The Internet of Things (IoT). The digital trend which has had the biggest hype over the past year, and the one that everyone is waiting for. According to Cisco, about 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020, turning this into a reality.

The IoT is the idea of physical objects, devices, or even people being connected to one another and to the internet. It has the ability to change how everything physical in our life works. Some recent examples of this are new technologies such as Hive from British Gas, which allows you to control your heating remotely through a mobile app. The idea is to help customers reduce costs as you can adapt your heating instantly. Other great examples are the consumer favourites, Nike Fuelband and Google’s Nest, to the not so common Athos and Toymail.

It all sounds pretty amazing, but knowing that our fridge will soon be able to tell us when we need milk, or better yet order it for us, is all well and good, but what does this mean for marketers? Well, the IoT opens up even more digital channels for marketers to track. The increased volume of data brings an exciting opportunity to collect and analyse a variety of new behaviours.

Hosler explains, "Where it gets exciting is when these devices and networks are joined and the data sets can be combined, overlaid and patterns detected. This creates a new era in smart services and insight-driven marketing”.

Smart devices will be able to gather this new data and supply it back to the company. The company can then analyse the information and use it to create personalised marketing strategies. The Internet of Things will give a whole new meaning to the adage "Work smarter, not harder."

The IoT will give brands the ability to process information about connected products and then personalise them to each consumer like an advanced CRM. Companies will be able to deliver enhanced services and messages to customers across many different channels. This will allow for omni-channel or cross-channel personalisation at every touch point making the customer’s journey seamless and integrated. It will require marketers to become even more channel and device agnostic when creating their marketing strategies.

These connected devices mixed with personalised brand messaging should in turn increase ROI as the campaigns will become even more targeted with a higher chance of success. The IoT provides the platform to have meaningful and useful two-way conversations with consumers to benefit both parties.

So we soon have access to even more data! Great. Most of us are drowning in data already, so the real challenge will be how to analyse and use this new information efficiently. How can marketers use the data to enhance the performance of their business? Making sense of the IoT is going to be challenging for marketers as the influx of devices will require us to consider context and apply methods and skills differently.

It may be a case that companies will need to build enhanced analysing systems as this rich data will require more than a simple excel spreadsheet. There may also be the need for an increase in data analyst roles in marketing departments.

There are some ethical concerns around this, as customers may find the concept intrusive. Marketers will know everything about our day to day habits, and this raises more concerns around the subject of privacy and security. Is our data going to be monitored constantly, and what information will be used? For some, they will welcome and understand the exchange of their data with brands, and enjoy receiving specific offers. But for others this will be too invasive. It will be important for marketers to incentivise customers to share their data and present clear benefits to the user.

So, should we already be working on our ‘IoT marketing strategy’?

Although important, a key thing to remember is that although the IoT movement is fast approaching, it will still take a while to become universal, so don’t rush it. The main thing will be to become an expert with analysing and processing the data you have now so you are fully prepared for more!


By Kerry-Anne Meakis, Yoyo design. 

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