Mashable: Five things marketers need to know about the smartwatch

By Jeff Malmad, Managing Director, Head of Mobile and Life+, Mindshare North America

This article is part of SWOT Team, a series on Mashable that features insights from leaders in marketing, brand-building and public relations.

The Apple Watch is blowing up. Analysts predict that around 15 million units will be sold this year. That's a great start. To compare, Android Wear sold 720,000 units in 2014. And while Apple hasn't released sales numbers, an interview with Apple's finance chief indicates that the launch day figures may have beat those of the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010.

But the launch of the watch isn't just great for Apple or consumers; it’s also a big step for all wearable tech. There are more than 500 consumer wearables in market right now and the press and buzz around the Apple Watch means increased usage for other devices, too.

IDC’s new estimates put worldwide wearable shipments at 72.1 million devices this year — a 173% increase from 2014. What was one of the big catalysts for growth? The category of "smart wearables," like the smartwatch.

So, here's our mantra for marketers: Think of the smartphone as Batman, and the smartwatch as Robin. They can each work independently — but, together, they're a dynamic duo.

Your smartphone is the ultimate wearable device — you take it with you everywhere. But when coupled with a smartwatch, consumers can get a lot of enhanced value.

And value is what's key here. Advertising on a wearable device isn't about running a banner, a video or a highly intrusive message on a watch face. It's about giving consumers utility and information.

For example, Starbucks allows you to use your watch for payments. Chipotle allows you to order food directly from your watch face. IHG released a language translator that helps you learn essential foreign phrases while traveling.

Here are five things that brands and marketers should consider with the smartwatch.

1. Embrace push notifications

These are the main way that people interact with their smartwatches today. And when people opt into notifications from a smartphone app, they appear on their smartwatch as well. From a brand perspective, you can control what goes out and when. If done correctly, you'll be giving consumers high-value information when and where they want it.

2. Make them action-oriented

You only have a very small screen to push a notification to a consumer. This message should be action-oriented and drive value once engaged. Whether you're providing content or a brand offer, use terms that resonate with consumers based on their context. For example, consumers who are standing in a grocery store will want a notification that alerts them of relevant content and savings from a brand.

3. Ask yourself if you really need your own app

It’s true of the smartphone and even more true on the watch — not all companies and brands need their own app. Think about working with a content publisher instead. Those partners are the ones who have the most scale in the smartwatch space.

4. When working with publishers, create an ownable experience

Don't just deploy a “sponsored by” message on the watch. Instead, create additional value by helping publishers deploy a new feature or experience that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. For example, we recently launched a campaign where the publisher and brand provide customized daily fitness regiments — delivered directly to your wrist.

5. Be adaptive

It’s a new space and the lessons are fresh and constantly evolving. Leveraging opt-in data about location, user history, etc. will help you tailor your messages and create better marketing programs for the immediate future.

As the biometrics space grows, it'll come to represent a whole new area where we've only scratched the surface. Some apps know a consumer's height, weight, and activity level. Now, more than ever before, we can create relevant messages that adapt to the user instead of just something generic.

The smartwatch space is valuable to consumers, which makes it valuable to marketers. But it's important that we don't overstep ourselves. We should provide utility over intrusion — just like Batman and Robin.

Read on Mashable: http://mashable.com/2015/06/25/how-marketers-should-treat-smartwatch/