Simon Ward explains how a day can make a big difference to marketers – especially when it’s dedicated to innovation.
I’ve always been immersed in technology. As CEO of SP Group’s digital arm, I was at the cutting edge of what was on the face of it a very traditional industry – printing.
At ITG, our core offering is based around automation technology, and we’ve just taken our first steps into the big data arena, with our recent addition of ITG Creator.
But even people who run technology companies can struggle to keep up with every development – the time investment can be daunting, especially as not every invention will make it off the drawing board.
Pace of change in technology
It took decades for telephones to reach 50% of the population. It took five years for mobiles to achieve the same penetration. Innovation is not only getting faster, so is its adoption.
Companies with a competitive technology edge are better placed to attract customers than those who are baffled by technology. But there are so many areas of innovation out there, how is a marketer to find the time to keep up with them all?
We decided to help.
Over the past week, our offices have been teaming with clients. This was an innovation for us – generally we only entertain one or two clients at a time. However, over 140 clients, most of them marketers, visited our offices together, but it wasn’t just to see us. We’d invited some guests.
An appetite for innovation
Augmented reality, 3D printing, virtual reality, 360 degree cameras, interactive video, HyperSound technology – there are a huge number of technologies designed to improve retail customer engagement. We sought out the best, and invited their keepers to demo them for our clients.
Marketers from Heineken, Puma, Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury’s and numerous other retailers and brands moved from area to area, scrutinising innovation after innovation, interrogating the technology, and putting faces to buzzwords.
It’s not the most obvious tactic for a technology company, to showcase other people’s products alongside your own. But building a partnership with your clients is about more than simply selling your wares – it involves providing added value, just as they aim to give added value to their customers.
It was an exceptionally successful day, eliciting numerous positive comments. But perhaps the most satisfying were from those who said, “I knew about this technology, but until I saw the demo I didn’t realise it was for us.”
This shows that even marketers who keep up with technological innovations rarely have the time to delve deeply enough to see all the angles. Even when you attend technology exhibitions, you often spend a lot longer tracking down items of interest than you do experiencing the innovations.
A single day spent looking at a dozen specially selected technologies, with the ability to question experts in a relaxed and engaging environment, can give you a significant catch-up.
It’s certainly something we’ll be doing again.
Until next time
About Simon Ward
Simon Ward ITG – Simon is the founder and CEO of pioneering technology-led marketing company, Inspired Thinking Group (ITG). ITG delivers best-in-class marketing software, procurement and studio services to dozens of blue-chip clients, including Audi, M&S, KFC, PUMA and Heineken.
Simon Ward SP Group – Prior to ITG, Simon founded SP Digital in 1998, and in 1999 bought SP Print to form SP Group, creating innovative marketing and point of sale displays for some of the world’s best-known retailers, including M&S, Sainsbury’s, Holland & Barrett and Calvin Klein.