The Changing Face of Marketing: Life Imitates Art

changing face of marketing life imitates artGuest Post by Mike Smith of WordSmith Creative

In 2002 there was a very interesting futuristic film produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise. While the main theme of Minority Report was about technology that allowed police to prosecute criminals before they committed their crimes, there was also an interesting take on marketing in the film.

As Tom Cruise’s character walks into a department store, his eyes are electronically scanned. A disembodied female voice welcomes him back to the store by name and asks him if he’s ready to buy another pair of Dockers®. The voice even knows his size.

For me, it was the creepiest moment of the film. I hated the idea that someone could collect that kind of information and then use it in a manipulative way.

Fast forward ten years. A geo-coupon system called Shopkick (boasting 3 million active users)  has helped drive more than $110 million of in-store revenue for its partner retailers and brands in its first full year of operation. How does it work?

Shopkick is a mobile app that automatically recognizes when a user of the app (Android or iPhone) walks into a store. Once the signal is detected, the app delivers reward points (called “kicks) to the user. The signal is sent when the user tries on clothes, scans a barcode, or simply walks into the store. The user can redeem these points for gift card rewards or Facebook credits.

When I read about Shopkick I couldn’t help but think back to Minority Report. Is this great marketing or is it a huge invasion of privacy? Is life imitating art? Are we ready for this kind of marketing? Whether we’re ready or not—it’s here.

What do you think? If something like this were available for your business, would you use it? Why or why not? It’s not just a theoretical question, because the future is now here.

mike smith

Blog Post Written by Mike Smith

I help my clients identify their key messages and communicate them to the people they are trying to reach—in a way that matters to them, and makes them respond. I am the “Mike” at MikeWordsmith of Colorado Springs.