American Marketer


Key takeaways for brands from Google I/O

August 1, 2014

Adam Marchick is CEO of Kahuna Adam Marchick is CEO of Kahuna


By Adam Marchick

Mobile technology is changing the way that humans digest information and approach decision-making. This was a core theme of this year’s Google I/O, Google’s flagship developer conference in San Francisco.

With the announcement of new devices such as Android Wear smartwatches and the significant changes coming to Android smartphones through enhanced notifications, Google is revealing the future of human-technology interaction.

Google’s emphasis on smart devices and enhanced notifications has implications both for consumers and for the brands and businesses that serve them. How will these changes affect the human psyche, and what do they mean for the modern marketer?

Push notifications are becoming the primary source of information. Smartphones and wearables can gather data, deliver information and receive feedback within seconds.

Brands need to adjust to this communication style, and marketing messages need to be integrated in these emerging channels.

Consumers are no longer learning about your brand through your store or Web site. They simply reach for their smartphones or glance at their smartwatch to get the information they need.

Marketers need to become experts at inspiring consumers through great push notifications.

Only personalized marketing makes the cut. Devices such as Android smartphones and Android Wear smartwatches are designed to improve the human experience, and they do this by providing people with curated content.

Google introduced priority notifications to shield us from information overload and to ensure that we only receive valuable content.

Just as promotional email is marked as spam, blast notifications have become the junk mail of the mobile world.

Notifications must contain personalized and relevant content, or Google will protect us against them.

Brands need to take their mobile marketing to the next level, or they will be left behind.

Message timing is crucial. Wearables and smartphones have made people increasingly accessible, but it is their job to deliver the right information, in the right way, at the right time.

Google now allows people to engage with or dismiss notifications from the lock screen of their phone so as to avoid interruption. This change reflects the larger trend at Google I/O that choice should reside with the end user.

As such, the one-time-fits-all approach to marketing is obsolete.

Every person has a different schedule and a different time preference around digesting information, and brands must have the ability to predict and accommodate these individual differences.

Marketers must optimize the time at which consumers receive their notifications, in addition to personalizing the content.

Marketing is even less art, more science. Smartphones and wearables gather extensive data on the past actions and preferences of their owner. These devices have the ability to understand both our explicit and implicit preferences, reacting accordingly by sending the perfectly informed notification.

Marketers need to develop a similar depth of understanding around each of their customers, since people expect to receive content based on their unique circumstances.

GOOGLE IS PRESENTING marketers with a unique set of challenges and opportunities as the world moves to mobile.

The Internet of things is forcing brands to communicate differently with their consumers. Marketers should embrace the invitation and join this new ecosystem.

Adam Marchick is CEO of Kahuna, Palo Alto CA. Reach him at