My 6 year old son's dream is to go to MIT and make robots that help the world. He wants to make a refrigerator that transforms into a robot chef that will cook, serve and clean for you and then pop back into a refrigerator at night. He also wants to make a robot that will pop-up from the sidewalk when a homeless person is walking by and give them a basket full of food. His brain is always thinking about robots that help our world and make our lives easier, if you watched Oscar Winner, Big Hero 6 than you know that nerds, science and robotics are the future, duh ;).
Right now our vision of robots is skewed based on books and science fiction films, most of us think that robots look human like, they walk, talk, and dance and generally are competing with humans in appearance and function. The reality is that robots look much more like the arms you see in a factory making cars, or the semi-annoying voice you hear when you call the cable company when you want to trouble-shoot your WIFI, or source code of computer program.
There are over 1,000,000 robots in the world with half of them in Japan and just 15% in the US. Out of these, about 50% of those are making cars while the rest are assembling products, doing surgeries, bomb-detecting, cleaning up toxic waste, serving us online ads, content and doing the stuff that many humans don't really want to do or can't do as efficiently.
So what does that mean for us as marketers and brands? How can we embrace this robotic future?
We see this robotic trend emerging at trade shows, events, in-store and pop-up stores with the whole goal to pull us in and get our attention. Brands are integrating robots into their marketing experiences to stand out and connect themselves to the future, in fact there a many companies out there that will rent you robots for this purpose.
Publishers and brands are using robots to create custom content for their sites and social channels, they scrape sports scores, weather and other topics to automate content delivery for their readers. Brands have also used robots to respond to fans in social media during the Super-Bowl. Some people describe this as marketing automation but remember robots don't have to look human or even have a physical presence.
Nowhere is robotics so prevalent in marketing than online advertising. There are robots right now watching you read this article and soon you will go somewhere else and a robot ad will appear next to you. There are robots crawling the internet looking for patterns and selling those patterns to the highest bidders through Google ad-words and other ad buying systems. They all speak the language of algorithms and its your job to understand the basics of this language in order to be successful.