What does the Apple Watch mean for marketers?

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Just in case you’ve been on another planet for the past couple of days, Apple’s latest venture - the Apple Watch - was released this week. While Apple isn’t the first company to release a smartwatch (Microsoft released one in 2004, and Pebble relaunched its smartwatch category in 2013) Apple has certainly generated the biggest buzz around wearable technology.

While the Apple watch is no more likely to replace a Rolex than all the world’s libraries shutting down because of the growth of ereaders, wearable devices are the future of portable technology. So what does this mean to us as marketers?

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While different kinds of wearable technologies are, of course, different, I’m going to focus on the Apple Watch here. While some elements will vary from device to device, they are similar for the most part.

So what do we need to know?

Content right here, right now

Who would have thought reaching into your pocket or bag for your phone would soon become too much effort? If there’s one thing that the Apple Watch demonstrates, it’s that we need content right now - we don’t even have time to fish for our phones anymore. The Apple Watch is the ultimate tool for the uber-connected, the hyper-impatient, and those who need instant gratification.

Apps are the future - but even they’re only a taste

The Apple Watch does not have an inbuilt-browser, so you don’t need to worry about making sure your website is accessible on a teeny-tiny screen. Instead, it’s powered entirely by apps. It doesn’t just have the usual calendar, email and maps, but supports over 3,000 third-party apps. So if you want your website to be accessed by Apple Watch users, you’ll need an app for that. However, even the apps used on the Apple Watch aren’t full versions. The Guardian describes them as “more like glorified widgets”, so this isn’t the place for an app full of bells and whistles.

It’s built to work alongside your smartphone, not instead of

Don’t abandon your mobile site completely in lieu of an Apple Watch app - it can’t exist without your iPhone. Its primary function is to put your iPhone notifications on your wrist, so it’s for the ultra-connected, need-to-know-now types, not those who can resist the allure of that red bubble. Now is the perfect time to build up your email and social channels, as these are the biggest focus for Apple Watch users. But, speaking of email…

Make sure your emails have a text-only option

The Apple Watch cannot read HTML emails - so make sure your fancy schmancy email campaigns have a plain text version.

It will change the face of conversational search

We’ve looked before at conversational search, but as the Apple Watch doesn’t have a keyboard, it can only respond to spoken demands. So it’s goodbye to annoying autocorrect and typos, but hello to talking to your watch in public and over-pronunciation for the benefit of Siri.

It probably isn’t that good as a watch

But then again, how often do you use your iPhone as a phone these days?

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