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  • Writer's pictureAlex Johns


Updated: May 1, 2018

This year is the year of increased digital innovation & disruption .... here are a few things I think we will see more of...

1. Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

This has been a hot topic for agencies and brands for years but I sense this could become real business tool this year and less of a marketing / experiential fad. Here's a nice business which is being used extensively in the States but hasn't yet made it across the pond:

Aisle 411 & Project Tango:

Aisle 411 has been testing an AR app with Google's Project Tango in the Walgreens chain. It will be interesting to see how fast this gets to the UK but my bet will be soon. As always technology innovative happens faster than the consumers ability to use it and so this one will all be about awareness and marketing to get consumers understanding levels of how to use it up. I think its needed as the Supermarket shopping experience in the UK needs shaking up!

Walgreens say their mobile app has been deployed in 8,000 stores and that customer revenues go up between 5-10% when they use it.

2. Mobile Engagement in Sports events

This has been a passion of mine since I did the Doctor Who Experience back in 2011! I guess we were ahead of the curve... I'm sorry but watching live sport in the UK just isn't as good as overseas and this needs to change in the UK.

Levis Stadium

Back in 2014, yes 4 years ago, The Levis Stadium installed an app solution called Venue Next as well as ubiquitous WiFi into its stadium. Fans could order drinks from their seats, play games, download content and generally engage with the sport better. Guess what 30% of their fans engaged, data capture increased x12 which lead to the stadium capturing 203,000 data records from season ticket holders compared to 17,000 the year before and critically the overall solution accounted for $2m in increased revenues.

Sadly its all too common for UK stadiums to be a little out of date when it comes to true mobile engagement, I've spoken to many of them over the years and they are hugely behind the 8 ball. This is mainly due to a lack of understanding the huge revenue opportunities available and an extremely dated wifi network almost always due to a severe lack of access points throughout the venue which means mobile engagement suffers when a stadium is at capacity. Levis stadium saw differently 4 years installing 1200 ap's which means even when the venue is at its 68,500 capacity, the solution doesn't suffer.

3. Data needs to inform action

I'm constantly amazed how data poor most of the businesses & marketeers I talk to seem to be. We are now in the third wave of digital disruption, first came the web, then came smart mobile devices and now its the time of AI, VR, Blockchain, IOT as discussed above which is when things will really take off & our customers will begin to do things radically differently. All the signs point to big disruption. There seemingly isn't a week that goes by without the latest new technology which will revolutionise our life's ... cryptocurrencies, chatbots are just two that are talked of daily.

Businesses need to adapt quickly to keep up but a lot seem confused and unable to work out how to use technology to drive their businesses forward. We've seen that those that don't and lack distinction fall by the wayside, we only need to look at Toys R Us and the gloomy story in the restaurant game to see that.

I'm a big believer in the power of data to inform change in a business but there is a big risk that data insight leads to procrastination and lack of action, Gartner predict that 9.2% of marketing budgets will be spent on marketing analytics in 2018 (thats against 8.8% on web or 8.6% on digital ads) which confirms that data analysis is on the up but I wonder how many brands actually can turn insight into action. I like to use data to understand and inform what to do next & then activate, too many marketeers are focused on insight but don't have a plan to use the data profitably.

My guess is that 2018 will be an interesting year ... and companies that use data insights to make changes to their businesses will reap the long term rewards and those that don't will fall by the wayside.

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