What Marketers Want From iPhone 5

Near-field communications chips and standardized metrics top wish lists

Techies are waiting with bated breath to learn about the user-friendly features Apple will be unveiling with the newest version of the iPhone tomorrow (Sept. 12). Rumor mill sources are predicting a larger screen display and 4G LTE coverage, among other potential enhancements. But if marketers had their druthers, what would they want in the new smartphone?

Adam Kmiec, Campbell Soup’s global head of digital and social, said that Near Field Communication (NFC) was at the top of his wish list. Count Kmiec among those who believe NFC chips would revolutionize how advertising could be more tightly connected to consumer transactions, following in the footsteps of Asian, European and Latin American markets. 

“Apple's inclusion of NFC would rapidly increase the adoption and bring about new ways to foster relationships between our consumers and our key customers,” he said in an email. “From making print and outdoor ads truly interactive to changing how we pay at checkout, NFC has the potential to completely change the marketing landscape again.”

John Haro, CTO for mobile marketing vendor Vibes, thinks that Kmiec's wish probably won't get granted anytime soon. “What we don’t expect to see is an NFC chip in the new iPhone,” he said. “Adoption of NFC is nearly nonexistent, and mobile payments have yet to take off.”

Paul Gelb, an emerging media specialist for the last four years at digital agency Razorfish, wonders if the Apple smartphone will come with a Pandora competitor, creating another music streaming advertising channel. Another question, he said, is whether Apple will take measures to help publishers monetize their apps.

Gelb also hopes that marketers will see standardized metrics from iPhone campaigns, allowing user tracking that can show ad click-throughs that end with sales conversions. “It would help put mobile in the same spreadsheets [as other channels],” he said.

One area of common interest among techies and marketers is the subject of the new iPhone’s screen size, which is reportedly going to increase by about 14 percent. “While this is not a huge increase,” said Loren McDonald, vp of industry relations for Silverpop, “it does mean that for marketing assets such as emails and landing pages, marketers will be a little less constrained and can pack a bit more content in without requiring an iPhone user to scroll down.”

McDonald also mentioned the possibility of an improved iPhone camera. “While not a significant impact on marketers, you might see some companies implement crowdsourced and real-time ad campaigns and social photo contests stemming from higher-quality images combined with the faster upload and download speeds of the 4G connectivity,” he said.

Lastly, Rick Butler is an evp for movie tickets marketer Fandango, a retail-based developer partner with Apple. He lauded the new smartphone's expected Passbook app, which is reportedly designed to let consumers digitally store coupons, loyalty cards and, yes, tickets.

“Fandango moviegoers can bypass the box office at select theaters just by scanning their iPhone, and with location and time features, the Mobile Ticket will automatically be displayed for quick and convenient access as soon as the moviegoer arrives at the theater," he said in an email.

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