Internet of Things and Marketing: A New World
The Internet of Things has buzzword trendiness stamped all over it. In reality, this revolutionary data-sharing tool has the power to shape the way we use technology.
So what is the Internet of Things and how does it work?
IoT (Internet of Things) is a massive network of connected things, including people. Massive is no understatement here, by 2020 it is estimated there will be around 21 billion connected devices.
Put simply, IoT is anything that can connect through wireless technology – linking objects, locations or people to the internet.
Increasingly, the hard-working, everyday appliances we take for granted are being pressed into service as smart devices. Your humble toaster can make predictions about your breakfast routine, reminding you to buy more bread, whilst also sending feedback on preferences.
However, there are industrial applications too. Manufacturers are using data from smart sensors to cut down on waste and make production more efficient. US firm Concrete Sensors, for instance, has created a device that can be inserted into concrete to provide data on the material’s condition.
The main benefit of this is that data transmission, sharing, and collection are made incredibly easy. With that in mind, the potential impact the IoT can have on marketing is huge.
The IoT is allowing us to rethink the way we deliver services and produce goods.
The communication between devices is providing opportunities for brands to listen and respond to the needs of their customers. Customer experience has never been so good.
Here are a couple of ways it’s changing the way we do business and making marketing smarter.
IoT and Marketing: How, where, when and why
Every business knows its sales data is a goldmine. Knowing how your products are being used is crucial to the kind of marketing strategy you choose to implement.
This data can give marketers access to habits and preferences, helping them track their customers through their buying journey.
Once patterns are established, you can tailor your business to your clients and their needs.
Marketers can expect to see an increase in the success of individual marketing campaigns as IoT takes the guess-work out of the game.
The great thing about IoT is that it cuts out the middleman – data is accumulated by smart devices and gets sent back to you in real time.
As Broadband Internet spreads further across the globe, more and more companies are choosing to create products with Wi-Fi abilities and sensors built into them.
This means that costs will go down as smart devices become more prevalent in our way of life.
Data can also give back to the customer. The IoT has the ability to help you follow the journey your product has taken.
From where it was made, to what it’s made of, buyers can be more sure an authentic, well-made product has reached them.
IoT and Marketing: A rise in convenience
With IoT, smart technology has the ability to suss out what users need – even before they anticipate it themselves.
Feedback will also be instantaneous; this means that you can address problems sooner rather than later before they snowball out of control.
Customer service is only going to get better and better. Imagine you work in a smart office.
Your smart devices have the potential to figure out when supplies are low and order more. Lightbulb companies could send smart homeowners an advert for new bulbs when they notice they’re about to run out or when one breaks.
Amazon’s dash buttons already do something similar. Each button is tied to a specific product.
They connect to your home wi-fi and link to the Amazon app. Once you notice you’re running low on something, you simply press the button and a few days later more turn up at your door.
This way of doing business is a real win for customer loyalty programs.
This kind of targeted advertising also feels much less annoying to customers.
IoT and Marketing: Company collaboration
Companies who coordinate could land themselves a huge opportunity for cross-company product marketing.
Picture this: you fill your smart fridge with fresh groceries, 2 weeks later it alerts you with an ad for milk from your local supermarket.
The fridge company then collects a small fee from the supermarket.
This kind of cross-company advertising could revolutionise the way we market products to people, making each ad more targeted and more personalised.
Of course, this abundance of information throws up all sorts of concerns, particularly with the new GDPR regulations that have recently come into effect.
The IoT is still in its infancy and there are important security questions that need to be answered. A recent Open Economy report from Samsung discussed the need to secure connected devices.
Brian Solis, from Altimeter Group, who participated in the research said, “We are looking at a future in which companies will indulge in digital Darwinism, using IoT, AI and machine learning to rapidly evolve in a way we’ve never seen before.”
If marketers can successfully navigate the hurdles privacy laws throw up, then the face of marketing is set to change forever. As the creator of the Work Simplification program, Allan F. Mogenson said: work smarter, not harder.