Are we all going to be woken up by smart-alarms right on schedule only to be scooped up out of bed and moved along a people mover, while rapidly receiving coffee and toast on our way to work in our flying fold-up cars? Well maybe not, but the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT), turning more and more inanimate objects into smart devices via sensors, logic, and Wi-Fi connections is propelling us into this once futuristic dream.
The Internet of Things is expected to grow to approximately 75 billion connections by 2020, merging our physical and online worlds. The implications for both consumers and marketers are obvious and far-reaching — as more consumers connect their everyday lives to an increasing number of smart devices, marketers will have the opportunity to not only better understand the lifestyles and habits of their customer, but offer even more personal and intimate contextual experiences than ever before.
Below are a few of the implications for both consumers and marketers as the Internet of Things continues to evolve.
1. True One-to-One Messaging
The Internet of Things presents an enormous opportunity to collect measure and analyze an ever-increasing variety of behavioral information, which, if correlated, could revolutionize the targeted marketing of products and services and create a true individualized one-to-one experience for customers.
2. Monitoring and Service
Today there are several personal smart devices (wearables) that monitor everything from your activity level, blood pressure, sugar level, and temperature to even your prescription use to enable health care providers to proactively manage and even remotely monitor our physical health. What about our vehicles? Sure, we are not quite ready for the Jetsons “pill cam” or “flying car,” but as more devices, machines, and systems begin to integrate, you won’t miss that next oil change or time to rotate your new tires. Your “smart” car will self-monitor its system and mechanical needs to alert and possibly even schedule any needed maintenance and provide the needed service information automatically to the service center.
Talk about great customer service! A brand’s ability to leverage the monitored health or service data captured and relayed automatically by smart devices reduces both the hassle factor and time required to get any needed service, which ultimately improves the overall customer experience.
3. Actionable Customer Data
The information generated from IoT can help generate advice at point of sale based on customer habits and preferences. When used to inform customer relationship management, the IoT will be able to do more than simply gather and organize client data; it will be able to analyze that data, providing you with actionable results regarding your consumer base.
This can be invaluable to marketers. IoT devices can streamline this process by helping you understand where your prospects are in their buying or customer journey, so that you’ll be able to focus on resolving issues and serving them the right information that will nurture them to conversion or address their needs.
4. Contextual Change
As the Internet of Things evolves, advertising will change for both the marketer and the consumer as batch marketing, banner ads, pop-ups, and other intrusive ways of capturing attention will become less and less effective. In their place will be a new approach requiring that advertising be much more relevant and contextual to consumers and how they engage with the smart devices around them. The device data, when appended to a customer data profile, will help brands deliver more contextualized and relevant offers and experiences.
What are some additional benefits to this evolution? Not only will the consumer save time by only being served relevant ads and offers, but marketing will no longer waste thousands of dollars on irrelevant advertising.
Marketers will need to have a detailed understanding of their consumers in order to take advantage of the new opportunities being made available, but those who are able to make the transition will find that the IoT gives them the opportunity to stop being marketers, and finally start providing greater service, utility and ultimately being view as valued business resources.