We spend a lot of time thinking about where this is all heading around here. By “this” we mean the web, interactive marketing, and the like. One of the things that we’ve been thinking about lately is those nifty little items you can download to your desktop to keep up on sports scores or the weather or the top ten
iTunes singles or just about any other piece of information that you deem important enough to want to reach to in an instant. We’re speaking of course about Widgets (or Gadgets for those of you brave enough to be using the first release of Windows Vista). And we’re not the only ones. Widgets are fast becoming the most recent belle of the interactive marketing ball (see this ClickZ article for instance.)
And for good reason. Widgets are beautiful little applications that are more than a novelty from our perspective. They truly are the future of the digital landscape. Today, you can visit Yahoo Widgets or Apple Dashboard and download thousands of different mini desktop applications that will help you reach the information you want even faster than going out to the web. Download them to your desktop and bang! Instant access to Martha Stewart Recipes.
But this is just the beginning. We’ve just launched two such widgets: one for our client Coldwell Banker and one for SIEMENS. Both these widgets stream data to the desktop so that users can instantly and constantly be updated on either new listings on coldwellbanker.com or, in the case of SIEMENS, on the latest NCAA Tournament scores (Also look for the new SIEMENS Sports Gadget coming soon). But what makes these widgets so interesting is not just the info they provide or the way they brand the users desktop. It’s because folks, this is where the entire digital space is heading in total. Imagine having widgets not only your desktop, but on your cell phone, pda, ipod, or any other portable digital device. In fact most major e-commerce sites are already getting “widgetized.” In other words, you as a user will be able to visit a site and pick the section, function, or data points that you want instant access to and drop it from the site right to your desktop in one fell swoop. (HINT: Kinesis is working on a site for a major client now that will allow this very thing. Stay tuned to this blog for more.)
The benefit for users is obvious – instant access to information they want when and where they want it. The benefit to marketers is that when you package relevant information and make it easily accessible to your users, you make your customers and prospects happy, strengthen your brand, drive more traffic and increase sales. Pretty obvious, right?
So think about widgets and gadgets. Start testing the waters. The technology is here and now. What can you do with it?