Every day we are bombarded with advertising and inundated with messages from competing advertisers. Turn on the television, listen to the radio, pick up a newspaper, surf the Internet, walk through a mall, shop for groceries, ride the train, read e-mail and text messages, drive past billboards … well you get the idea. It seems everywhere we look advertisers are screaming for our attention desperately trying to elicit a response. As consumers we can’t possibly take it all in so we evaluate what we see and hear, consciously or unconsciously gauge our level of interest, and either tune in or tune out.
But what if the medium conveying the message … billboards, digital signage, your television … could actually analyze YOU, your gender, your age, how long you stay focused, and instantaneously serve up messaging intended to specifically capture your interest? Imagine removing the clutter so that what you see and hear peaks your curiosity and leaves you wanting to hear more or, better yet, take action. Imagine actually watching the ads instead of using commercial time for bathroom breaks and snack runs? Sound unlikely? This is direct marketing and it is more important than ever.
Uber targeting like this already exists and is growing. A French company called Quividi currently utilizes technology where cameras embedded in billboards and digital signage can instantly estimate the viewer’s gender and age (with 85% accuracy) and deliver a customized, relevant message. Relevant messaging signals to the consumer that the advertiser “gets them” so this real-time pertinent communication can immediately start to connect the consumer to the advertiser in a very personal way.
The future of advertising will continue to be heavily based in technology. As more and more information is gathered, triggers to buying can become less speculative and more defined. Finding the right way to use this information will need to be a priority, however. The whole idea of a billboard being able to “know” who you are is a little scary. On the other hand, wouldn’t we all like to stop the bombardment of irrelevant messaging? I can honestly say I would live the next year of my life happily without seeing another ad for denture adhesive!