CES 2018: Trends That Matter For Mobile Marketers

'We're seeing voice adoption this year and next at meaningful volume,' says Verve's Julie Bernard.

With Toyota set to integrate Alexa into its vehicles by the end of the year and Google doubling down on ARCore, advances in voice and augmented reality are no longer futuristic tech at this year’s CES — and they’re impacting both marketers and consumers in major ways.

But the show floor can be overwhelming — even when there isn’t a mass power outage. We caught up with Julie Bernard, CMO at Verve, for her take on how the top trends are set to actually impact marketers’ business in 2018.

GeoMarketing: In your mind, what are the most important trends coming out of CES this year? How might they actually impact Verve’s business in 2018?

Julie Bernard: We’re seeing the “normalization” of the AR and VR mobile hardware expectation. Headsets and forward-leaning reality devices are now a normal part of the fabric at CES.

This is not to say that we haven’t some road left to travel before headsets and augmented-reality experiences are commoditized and simply table stakes, but it is safe to say that the evolution of the hardware is happening right in front of our eyes. AR and VR are here to stay; this is not a Google Glasses environment for marketing innovators; it’s the absolute future.

For Verve, since mobile serves as the Command Center of so many of these enhanced consumer experiences, we are enthusiastic about the future implications for our business.

‘Cool tech’ abounds at CES. But what do marketers actually need to think about implementing now? 

Voice is almost certainly the first implementation that’s going to show up in the consumer hardware profile, and not two years from now; we’re seeing adoption this year and next at meaningful volume.

As that happens, voice assistants are going to initiate a whole slew of immediate opportunities; mobile marketing needs to focus first on how voice hardware in the home and other environments, such as automobiles and retail — it will really interact with smartphones and available location data. If you’re not digging into first iterations of those interactions right now, your organization is going to end up behind the curve when it comes to the code and functionality you need to achieve to compete in the voice space.

Toyota just announced that it will bring Alexa into its vehicles by the end of the year. Where are with voice adoption — and what do you think brands might need to know?

The promise of voice is a friendly personalized stream of suggestions, but voice also moves our work from the visual to the verbal space. And that’s a profound shift! Voice is going to empower marketers who truly “get” authentic, meaningful, mobile consumer experiences.

Anticipatory inspiration on a screen is one thing. Driving new ideas in a spoken/speak-able space — marketing that takes a conversationally active role in the consumer’s day-to-day — is a wholly different approach. We’re going to need marketers that understand how language works on the level we used to find mainly in the expert sales-associate ecosystem, because nuance and tone are going to take a new role in the advertising creative that voice marketers create.

Anything else that’s top of mind in 2018?

2018 is sure to be an exciting year for Verve as we are already experiencing the benefits of New Year brand budgets and high consumer confidence.  There is more interest than ever in our location advertising platform powered by Movement Science.

Whether it is display or video, delivered through managed service, programmatic or self-serve, the momentum as we enter the new year is exciting. In addition to seeing accelerated growth from traditional industry verticals such as retail, auto and QSR, we are expanding partnerships with agencies and advertisers in other arenas such as Professional Services, Home Services, Education and Healthcare.