What a difference a decade makes.
Two years before the launch of Apple's iPhone, my book BRANDING UNBOUND ventured forward to explore the future of advertising, sales and the brand experience in the mobile age.
Excerpted in ADWEEK, the book generated a lot of attention for envisioning a world of games, music, video, shopping and more via the device in the hands of virtually every man, woman and child.
Looking back now, it's fun to see what I got right—and where I went laughably wrong.
SHOPPING FOR INSIGHTS FROM THE MOBILE FRONTIER
I recently found myself chuckling about how I predicted Apple would indeed create a mobile phone, and by 2010 potentially go onto become a MVNO - a mobile virtual network operator - piggybacking on say, AT&T's network to offer its own branded Apple mobile service.
Hey, playing marketing futurist isn't a certain proposition.
But long before you could name the topic and rest assured that "yes, there's an app for that," I wrote about the potential for m-wallets that enable you to purchase goods in physical world stores and have it charged to a prepaid account, a credit card, or as a debit on your phone bill. And I talked about how one day, we would walk into stores, scan product tags to place a purchase, and then simply walk out the door without ever digging for cash, swiping a card, writing a check—or ever again standing in line.
To be fair, a lot of this was already in its early stages in other countries and only seemed impossible (or improbable) in the US because of a lack of standards and interoperable mobile networks. But that day did indeed come, even if some of these capabilities are still in their early stages.
Looking ahead, I also write about how by 2015, services deployed over mobile networks will wake you up in the morning; deliver email; enable you to schedule and reschedule your day based on real-time traffic patterns, travel plans, unexpected meetings, and more. You'll buy plane tickets on the go. You'll call up news, entertainment, and shopping content—anywhere, anytime. And everyday consumers will gravitate toward solutions "that make their lives easier and help them do the things they already do easier and faster, whether it's staying in touch with friends, capturing life's moments, listening to music, or playing games."
For marketers, this would mean location-enabled, or place-based, personalized advertising that calls up "relevant offers based on personal buying behavior"—in-store or on the go.
To be sure, much of what I write about has yet to be realized—like product innovations such as RFID-like tags on frozen foods that tell the microwave oven how to cook them to perfection, or coffee machines that serve up the perfect brew based on instructions from tags placed on the bean packaging. But it is amazing to look back now at how so much of what seemed fantastic at the time has become part of our everyday lives.
That last part about product innovation is more about the Internet of Things, which I write about extensively in the book. We'll save that topic for a later installment in this series.
In the meantime, you might enjoy reading about what I got right and wrong on wearable technology (let's just say I was bullish on what Google Glass would one day seek to accomplish) and mobile advertising (I predicted the current state of mobile advertising, but thought it would progress to its next, far more powerful stage by now).
One thing is for sure: Here in the last few months of 2015, innovative retailers and pure-play digital competitors are using the mobile channel to actively reshape what it means to shop in the twenty-first century.
Which means if you're not already into mobile-enabled retailing, don't worry.
It's already on its way to you.
PART 1: A BOOM WITH A VIEW: WEARABLES
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