Brands and marketers should be “cautious” with technology that tracks consumers and invest more into testing what does and doesn’t work for consumers, according to Mondelez head of digital and social media in Europe, Sonia Carter.
Speaking during an interview session with The Drum’s online editor Stephen Lepitak, Carter said technology such as iBeacons, which track customers' movements outside and enable more targeted marketing, were a useful creation for marketers but more research was needed to ensure brands wouldn’t alienate customers with such technology
“Knowing physically where someone is is incredibly useful,” she said. “It’s really exciting but we have to be very cautious and do more testing and learning to see whether consumers want us to do that.
“We need brands to start testing it and sharing with everybody so that we know as an industry what consumers want. It’s really important we work together rather than screw things up for all the people in this room.”
She added: "I’ve been in digital for quite a long time and there’s always been this desire because it produces so many statistics, it’s an amazing asset, but you have to be incredibly sensitive to whether users want that. We’re definitely using data, but it’s about serving content based on data you know consumers are interested in.”
Apple launched its iBeacon technology in 254 US stores in December last year. The technology tracks customers’ movements in-store and can be used to deliver more relevant advertising and information based on the physical surroundings of consumers shopping in the High Street.
In January, it emerged that Coca-Cola was testing the viability of using Apple’s iBeacons as a part of its marketing activity for events such as the World Cup.
David Sear, CEO of Weve, said at the event that location-tracking was a “massive” step forward for mobile and urged marketers to take it seriously.
“Understanding your audience gives you small data, response data, real retail data that tells you how you can incentivise customers,” he said. “It’s a step forward, a massive one for mobile. I absolutely urge you as a retailer to get involved with this aspect of the mobile revolution.
“It is enormously interesting what that kind of insight into consumer behaviour can tell you.”
Earlier at the event, IAB CEO Guy Phillipson said news of a merger between Carphone Warehouse and Dixons was a “significant” development for the retail and mobile landscapes.