creating a new market.”
So how do marketers approach new services and sectors created by the disruptive economy? Stay engaged – both with changing customer expectations and evolving technologies – and invest time in testing new tools such as Intercom and Localytics, and be agile. It is hard to predict exactly where the disruptive economy will take us next. But one thing is for sure, our roles as marketers will continue to evolve throughout 2015 and beyond.
If you are interested in wearables, please visit IoT Tech Expo Europe in London’s Olympia this December, 2-3, 2015.