Maani Safa, somo
Sep 25, 2015

How do you reach a superhero?

Modern technology has made the magic of comic books real. The gadgets in our pockets have brought the wonders of the future to everyday life -- and it has changed everything ...

Maani Safa
Maani Safa

Mobile and the Internet of Things has given all of us superpowers that were the plots of sci-fi dreams just 15 years ago. Is it possible for marketing to stay relevant to this new, powerful audience?

The evolution has been gradual. As you go about your day, you probably don’t even notice it. But you are living the life of a superhero.

We have digital assistants in our pockets. We see in the dark, have intelligent conversations with computers, buy things using nothing but a touch of the finger, and our homes and cars react to our wants and needs without ever pressing a button. This is the new normal and it’s no small feat of magic that we have arrived here.

The Internet of Things has brought our world to life. The emergence of mobile devices and other technology in today’s connected world has allowed mere humans to interact with their environment in previously unbelievable ways.

With all this automation, has the role of marketing communication become irrelevant?

Will brands find a way to meaningfully participate in the conversation, or are they at the mercy of consumers?

Fact or fiction?

Surely, some readers will stop reading, thinking that the Internet of Things is overhyped and simply this moment’s buzzword. Maybe you’ve heard not-so-useful examples, like your toaster talking to your fridge.

However, your fridge will sense when you are out of milk and reorder seamlessly — far more useful. These technologies are here, today, and they aren’t going anywhere.

Now is the time to act. If you wait to create an IoT strategy, your competition will establish the automated relationships and loyalty of which marketers in the past only dreamed.

Consumers have the power

Take retailers. The retail industry has traditionally relied on the in-store experience during the consideration phase.

They have raced to keep up as attention shifted online and then to mobile but are they ready to deliver a realistic shopping experience through a virtual reality headset? Facebook’s Oculus Rift will be available for consumers from January, making this a very real necessity – and not in some distant future.

Product manufacturers, from clothing to appliances, now have a unique opportunity to bake in added value through technology, giving them a competitive advantage. Fitness brands have looked beyond wearable devices such as wristbands to develop smart clothing.

The Ralph Lauren Polo Tech Shirt weaves biosensing silver fibers into the shirt, tracking the amount of calories burned and the intensity of the movements in your workout. Appliances are another obvious place where the Internet of Things adds value.

Other traditional businesses, in industries ranging from transportation to banks and hotels, have learned the hard way that innovate or die is the reality of today’s connected age.

Disruptive new business models such as Uber, Transferwise and AirBnB offer services that are much more appropriate for this new demographic of "superhero" consumers.

Not only are they more affordable but they are on demand and easily accessible from mobile devices, where nearly half of millennials spend more than four hours every day.

Marketers in all businesses need to embrace the Internet of Things. It is here to stay and it is guaranteed to impact them in the near term.

It’s time to treat us like the superheroes we are.

Learn more at

Maani Safa is vice president, creative and innovation, with somo.

All Advertising Week XII coverage from CampaignRead all Advertising Week XII coverage from Campaign's team in New York.


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