The Internet of Things (IOT), which we cover in one of our What’s Next? boxes (see Chapter 8) offers some promising consumer benefits. IOT connects devices (your sprinkler system, coffee pot, thermostat, and more) to the Internet. From there, the devices get smart — so for example, your sprinkler system sees there is a 90% chance of rain today and so it doesn’t water the lawn for the next three days. Yet there are tradeoffs as consumers lose privacy. This short (less than 3 minute) Bloomberg video can be assigned to students or shown in class to stimulate discussion. It might work well with Chapter 8 as you discuss Product or in Chapters 7 or 19 where we dig more deeply into privacy.
Marketing has always relied on creativity. Creativity in promotion design, product definition, copy, and more. Today, more and more we’re seeing opportunity for technology advancements to augment marketing strategy. The 16th (soon to be published) edition of our book, Essentials of Marketing, focuses on the impact of artificial intelligence and technology on marketing. You don’t have to look far to see examples of that impact today. Big data has been talked about (and utilized successfully) for years but AI, virtual reality, and other advancements are finding their way into marketing as well.
This Fast Company article discusses how an ad agency created a technology-focused division and how that division is delivering some amazing results with high-profile companies including Nike, Samsung, and KFC.
The future of the automobile industry, while still blurry, is beginning to come into focus. Experts agree that self-driving cars are the future. But will we own one of these cars? Or will a self-driving Uber pick us up and take us where we want to go as needed? Planning for these potential futures are challenges facing all carmakers.
Chapter 3 briefly explores the influence of technology with the example of the driverless car. “The Ultimate Driving Machine Prepares for a Driverless World” (Fortune, March 1, 2016) digs deep into this future from the perspective of German carmaker BMW. The image on the right is a BMW Vision concept car.
Conduct a SWOT analysis on BMW as it looks at this future. Identify two strengths, two weaknesses, two opportunities, and two threats.
The driverless car is a reality. This video might be fun to drop into a lecture on the external market environment — to stimulate a discussion of technology. What markets will the driverless car influence? How will it change law enforcement? What about bars and restaurants — which may have more demand as people can stay out and drink without having to drive home? There are predictions that driverless cars will have many fewer accidents? What are the implications for the automobile insurance industry? What about demand in hospital emergency rooms?
These discussions will help students see the need to monitor technological changes that may not immediately appear to impact their business. The emergence of the driverless car (which now seems inevitable) will impact many different product-markets. There might also be a discussion of consumer behavior (some consumers may love this idea, it may be a challenge for others) or the product life cycle (how do you introduce this product to the market) or new product development (the role of prototypes).
The video shows Mercedes Benz’s driverless car prototype.
This Fast Company video shows how Rebecca Minkoff (designer of luxury handbags, accessories, footwear and apparel) uses technology at a prototype of one of her specialty retail stores. The video offers an example to show when you cover the future of retailing in class.
To foster active learning, you might ask students why retailers are investing in new technologies like these. You could also ask students to imagine other technology applications for retail stores. I find it helpful to have them work in pairs or small groups on these questions for 3-5 minutes before soliciting ideas from individuals. I often have them write out their ideas and hand them in for “credit” and to encourage staying on task.