​Apple Watch meets marketing: Chasing 'micromoments'

Apple Watch can be a great marketing tool where the notification almost becomes an ad for a brand because it'll be targeted and useful. Rest assured some brands are going to blow it.

Apple Watch has marketing potential, but for now it's more about experimenting with the ultimate goal of pursuing 'micromoments' that could make or break customer experiences.

That's the gist of a Forrester Research brief on how companies should think about marketing on the Apple Watch.

Now that Apple is allowing native third party apps, the flood gates should open for more innovative approaches. So far, there aren't any killer apps for the Apple Watch and the potential as a content delivery tool remains to be seen.

Forrester's note, which focused on business-to-consumer marketers, said brands will find loyal customers if they can act during "micromoments." Forrester wrote:

A micromoment is a mobile moment that requires only a glance to identify and deliver quick information that you can consume or act on immediately. Twenty-five percent of US online adults get tired of pulling their phones out of their pockets all the time. Smartwatches are the perfect fit for marketers to deliver value in micromoments when people are travelling, jogging, commuting, or in a meeting. Healthcare companies are working on Apple Watch apps to deliver recommendations based on your individual context (e.g., your unique situation, emotion, and preferences) at a given moment in time. For example, an app could send you a discreet notification to use your asthma inhaler because you're entering a more polluted area based on crowdsourced data on your allergens.

All of that sounds fine and companies like Salesforce are pursuing Apple Watch and wearables as a new customer engagement tool.

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But for every positive micromoment, I'd argue there will be at least three or more negative ones. Hit the wrong micromoment and a brand becomes annoying in a hurry. Forrester advised that companies should use ethnographic research and customer journey mapping to identify where smart watches trump smartphones when it comes to notifications and reaching customers.

Forrester's advice is to focus on glances and allow consumers to see notifications and information that help their brands and sales. Some examples---baggage notifications from an airline---are no brainers. The issue is that companies are going to have to narrow down their content, stay disciplined and have the data chops to customize on an individual level.

For now, the Apple Watch and iPhone lacks the advance filtering to allow individuals to curate to a micro level, said Forrester. That reality means that companies are going to have to allow customers to personalize.

Forrester said:

For example, banks could let people only select fraud alerts on their watches when abroad while receiving wire confirmations on their smartphones. Otherwise, you risk over-saturating customers with irrelevant messages.

The upshot is that brands are going to have to deliver value on wearables not ads. In this world, the "ad" on the Apple Watch becomes the notification. Brands that are useful will fare well. Other brands are clearly going to be annoyances you wear. Forrester noted:

In the connected world, brands' survival will depend on their ability to build trust and respect consumers' privacy. If the consumer is not automatically and instantly seeing value from the brand, it will negatively affect the brand perception and consumers will simply remove the app.

May the marketing games begin.

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