B2B Marketing Blog

Written by The Mezzanine Group
on August 22, 2010

The iPad and other tablets are changing how customers are being targeted

The iPad is a device that is not only disruptive from a technology perspective, it is also disruptive in the world of marketing. From a technology perspective, iPad has created a category of its own. From a marketing perspective, it promises to be a channel that is highly engaging and integrated for its user. It’s for this reason that many business leaders like CEO Robert Iger of Walt Disney believe that iPad will be a “game changer”. Disney is not alone in its excitement. Media giants like USA Today, The Weather Network and ABC are aggressively developing applications specifically for the iPad. More than three quarters of marketing executives worldwide are considering some form of iPad strategy. This is a testament to its potential.

Apple has had great success already with its iPad sales. In its first week, Apple sold nearly 450k iPad units. It had approximately three million iPad application downloads and more than 600k iBook downloads. The iPad already has nearly the same internet traffic as the BlackBerry, which is a long established device with a much larger user base. This success of gaining penetration is further evidence that iPad as a marketing channel cannot be ignored.

There are four key features that differentiate iPad from other channels. They are

  1. Seamless integration of advertisement into applications
  2. Personalized mobile advertisements
  3. Geo-location based advertisement or content
  4. Integrated Multimedia capabilities.

The synergy of all these features put together makes the iPad even more powerful.

iPad has the ability to seamlessly integrate advertisements into applications. The iPad's application will introduce media-based advertising within an application, instead of directing users to another website. This will increase the effectiveness of the advertisement and also have more people respond positively to the advertisement. iPad applications can potentially integrate the worlds of entertainment and advertising by using branded applications that include interactive content (e.g. games and video). What makes iPad most suited for this is that, unlike PCs and smartphones, the iPad is designed for entertainment.

iPad also has the potential to revolutionize mobile marketing. For the first time, iPad will give consumers a full size mobile interface. Advertisers and content providers can use this by creating content that leverages the benefits of having mobile access and, at the same time, provide users with meatier content that is typically shared through a desktop. This will allow advertisers to have a brand new channel and create custom campaigns tailored for the iPad.

Geo-location, a feature on the iPad, may prove to be groundbreaking in how marketers can reach their end-users. iPad can use its 3G connectivity to triangulate and determine the user’s location. This technology will enable location-specific services. This willallow marketers and content providers to tailor their information to provide personalized content to the end-user.

The last feature that makes the iPad really stand-out is its ability to integrate multimedia with traditional print media. This can open a whole new range of possibilities. Imagine reading a book with pieces of video incorporated or going through a newspaper where the article is part print and part video. This possibility has both advertisers and content providers excited. Companies are already investing in such content / advertising. For example, Ford is Ford is working with Sports Illustrated to create a video-enabled advertising prototype for its Mustang line of cars which features an arcade-style driving game that leverages iPad’s built-in accelerometer.

iPad has the potential to be a truly disruptive medium. Businesses, big or small, should consider it an opportunity and develop a strategy to best leverage the iPad to grow their business.

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