Mobile and the Qualified Self – Powerful Marketing

wearable-technology-350x200Computing devices can now be found almost anywhere. No longer just a phone, we can wear NIKE Powerbands, FitBits, Google Glass, and now even clothing manufacturers are designing computing devices into our fabrics. More and more elements in our lives can now compute and communicate with one another, sharing data, and affecting our behavior.

With everything communicating now, what does that imply about our future behavior?  Digital designers at the forefront of UX are now creating experiences that can unite and depict this data, and give us a view into our behaviors. Even more interesting, the art of User Experience is creating a new way to drive better behavior through combining personal data with publicly available data streams. To Marketers, combining personally collected data with trend information can become a powerful motivational tool. Essentially, User Experience is now in a position to drive Marketing results in a powerful way.

First, the concept of Quantified Self may be familiar to you. When a device can track behavior and count metrics, we can gain a vision of our activity through a creative depiction of these numbers. The NIKE FuelBand does a great job tracking activity, and it syncs with other devices to compare our activity with others, and to provide incentive to reach our fitness goals.  Apps like Argus also use the iPhone as the device to track our steps, how much water, coffee and beer we consume, and how well we sleep. Knowing about this data can in subtle ways define our behavior, but it can still be a passive experience as some of us see how sleep, and give it a “huh” and move on. I always forget to enter the number of beers I drink.  Intentional?argus-honeycomb

The next trend is where it gets interesting: Take the personal information gathered via The Quantified Self, and align that with other data streams that are available from the cloud.  This comparative data can be a powerful motivator and predictor of behavior. Quantified Data + User Goals becomes The Qualified Self.

For example, Let’s look at the near tech future for Sarah, a first-time home buyer who wants to qualify for a mortgage. Maybe she’s close to qualifying, but a few months of wise spending decisions will help her get her first house. Her digital devices can quantify where she goes, where she spends money,  and what patterns she traces during the day. Imagine combining this information with her self-reported financial condition, and cloud based data from real-estate prices, mortgage rates and national trend data. While Sarah goes for a run through her favorite neighborhood, her glasses can automatically display red or green colors over houses that are within her financial reach in this neighborhood. If she goes on a binge and spends over her goals at Nordstrom one afternoon, more of the houses become red, as her spending behavior has put her off track for her goals. This immediate visual feedback, put in terms of her goals can be a powerful motivator, and a beneficial force to help individuals reach their dreams.

Many other scenarios come to mind where immediate visual feedback can help us stay on track. At the grocery store, while driving, when deciding to take the stairs instead of the elevator, we could use reminders of how our small decisions add up to bigger results.

This is only one version of the story. But as marketers, consider the opportunities for truly affecting and influencing behavior. Instead of superficial touchpoints that involve repetition and ‘social engagement’, imagine the power of creating experiences that align with true user desire, and actually helping consumers achieve their goals.


Powerful stuff, indeed.







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