Q&A: Cisco’s Brendan O’Brien

In the third in a series of interviews highlighting some of the speakers that will be imparting their wisdom at the final ClickZ Live event of 2014 coming up in Chicago this November, I talked to Cisco’s Brendan O’Brien about what delegates can expect from his talk and how marketers should be thinking about location-based services (LBS) as consumers and their digital habits become more and more mobile.

Your session at ClickZ Live focuses on location-based services. In your opinion, how are businesses adapting to this kind of channel and is there much education to be had?

The mobile retail trend is here to stay and growing. Today almost 50 percent of all shoppers use mobile devices as an integral part of their shopping experience and smartphone shoppers are 14 percent more likely to convert than non-smartphone shoppers while in-store.

Businesses are rapidly innovating to catch up and exploit and enhance the shopping experience of their customers in a manner that blends digital, mobile, and the in-store experiences. There is much learning to still be had, as what works for one vertical may not for another. For instance, how to integrate location-based services into the overall suite of customer offerings in a meaningful and contextual manner, or how to actually get customers to want to engage. The list goes on.

Can you give us some examples of how a company might use LBS to capture and engage with new audiences?

There are various methods that companies are using today. These include providing additional services to the customer, such as in-venue navigation or product search capabilities, or value-added services like online coupons in the venue, real-time offers, and location-specific content or price matching. Blending online, offline, and in-venue seamless engagement is hugely valuable and the more advanced businesses are definitely on this track.

How is Cisco using these principles to increase its reach and amplify your messages?

All the global events Cisco runs, or is a key partner in, are lit up with LBS capabilities. We use these forums to demonstrate the art of the possible and get creative ideas flowing among business leaders. In addition, we have a very active and strong marketing team that is continually pushing the messages through multiple channels like Web, contributed content, blogs, and customer references, plus participating in business and marketing forums such ClickZ Live.

What are some of the most creative campaigns you’ve seen using LBS and why do they shine for you?

Some really cool applications are emerging. For example, Coke is putting Wi-Fi into its vending machines in various parts of the world and using this as a stepping stone to engage directly with customers. Many exciting things are going to come here. A global high fashion brand is using LBS to engage with its globally mobile customers in a seamless manner no matter where they are – for example when a customer enters its London store, they get the same or better level of personalized service that they get in their home (Shanghai, for example) store – down to contextual messages like, “The shoes that go with the dress you purchased last week are here now in your size, would you like to try on the matching colors?”

Give us three things delegates will take away from your session that will make them better marketers.

The main aim of the session is to spark ideas among delegates that now is the time to think outside the box – customer engagement can be exciting, fun, and compelling and there are some exciting options that you need to look at the art of the possible and not be afraid. Take the big steps, learn from the early adopters, jump ahead of the competition, and innovate – technology is not the limitation – just imagine…

Some of the key takeaways include:

  • How does LBS work and how is it being used to deliver innovative business models and revenue generation to various industries.
  • How are engagement strategies evolving and how can they be maximized to deliver personalized content directly to the clients’ devices.
  • A case study demonstrating the above mentioned innovative marketing capabilities

Brendan O’Brien will be speaking at 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 5 in a session entitled “The Future of Customer Engagement with Location-Based Marketing.”

Get your ticket to ClickZ Live Chicago by registering here!

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