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Kinetic’s Mauricio Sabogal: OOH, In-Car Will Be 100 Percent Interactive

At CES, Kinetic's global CEO discussed the future of connectivity — out of home and beyond.

Exceeding expectations is the new gold standard for customer engagement, which means delivering information and connectivity seamlessly — before consumers even think to ask for it.

These “new rules of customer engagement” were the subject of a CDXForum panel at last week’s CES, in which Kinetic Global CEO Mauricio Sabogal stressed that consumers’ increased reliance on personal screens doesn’t have to detract from out-of-home or “real world” advertising — rather, it can enhance it.

“Some say that because of in-car [or mobile] entertainment, digital out-of-home is going to lose relevance, as people will be looking down. I disagree,” Sabogal said. “Because of this, we will now be leasing the back space of billboards to actually install antennas to leverage inventory across the Internet of Things — it’s just going to be 100 percent interactive, as the outdoor screen will be able to interact with the in-car screen.”

As part of our CES coverage series in partnership with Kinetic, Sabogal shared his thoughts on what’s ahead for the company in 2017 — and how it plans to deliver on engaging increasingly connected consumers.

What trends have you seen at CES that are likely to impact Kinetic and its clients in the coming year? What do you have your eye on?

I come to CES every year because for us — and really, for any industry today — it is part of what sets the trends and then gives us the background to build strategies [to address] those trends. But what is important here is to filter out what is new from what is just a repetitive story in terms of technology that was presented two, three years ago.

This year, I’m fascinated by two things that are going to refine how brands connect with travelers. First, the self-driving car. It is a reality, it is not hypothetical. Second, how the screens are getting bigger and more interactive in cars.

So, what is your strategy for taking advantage of that shift?

Some say that because of in-car entertainment, digital out-of-home is going to lose relevance, as people will be looking down. I disagree. Because of this, we will now be leasing the back space of billboards to actually install antennas to leverage inventory across the Internet of Things — it’s just going to be 100 percent interactive, as the outdoor screen will be able to interact with the in-car screen.

Saved maps will also play a key role in influencing the passenger journey.

Not all out-of-home is installed along the highways, and we are going to keep the relevance and the utility of out-of-home within the streets and other points of interest as well. Sidewalks, train stations, gas stations, stores, stadiums, or movie theaters are all ecosystems in which brands can contextually deliver personalized content that gets people to act and buy.

How important is location in driving that personal relevance?

Location is very important, but it’s not new. By now, we know how to use that data and how to leverage mobile+social in understanding where consumers are, go and feel. The main obstacle to personal relevance is informality. There is a lack of standards in first [versus third] party data.

Why? There are too many companies involved, with different algorithms, providing different results. We need to create location [data] standards in the market.

We also need to look at location as one piece of the contextual puzzle. Time of day, weather, and even cultural moments are as important as location in driving relevancy.

How do you think we establish those standards?

Just like the retail business established official sources for QR coding and printing. In the beginning, any company could produce barcodes for products in supermarket; there was no standard. Then, only a selected group became official sources. I am not saying it was right or wrong, but at least it was official. There is a number that everybody can trust.

The data that we master today is not representative of the entire universe. There are multiple layers that are not all, always covered. Look at the forecasts that the media and polls made with Brexit or the recent US election. They failed. They misinterpreted the data, assuming that what they collected was all that mattered. Still, when you speak to consultancies that are managing data, there is little to no conversation about data quality. Standardization will help us better deliver on location marketing. Data is a tipless sphere if you don’t have the right metrics.