Islam Gouda
Islam Gouda 11 January 2016

Drones Marketing: We Are At Your Doors!

What customers care about the most is the experience, whatever the ads or the way of reaching them; today’s economy and market (wherever customers are) is much more focused on feelings customers have after encountering with a brand or a product. With experience comes personalization, and personalization comes by a direct communication with the brand.

Companies are utilizing Social media channels to establish that belongingness with the customers, the main problem however, the more connected you are virtually the more disconnected you are physically. It doesn’t matter the amount of time customers spend reading posts or news about a particular brand – it might or might not affect their purchasing decision, at the end it is all a matter of convenience rather than awareness.

Technology might have created touch points with customers, but they as well made them far from the brand till they closely interact at the purchasing point – and this is the man problem of marketing related technology.

When we think of technology and marketing we directly corner the concept to social media and the use of mobile applications. There is no much of physical technology that can be used at the touch-points and contribute towards creating the technology and much of interaction at the Social media part.

The work on marketing related technologies (physical technologies) is in progress, and there are amazing inventions which we can use to get us closer to the customers. Sometimes however, the technology is not created by marketers; it can be adopted, modified, and moulded to be used to serve the purpose and objectives of a campaign in an innovative and captivating way. 

Drones are ones of these innovations – they were created as consumer products (entertainment gadgets) that customers use to capture fascinating videos and images. Forward-thinking brands (or the innovators on the adoption curve) have merged a consumer product as part of their marketing activities in various ways – creating an experience capitalizing on social media channels creating further conversations and more belonging to the customers.

There are many enablers to this technology – take for example Periscope which recently was developed by Twitter to broadcast videos of various locations of the world. YouTube and other video social media channels as well contribute to the process.

The concept is very simple; Drones are being leveraged from just being toys or flying cameras – they allow brands to create direct communication with their customers in a unique and innovative manner. Drones however, are not only being utilized in congruence with social media as to capture and tweet videos and images.

There are various applications of the concept which makes it more than a trend, as to a tool which can be utilized differently by each and every brand based on its needs, the nature of the product or service, and the level of openness customers have for the use of the tool when communicating with the brand.

Drones Marketing: The Applications

  1. Walmart:

Walmart’s application of the concept as a retailer was that they wanted to utilize the tool in the delivery process. The difficulty was that Drones are considered as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), where the brand had to apply for license of usage to be approved by the FAA. Some argue that the use of Drones by Walmart is not an effective strategy – according to Clarus Commerce 70% of the US population live in approximately 5 miles from the nearest Walmart store.

Walmart on the other hand mentioned that their utilization of Drones is to make the distribution process more effective – optimizing their core business and speeding the delivery process. The main problem however, that the Pilots Associations has its own reserves on the use of Drones. The main regulations which were set fourth that the Drone has to weigh less than fifty five pounds, the speed has to be limited to 100 miles per hour, and the maximum altitude can’t exceed 400 feet.       

      2.   Cannes Film Festival:

Drones were used in the Cannes Film Festival in 2014; the festival’s officials though it would add value to experience of attending the festival and taking selfies with celebrities with a message to their audience. This could have been done with a regular camera with the Twitter account already created for the event however, Drones allowed for more personalization, the capturing of various parts of the event (live), and of course the celebs who attended the event were very enthusiastic about the use of the technology that they wanted to be part of it.    

      3.   General Electric (The Drone’s Week):

General Electric has jumped on the bandwagon and dedicated a whole week for the tool – called it the DroneWeek – where they have created the first drone show ever on Periscope as they have described it. The company has redesigned the Drones and utilized them to capture footage and videos over its manufacturing facilities in Houston, Ohio, and California providing their audience a first-hand experience and view over the most sophisticated jet engines and wind turbines that were tested to the extreme. The brand’s efforts brought their work to live to their audience and customers – it allowed them to showcase the breadth of design, manufacturing and testing processes in a very creative manner.

As to any new tool (and for this specifically as it flies), there are many rules and regulations which concerns various regulatory entities. There as well the matter of safety, privacy, operational problems, the level of training (if any is required) for the operating staff, how to deal with technical problems, and so forth.

There is as well the problem of reliance, for marketers Drones can be an attractive tool to use – but the job doesn’t end at fascinating the customers with these flying cameras. A conversation must be established from the beginning with the customers over the various channels to allow for a chance of engagement and interaction with the tools.

But, what Drones have of potential is very promising – their uniqueness is that they have various applications and can be utilized on different touch points across customers’ journeys as well as providing unique content that adds value to traditionally consumed materials.  

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