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MARKETING: 5 Ways the Internet of Things will Affect Marketing
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5 Ways the Internet of Things will Affect Marketing

By Justin Toy

BT 201603 22 MarketingThe Internet of Things (IoT) may sound a bit "science fictiony" that won't arrive for another decade when in reality, it's a technological revolution that is beginning to impact everything we do today. It is a gigantic wave of new possibilities that is about to alter the face of commerce and technology as we know it!

So what is the IoT? It is the interconnectivity between things using wireless communication technology - each with their own unique identifiers - to connect objects, locations, animals or people to the Internet. This allows for the direct transmission of and seamless sharing of data. In essence, it refers to everyday devices that are able to automatically exchange information over a network. Eventually, the IoT will impact our everyday lives by changing how we monitor, collect and process data regarding traffic, weather, pollution and the environment. The IoT will eventually automate a number of common tasks such as temperature control, home security, health diagnostics and even transportation.

Today, the IoT is already all around us. Products such as Nike Fuelband, Google Glass, Fitbit, Nest thermostats, and the Apple iWatch are just the beginning of this interconnectivity between the Internet and our things. By the year 2020, the IoT will consist of an estimated 50 billion objects. Each with its own embedded computer system that will be able to communicate with the existing Internet infrastructure. This constant flow of data and connectedness will ultimately have far-reaching implications on business and the marketing strategies needed to stay ahead of the competition.

According to Steve Reed, VP of Client Development at Elevation Marketing: "We are on the cusp of revolutionary technological change. The inherent value of the Internet of Things is in connecting devices to the cloud, which is no different whether you are on a farm, in a factory, or any of a billion other places. With the advancement of IoT, every industry will enjoy countless opportunities to market to potential buyers, precisely target customers and achieve instant results."

Below are a few ways that the IoT will change marketing forever.

1) Tighter Relationships with the Consumer

Marketing and advertising will become much more specific and effective, as many smart devices will be communicating throughout the world, supplying incredible amounts of user specific data on usage. This will allow businesses to develop much more informed strategies, and ultimately improve return-on-investment for future sales. When smart devices do not perform to expectations, that information will also be fed back to the supplier, providing a quick opportunity to update and improve the product.

More precise targeting of purchasing consumers will be necessary during the age of IoT. It will become necessary to provide exactly the right message to the audience who is most likely to make a purchase, and in the most appealing format possible. This will require an even greater investment in advertising production, as well as better research to identify the appropriate consumer groups and even individuals to deliver the message to.

According to Rishi Modi, the CEO of Xhtmlchop: "In the past, marketers bought ads on sites they anticipated their target was likely hanging out on. Today, thanks to the Internet of Things, the guesswork is out of it. It's easy to precisely track customer data and behavior and this not only allows marketers to make faster, fact-based decisions, it also helps them create better customer experiences based on previous interactions with them."

2) Turning Products into Interactive Media

BT 201603 23 Marketing
Once the IoT becomes mainstream, all products available on the Internet will become a platform of direct relationship or interaction with the respective customer base. Customers will be capable of forming a direct connection with the products that they are using without the intervention from any third-party vendor or merchant. As a result, consumers will get a chance to put their preferences in the front seat in an attempt to improve their experience with any particular product or service. There won't be a need for machine-generated bills as the digital aspects of marketing will take charge over traditional shopping means. We will also be able to scan our products in order to obtain important product information such as product reviews, video demonstrations, product components, user manuals, and anything else pertaining to the product and company.

3) Predictive Social Media

When Facebook and Twitter first debuted, most marketers were less than convinced that these new social media sites would be worth targeting. Fast forward to today and we can see that social media is one of the most important channels for engaging and informing consumers. One study showed that 74% of brand marketers reported that they saw a noticeable increase in web traffic after investing just six hours a week in social media marketing efforts.

BT 201603 24 MarketingThe IoT is already optimised for use with social media, allowing automated posts and shares to be regularly generated by the devices themselves, and preparing the way for new online communities to develop, centered around users of particular devices. Today, the Nike Fuel Band - a bracelet that tracks workout data - not only records data, but it also automatically shares (if you allow it to) your workout data with the Nike Fuel Band community.

Marketers who are able to predict the development of these social communities, and target their efforts towards these communities, will be able to reach potential customers with a more effective, targeted campaign. Likewise, IoT devices, paired with social media, will allow marketers to identify and take advantage of new emerging trends.

4) Value-added Services and Products

Extra value-added features and services will become even more important and more emphasized among a wide range of products. This means that in addition to the main service or features provided by a product, something above and beyond must also be built-in. For instance, ordinary watches will be replaced by smartwatches, kitchen blenders will give way to smart kitchen blenders, and so on. This kind of strategy will begin to spread to all product development and marketing strategies. The unique and distinctive value provided by such products will differentiate them from the competition, and make them seem more desirable to the typical consumer.

5) Devices That Know They're Dying

One of the more promising aspects of smart-enabled products is their potential ability to perform their own regular maintenance and diagnostics. Automobiles have been self-diagnosing themselves for some time, but it has been an unreliable method that uses inexact signals. Anyone who has owned a vehicle has probably seen the "check engine" light come on and not really know the severity of the problem. With the power of IoT, every component is "smarter" so the ability to identify the problem, as well as the solution, will be much more accurate and lightning-fast.

BT 201603 27 MarketingWhen it comes to conventional items and devices, usually the first sign that anything has gone wrong comes when the device suddenly stops working altogether. When this happens, there's not much that can be done. Either get it repaired or order a whole new device and wait for it to arrive. IoT devices would eliminate that downtime by constantly monitoring their own functions and contacting technical support when necessary. Should a major problem be detected, the IoT device could easily order new parts or even a replacement for itself, so that when it finally does shut down, the new model will already have arrived and be ready to be put into service.

The same goes for upgrades. Many users put off upgrading their devices out of fear that the new upgrade will be buggy, time-consuming to implement, or that something will go wrong. Unfortunately, failing to upgrade software often leaves the devices open to security compromises or known problematic issues. IoT devices that are constantly connected would automatically download and install new upgrades completely on their own.

This constant connectivity can help marketers create the best user-experience possible for consumers. At the same time, marketers can know precisely when a device is starting to fail and help the consumer obtain an appropriate replacement, reducing the possibility that the consumer will switch brands.


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