5G – Game-changer, or hype?
It has become increasingly clear that digitising businesses is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a necessity that if not already completed or underway at your organisation, now essentially needs to happen overnight. Adding to the urgency and need for companies across all sectors to prioritise digitisation, is the rise of Fifth-Generation cellular wireless networks – ‘5G’. Not simply a faster 4G, 5G has been hyped up to be one of the most transformative technologies in the history of telecommunications. 5G is 10 times faster, supports 10,000 times more network traffic and can handle 100 times more devices than 4G networks while enabling one-fiftieth the latency (the time it takes a message to go from one device to another) with zero perceived downtime. Holding the promise of such high data speeds, underpinned by such substantial improvements in latency, capacity and bandwidth – this fifth-generation network technology is truly more than simple hype. It’s the catalyst in an evolution in advanced products and services that includes everything from mobile, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality, the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) and so much more.
5G is a cloud-based network that connects people on mobile devices to the internet faster than previous networks. Unlike 4G which requires cables and infrastructure to run optimally in a suburban or commercial setting, 5G’s cellular towers amplify cloud-based signals eliminating much of the infrastructure and cabling requirements. And these are just what futurists and technologists call ‘first order effects’; those benefits that are directly attributed to 5G’s properties. Beyond these, 5G will help realise the potential of many other emerging technologies, and foreshadow new approaches, ideas and business models that no one has yet conceived of. Fully realised, 5G networks will pave the way to a host of new options for streaming content, live events, gaming, and other high-quality immersive and interactive experiences as well as usher in a sea change in both product and service innovation, experience and delivery.
It is no secret that 5G will open a door to new consumer services and experiences, as well as expand enterprise opportunities across a broad spectrum of verticals and use cases. Increased broadband speeds will facilitate and likely encourage even greater consumption of content. Streaming will become instantaneous and all downloading will happen in seconds rather than minutes. In addition, the massive amount of bandwidth available may see business models around mobile changing in response. For instance, the abundance and ubiquity of broadband could see a future where users are no longer charged for data use but are billed in other ways that encourage them to use their devices more, without worrying about cost. It thus follows, that a new ‘5G marketing mindset’ focussed on use cases, customer experience and immersion as well as product and service differentiation is increasingly becoming a critical priority for marketers. The right strategy starts with asking how 5G can impact fundamental marketing strategies and product mix across multiple industries. Marketers will need to consider abandoning their current tried and tested playbooks and open their imagination to the limitless possibilities of what could be achieved when harnessing the full potential of 5G technology. Marketing with 5G requires a complete rethink of your four P’s: product, place, price and promotion. It need not only be about promoting your product in isolation, now by leveraging 5G marketers
Rethinking What You’re Selling – Product / Service
Things that aren’t readily possible today, like true live dynamic and interactive virtual experiences and tutorials, will become a reality in the 5G world. 4G has served consumers well in some use cases, but 5G will enable vastly richer customer experiences. Want a VR cooking lesson, an in-home mixed reality interior design consultation or to experience a live event through the power of VR? Think about a MasterClass series, but with Malcolm Gladwell for instance, actually being beamed right into your lounge to give you that introduction to writing class essentially in person. 5G makes it possible.
Delivery Where Consumers Want It – Place
Likewise, 5G may realise the possibility of ‘Minority Report’ like adverting. For those unfamiliar with the Tom Cruise Block buster, Minority Report is a movie set in the future where one of the features is personalised in situ advertising. In the film, ad’s are served to customers based on retinal scanning and recognition technology paired with big data to deliver personalised tailored ad content and discounting based on your individual preferences, purchasing habits and location at the time. Marketers will soon be able to deliver what customers want, where and when they want it, as network capacity will no longer be a restricting factor with 5G. Consumers will no longer have to go to a store or open their laptop to find out about, test or buy products. Using 5G, products can be marketed to customers anywhere, leveraging a plethora of newly imagined devices. Take going to the gym for example, advertising could be done directly via a connected health device like an Apple watch or Fitbit. Signup packages could be introduced utilising try before you buy virtual classes delivered ‘in-home’ leveraging AR or VR technology supporting one-on-one virtual personal training sessions.
Monetisation – Price
5G will enable marketers to offer their customers tiered immersive experiences perhaps spanning from baseline to intermediate and premium or even exclusive experiences for AR and VR. One-size-fits-all pricing models that do not differentiate value will increasingly become a thing of the past as the world of mass customisation finds a delivery channel that will support and encourage dynamic pricing models, much the same as those used in airfare pricing – everyone is on the same plane but almost every individual ticket has a unique price depending on where and when you bought it and the accompanying basket of privileges you are seeking pre, during and post flight. Using 5G, you can offer consumers a new proposition to pay for individualised experiences and subscription plans, especially when considered from the viewpoint of a retailer or event promoter where experience is an inseparable part of the purchasing or consumption act itself.
Meaningful Marketing – Promotion
5G is new, dynamic and increasingly in vogue offering marketers a catalyst to inject new energy and vitality into their brands, through inspired application and creative execution. But to ensure sustained engagement, marketers must elevate the utilisation of 5G and allied technologies to move beyond simple gimmicks and cheap tricks, shifting application further than fad to becoming a fully-fledged channel for rich immersive experiential delivery. Promotions must above all else resonate with your target audiences. Today’s hyper-connected world makes it imperative to deliver an ad experience that does not ‘feel’ like advertising
We live in a hyper-connected world and while 5G won’t change everything completely, or instantly, it will unquestioningly amplify many of our digital experiences. Marketers and businesses alike must align our strategies to this new reality, allowing ourselves to explore and apply more of the innovative technological opportunities in our campaigning – especially in the realm of AR, VR, AI, and smart devices. 5G opens a world of new opportunities for marketers and brands unafraid to scrap their old playbooks and buck the status quo to grow customer engagement and brand loyalty.
In concluding, here are just five simple ways 5G will likely revolutionise digital marketing:
- Mobile ecommerce will accelerate.
- Targeted customer personalisation and CX (customer experience) will get easier—and more accurate.
- Segmented video advertising will proliferate.
- Augmented and virtual reality (AR & VR) will enhance customer experiences.
- Advertising will be more interactive.
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