Imagine walking down the Strip and seeing a billboard blink your name, offer match play on your favorite casino game and 25 percent off a new pair of shoes.
That day isn't far away, experts say, as businesses become more sophisticated in how they network and interact with consumers.
Eight years after the launch of Facebook and six years into Twitter, businesses understand the value of social media. Now they must learn how to catch -- and keep -- customers' attention, particularly as consumers become increasingly distracted with new ways to communicate.
Google recently found that the majority of consumers -- 90 percent -- use multiple screens to perform simple tasks online, such as booking a hotel room or buying clothes. A person, for example, might see an ad for a car on television, look up reviews on a phone, price out the vehicle on an iPad and search for dealerships on a laptop.
"We're seeing all these different types of media coming together right now," said Jeremiah Owyang, author of the "Web Strategist" blog and an expert in online marketing. "Companies are going to have to learn how to master all of them. They're going to have to learn how their customers move through the world, so they can effectively reach them."
There soon could be a fifth screen to capture customers' attention: the oversized LED signs on Las Vegas Boulevard. Experts predict that within a few years, those billboards will offer people personalized invites to casinos and stores, changing the way businesses network with the Strip's millions of visitors.
"You're going to see technologies that allow companies to use those big screens to call you by name and say, 'Come on in, we've got a deal for you,'" said Owyang, of the Altimeter Group in Silicon Valley. "New York is a testing ground for this. Vegas is next in line. With its Strip and all the big boards, it's a natural place for this kind of technology to emerge."
The billboards would track people using their smart phones.
American Eagle clothing company in New York City, for instance, uses a 15,000-square-foot LED screen to broadcast photos of customers over Times Square. People can take pictures of themselves in new outfits and post them to the screen.
The billboard makes American Eagle stand out and creates a novel experience for consumers -- something they remember and share with their friends.
The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood offers a taste of what's likely to come in Las Vegas. Every Friday, the company lists people to follow on Twitter on its 11,000-square-foot Strip-front LED billboard. The mall posts the Twitter users' photos and handles to thousands of people below.
"We really looked at this as a unique way to engage our community," Senior Marketing Director Wendy Albert said.
Like many businesses, the shopping center has tried to engage customers through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare and other social media. Nothing has worked as well as the "Follow Friday" Twitter program on the big board, Albert said.
Miracle Mile saw its Twitter and Facebook followers increase by 50 percent in the past year because of the campaign, Albert said.
"Whenever we put it up on the screens, we take a picture of it and send it to the people we mention so they can send it out to their Facebook and Twitter friends," Albert said. "It never fails to get retweeted."
Most Popular Stories
- SEO Traffic Lab Celebrate Wins at Digital Marketing Event 'Internet World 2013' in London
- Social Media Initiatives Should Follow Customers' Lead
- Apple CEO: Offshore Units Not a 'Tax Gimmick'
- U.S. Senate Accuses Apple of Large-scale Tax Avoidance
- UTEP Water Recycling Project Wins Venture Titles
- Marketo Makes a Mint in IPO: Stock Shoots Up More than 50 Percent
- Bieber Booed at Billboard Awards
- Crude Oil Up, Gasoline Down
- Austin Startup Compare Metrics Raises $3.5 Million for Expansion
- Why So Many Top 'Car Guys' Are Actually Women