SMART Marketing and PR

S = Strategy to Meet Goals
M = Media Mix
A = Art & Creative that Sells
R = Research to Identify Buyers and Measure the Results for ROI
T = Tactics & Channels that Fit the Situation

Monday, July 14, 2008

Item-Level Intelligence

You’re going to hear a lot more in the near future about “item-level intelligence.” This technology puts electronics: transistors, transmitters, etc. into ink that can be printed on everything.

Right now 30 million transistors can fit on the head of a pin. So including the electronics you need to attach to any item you want using ink isn’t hard to imagine. Bye-bye barcodes!

I worked on presenting Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) as a future technology when I was at Motorola in 2001. It’s now a reality.

A Simple Example
Think about a consumer package good like a can of beans. The manufacturer puts the beans in a can and a printed label is put on the can. The ink on the label has transistors and transmitters in it so the bean manufacturer knows what ‘s in the can, the date of manufacture, and where the can has to go. The company that ships the can knows where the can is. The company that bought the beans knows when it gets to the warehouse and what store it is supposed to go to, and when it arrives. The store knows when it got on the shelf, AND WHEN A CUSTOMER PICKS IT UP TO LOOK AT IT, or buys it.

Thought that would grab you. Ink based paper antennas are positioned at the end of each aisle so the merchandising system can keep track of where the beans are moved (stop it).

Item-level intelligence brings a whole new meaning to Just-in-Time manufacturing and the entire supply chain. What does this mean for marketing?

You can negotiate with a buyer right at the shelf. Don’t want to advertise the beans? Try a coupon strategy just like they do now. Instead of having tags on the shelf under the beans, when a customer checks out the beans by picking them up and looking at them, the system can offer a coupon to the buyer’s opt-in smart phone when the buyer puts the can back on the shelf. It might make the buyer reconsider.

Benefits to buyers are a way to budget, reduce costs of goods, find them, and create a shopping list that is managed on their phone. Need milk? You’ll know if your garbage can has an RFID antenna. When you throw the milk carton in the garbage, your shopping list gets updated. You see the benefits.

Item-level intelligence will offer in depth data on products, sales, segment penetration and analytics, and will finally allow one-to-one marketing at the residence and shelf level.

Keep an eye out here for more on this emerging marketing technology.

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