Humans have been creating with clay as early as 24,000 BC and functional pottery such as vessels for storing food and water has been noted as being present since 10,000 BC. This ability to create plates, bowls, and cups to use, trade, and sell makes ceramics one of the most ancient industries. The core of pottery: sculptural forms, decorative pieces, and functional ware have been re-invented time again. Even how potters have promoted their works, through traditional marketing tactics including word of mouth, trade, pictures, books, galleries, museums, have been consistent and one-sided. Today, digital marketing through a potter website, his or her blog, and social media channels such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, has widened exposure instantaneously and globally as well as a two-way form of communication. With changes in human behavior and technology, the ceramic industry will have move towards future trends such as mobile brand messaging, social media real life integration, and co-creating with brand advocates. These changes will generate financial and physical growth for company brands willing to evolve and participate.
Mobile Brand Messaging
Just as industrial revolution ignited the forward movement for ceramics with the creation of electricity for safer and faster kiln firings increasing production drastically, the growth of smartphones is driving consumers into the hands of brands. Mobile brand messaging will enable personal interactions between brands and consumers. A new study about retail mobile messaging was released by OtherLevels documenting that messaging frequently, especially through a brand mobile application, can provoke the consumer to engage more with the brand. For instance, a potter can send a message announcing a holiday oriented promotion or offer app features such as list generation, product finder, and real time in stock inventory. By 2017, it is projected that over 50 percent of commerce will be conducted on mobile devices. This will result in the more a brand send messages, the more it will sell. As technology changes, options such as mobile wallet will take brand messaging one step further enabling the consumer to instantly by a product from a push message before he or she arrives at the brand store.
Real Life Integration
In the process of eliminating the gap between “technology” and “life”, social media will launch the opportunity to connect the consumer with the brand seamlessly. As advancements in technology rise, QR codes will become more visually product enhanced. This means the QR code could launch product information instantly including features like product history, product reviews, social media friends and family members who have used the product, and suggested related products. This feature could boost brand transparency and consumer trust. BUY IT buttons will become more embedded in social media promotional ads on networks like Facebook. This would allow, for instance, a potter to collect revenue from social media channels, blog, e-commerce store, and mobile messaging.
Co-Creating with Brand Advocates
In the ceramics industry, niche markets will excel. In a world where there is a plethora of product to choose from, potters, like brands, will need to stand out from each. By evaluating data from social media tools such as Google Analytics, and listening to consumer chatter with a dashboard monitor like Hootsuite, a brand will embrace co-creation. An example of co-creating is a potter makes a bowl. He or she evaluates keywords, search terms, and other data extracted from Google Analytics to design content to be used to promote the bowl on the social media landscape. Since about 25 percent of all branded search results are user-generated content, listening to and engaging with the consumer develops a partnership directly with the potter to co-create. This user generated content can lead the potter to develop product to fit exactly what the consumer needs, happier buyers, brand loyalty, and the potential of financial growth for the potter.
Personalization and brand experience are an ancient concept stemming back to the beginning of the ceramic industry. Traditional marketing strategies have reinvented themselves to a newer, more efficient, and engaging level with social media marketing. The change in human behavior to instantly connect with others and brands and the constant evolution of technology to accommodate consumer needs will allow for brands, like potters, to capitalize on trends including mobile brand messaging, social media real life integration, and co-creating with brand advocates. In the future, with a swipe of a finer across a smartphone, a consumer can connect on the social media landscape, search for a bowl, learn about one he or she likes, press the BUY IT button, pay from his or her mobile wallet, and boast about the purchase on a social network in less time than it took for the potter to make, fire, and package the bowl.