Cameron Curtis, commercial director of Tapit started day two of the Digital Asia Festival with a series of marketing ideas and case studies built around near field communications (NFC).
“Although QR codes are still used about 80 per cent of the time in Australia, we've found that when a consumer is presented with a choice between QR codes and NFC, they will opt for the latter—because it's effortless,” said Curtis.
One of the more interesting applications of NFC shared by Curtis was the ease with which the technology lends itself to gamification. During a music festival in Australia, Virgin Mobile and Tapit issued NFC wristbands to Virgin Mobile customers who had registered on Facebook. The wristbands could be used on booths set up around the music festival area and every time a customer checked in, they stood a chance of winning a prize. In addition, their Facebook pages would be automatically updated.
In another example, at an HTC launch event for journalists, Tapit used NFC to keep the reporters interested in the conference. “Whenever they stopped to listen to an informative session, they'd earn points, which would show up on the leaderboard,” explained Curtis. “This proved so effective, they had to eventually round up the competitive journalists and get them to listen to the bands in the next room!”
Brands and marketers must embrace this type of experimentation and testing of technology in real-time if they want to lead the market, said James Welch, regional director for Asia-Pacific at Media Innovation Group, and Paul Gage, regional strategy and innovations director for Asia-Pacific at iris Worldwide, during their joint session.
“Three big winners from Spikes were iterative and changed in real time,” pointed out Gage. “The Kiwi Sceptics campaign responded to audience engagement. Honda Internavi used the data on its cars to map traffic routes in real time following the earthquakes in Japan, And Sony TV allowed viewers to interact with props on a virtual stage, making things happen.”
The key, said Welch, is not just measuring data for the sake of measuring data. It's finding ways to make that data relevant and directly applicable.
This willingness to be daring and experimental, while using data to understand what consumers want, is also key in engaging the Chinese consumer, said JWT Shanghai's managing director, Eric Lee.
“If you offer an iPad, you will gain a lot of followers, but are they really your friends?” he asked. “To really build advocacy you must learn what motivates your consumer, what defines them, their friends and their world.”
Utility and fun are a potent combination, he continued. One of JWT's more popular executions for Starbucks was an alarm-clock app. “If you're in the shop within an hour after the alarm goes off, you get 50 per cent off breakfast—500,000 alarms were set off during a three-week period.”
It's executions like this, which make the brand part of the story but not the star of it, that work best with Chinese consumers, said Lau Seng Yee, senior executive vice-president of Tencent and president of Tencent Online Media Group.
“We've found the hard sell doesn't work,” said Lau.
An example of a campaign that got China talking, he said, was Intel's 'A world without strangers', where 10 participants had to make it home, across China, depending on strangers for food, shelter, transport and support. The campaign, which ran across Tencent Weibo, drew 27,000 offers to support the travellers and generated more than 10 million comments and retweets.
With the accelerated pace of digital marketing development in China, Lau argued that very soon, China would not merely catch up with the rest of the world, but outstrip it.