What is Touch Tech and Why Should I Care?

Touching a tablet with floating icons

By Philip Chila


Think about it. It was less than a decade ago that the keyboard was king. Like millions of office warriors, back then I worked on a cumbersome desktop PC with wired mouse and clunky keyboard, and sent emails on the go by tapping on my CrackBerry’s tiny chicklets.

But, everything changed that day in June 2007.

The launch of the first iPhone turned human-device interaction on its head. The introduction of swipe, zoom and pinch in place of click-click-click transformed the way I consumed information. It did that for nearly everyone. In fact, the introduction of this cool new touchscreen-enabled tech fundamentally altered the way humans engage with the world.

If you’ve ever swiped or pinched a screen to open or close a window, enlarge type or manipulate content on your smartphone or tablet — and who hasn’t? — you’re familiar with touchscreen technology. (Touch tech, or just touch, for short.) No novelty or passing trend (researchers forecast that touch-module revenue will reach $36 billion by 2020), touch tech has had nearly 10 years to evolve and mature. Plenty of time for folks to become comfortable with it.

That’s hardly news. What is new, though, are the opportunities this technological disruption has created for companies to promote themselves in fresh, exciting ways.

Touch Delivers New Opportunities to Showcase Your Brand

Imagine a visually exciting display of your company’s content. Videos. Photos. Animations. Interactive tools. All presented in a way that’s designed to impress — for instance, on a massive video wall or table-sized kiosk. With this kind of display in your retail store, dealer showroom, trade show booth or corporate lobby, you’d draw some serious attention.

With touch, customers and prospects, even several at once, can immerse themselves in your brand. They can explore and manipulate your content, swiping and zooming to their hearts’ content.

Touch tech works for sales, too. Say a member of your sales team wants to meet one-on-one or in a small group with a hot prospect. He could ditch the traditional PowerPoint and instead display your company’s branded presentation on a touch-powered tablet.

Your pitch would feel fresher, more relevant, more persuasive.

Here’s another example of how you could use touch tech to your advantage. Say you sell high-end, custom furniture. A couple comes into your showroom to check out sofas. Nothing precisely matches what they’re looking for. You could try to persuade them to choose something else from your sales floor. But, more likely they’ll head over to your competitor down the road. It doesn’t have to go down like this.

Rewind. They don’t see anything they like. So, you direct them to a large touchscreen kiosk, complete with a build-it-yourself feature. Now, they swipe and zoom through your inventory — visualizing the various options for everything from the cushion fabric (butter-soft, hand-distressed leather catches their eye) to the detailing on the armrests (classic rolled arms get their attention).

Bingo! Turns out, you do have their perfect sofa.

Use Psychology to Your Advantage

According to The Marketing Science Institute, Boston College researcher Adam Brasel found that products viewed through a touchscreen are more highly valued than products viewed through other mediums. And if the product is highly valued, it’s highly desired. So leverage this psychological quirk by turning desire into a sale by presenting your content on a touchscreen display.

I know I sound like a salesman — touch tech, rah, rah! — but I can’t help myself. This technology has already completely re-shaped society and the way we think about and engage with information. It adds an exciting new dimension to the marketing landscape by delivering riveting, memorable experiences and encouraging deep engagement. So, it’s no surprise that savvy companies have taken notice of touch’s game-changing appeal and relevance to brand strategy.

Apple has forever led us away from our keyboards and toward tactile, interactive, touchable experiences. Touch is so compelling, in fact, that organizations that overlook it in their marketing mix may be outmaneuvered by the competition and left in the dust.

If you want to explore specific ways a touch-powered presentation could heighten engagement with your brand, give me a holler.

Philip Chila

Director of ViewPoint Interactive Solutions

A passionate brand champion with a penchant for expensive bourbon and an aversion to marketing hype, he’s committed to helping businesses connect with their customers in compelling and meaningful ways.