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Why Content Marketing and Brand Empathy Are Set to Change in Big Ways

February 18, 2020

By Keith Richey

Yuliya Chsherbakova/Getty Images

Last month, if you heard broadcast media talking about things like toilet-paper robots, location-wired smartwatches and home lamps that stealthily pull double duty as security cameras, you were listening to a news segment about America’s great techie Lollapalooza called The Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It seems like a purely business-to-consumer event, right? Not so — it’s actually also one of the business-to-business sector’s largest events, underscoring how the lines between B2C and B2B have increasingly blurred.

CES reigns as the biggest advertising event of the year for media buyers and sellers, and interactive-focused agencies and brand practitioners are there looking for best-in-class marketing software. The Las Vegas event halls — which covered 2.9 million square feet and attracted 175,000 onlookers — offer an incredible array of new devices, digital platforms and data sources for marketers to ponder. (Interesting fact: when it was founded in 1967, CES attracted just 17,500 attendees and 100 exhibitors.)

This year, there was much to process. So, let’s look at a couple of takeaways that B2B marketers need to know about from CES 2020.


Foldable Phones Are Costing Less and Will Bolster Content

Are foldable phones, which were buzzy last year but have been very expensive, on the verge of going mainstream? The beta TCL 10 5G will cost less than $500, a price point that drew major buzz during CES 2020 because that cash amount is about what people fork over for refurbished smartphones and is considerably less expensive than other 5G phones. In terms of the latter point, note that the Samsung Galaxy Fold costs $2,000 and the Motorola Razr demands a $1,500 price tag. Dual-screen phones like TCL’s and LG's late 2019 release, the G8X Thinq ($700), are affordable, which could bring down competitors’ prices and further overall adoption.

And Microsoft got folks' attention by introducing the Surface Duo (price to be determined), which has two 5.6-inch displays that fold out into an 8.3-inch overall screen. It uses a 360-degree hinge mechanism that lets it fold like many 2-in-1 laptops. It is designed to be more than just a great phone, and it looks similar to a miniature tablet that's meant to give customers a visually appealing, app-friendly experience.

The dual-screen phones will over time impact the B2B space as they become more popular. Mobile prospects on relevant platforms already use direct messaging, chat and other channels to communicate with sellers, which will, more than ever, want to up their visual marketing games with video content, white papers, infographics and demos to not only reel in potential buyers but maintain conversations. The ways in which marketers of all stripes use dual screens to better the customer experience will be fascinating.


Innovation Needs Empathy

Amazon, ExxonMobil and Fiserv are teaming up to let consumers use Alexa to make gas payments at the pump from their car at 11,500 Exxon and Mobil stations by the end of this year. If customers are in an Alexa-enabled car, they just have to say, “Alexa, pay for gas” and will not even have to get out of their car to start the process. Alexa will then confirm the gas station’s location as well as the pump number. Transactions will occur via Amazon Pay, and Fiserv’s technology will activate the pump and provide a secure payment experience.

Amazon and Exxon demonstrate to marketing execs how the future of voice is actually more about functions than being fancy and underscores that giving customers options almost always benefits the customer and the brand. Marketers should look toward establishing these kinds of B2B partnerships that offer their customers a utility that will build brand loyalty. Rest assured that Exxon patrons in cold-weather states will appreciate the feature when they won’t have to take their mittens off to pull credit cards out of their wallets — talk about empathy in locales like Buffalo, N.Y. or Minneapolis.

All in all, while CES proved again to be a bit of a paradise for gadget-minded techies, B2B companies also flocked to Las Vegas because the event provides a peek into the future of marketing. In the 2020 edition, we learned that mobile innovation will be a major area to watch in the ensuing weeks and months. And we learned that getting a fresh roll of toilet paper may soon just mean voicing a command to a bathroom-assigned robot.

Keith Richey is senior director of marketing at Linkedin Marketing Solutions.

The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

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